What's the difference between a signature look and a rut?
That's the question that struck me one morning this past December as I swiped on my crimson lipstick — the same one I'd worn for the past three years. While I consider myself an adventurous person, it seemed that once I found a beauty look I loved, I stuck with it. And that look was a red lip.
It's so ingrained in my identity that it's even begun to announce itself before people meet me. My best friend who lives in L.A. once sent me a screenshot of a text from her friend. "I started following Maria on Instagram," the text read. "I love her daily red lip."
The idea of uniform dressing
has always appealed to me, which is likely why I mostly dress in denim and black. But as a beauty editor, I'd tend to turn up my nose when someone started extolling signature beauty looks
. "Makeup is about expression!" I'd cry. "You should constantly be experimenting!" And yet there I was, standing in my cold bathroom, swiping on the same damn MAC lipstick I'd worn since I was 23. Was I a hypocrite?
So I did what I always do — I went to DEFCON 1. (My mother says this is a problem with me.) I decided to wear a new lipstick every day for 30 days, regardless of whether my lips fell off in the process. I scoured the market for shades I loved and others that scared the crap out of me. And, like you do with any challenge, I set some ground rules:
1. I'd only wear red lipstick twice.
2. I couldn't repeat brands.
3. I had to wear black lipstick at least once.
4. I had to keep the lipstick on all day, no matter what.
Armed with 30 tubes of lipstick, I set out on a monthlong beauty identity crisis, changing up my look every single day. What I didn't expect is that something as simple as applying color to my lips would have such an impact on my daily life — or that there are so many insane lipstick shades out there. Would I go back to being a crimson devotee, or would I find love in a tube of black lipstick? Click through to find out — and to hear my unfiltered reviews (and see my swipes) of 30 must-try shades right now.
Photographed by Tory Rust; Manicure by Miss Pop