Oh, dear Kate. 

I’ve had this Rimmel London x Kate lipstick for a few years and it cost me about 90 bucks tops back in 2013. My first job was in the Hyde Park vicinity and I sometimes found myself inside Hyde Park Corner -- that's where I bought the lipstick and too many slices of yummy red velvet cake.

beauty politics, lipstick theory, small beauty blogger

lipstick, rimmel london kate moss, purple lipstick, kate moss lipstick,

I took this late-Jan early-Feb when I first thought of writing this.

Unlike my no name brand black lipstick I bought from a street vendor in town I didn't have much baddie intentions with this purchase. I figured it was a shade of purple and likely to look hella cool. Nothing more. But over time it has grown to be this tool that I use as a coping mechanism. This year, on my 23rd birthday, I took 19 selfies on my blackberry wearing an ugly vest and this lipstick. I felt I could beat the birthday blues (and I did).  There have been days when I've carried the lipstick in my bag because I was running late but knew that was the day I needed to have a thick layer of it on if I was to get through the day unscathed by the fuckery of existing. With the creamy mixture on my lips I can transform my face; my smile is brighter and my snarl is more vicious. When I look at someone that’s trying to kill my vibe and think “I will swallow you whole” I believe it.

Today I self- identify as a fat witch with purple lips (said lips are often brown, red or black too) and I love myself. There was a time in late-2012 and early-2013 where I was giving myself a hard time because I'd gained more weight while on the pill, nothing fit me and my face acted like it was rejecting me. I'm not even sure if I've lost any weight or if my face is doing any better but I feel much better about myself, my body  and "this skin I slink in*”.. No, the lipstick is not the miracle that let me become one with my fatness and bad skin. However, having it as one of my weapons of presentation has helped me immensely. As has my sloppy winged eyeliner and nose ring. As has wearing sleeveless tops but letting myself reach for that jacket or long tee on days I feel vulnerable without judgement or shame. These practices have helped me in the manner that black nail polish used to when I was a kid.

I don't even know if it's a good lipstick or whether Rimmel London makes good cosmetics. What I do know is how it makes me feel. How much brighter my smile, how much more searing my snarl becomes when I have the colour on my lips. With this lipstick on, my attitude and aura are upgraded.

One of my favourite beauty practitioners and theorists is Arabelle Sicardi. (Their impromptu Survival zine ~BeeBee taught me~changed my life. "Weaponise your vulnerability. Put spikes on your smile. Your tears are poison, your tears are cure. The basilisk and the phoenix at once".) Arabelle says things like to treat makeup as a way to look better for other people is damaging. But I approach it as a way of resistance. I hate getting catcalled, and I used to get catcalled all the time by twerps. But then I started approaching makeup as a weapon, and I would wear it in a way that would freak them out. Then I felt safer in my body”.

I stand in front of an A4 page-sized mirror in the small room that I hate and carefully lather the potion. My lips are stained darker like I have berry juice dripping out of my mouth. I apply another stroke. I gently smack and rub my lips together. I check my teeth and run my tongue on them if necessary. I admire my work some more and if I'm especially pleased I take a picture. This is soothing, this act is calming and deliberate. I had no intentions when I bought the lipstick bullet bearing Kate’s name but each time I put it on I have clear intentions: to survive, to feel powerful, to slay lessers and to take control even if that control just means looking like I would ruin you if you tried me.


{I've been thinking of doing a post on my coping mechanisms but I'm currently having such a hard time -- self-care is the last thing on my mind. I know it's bad. And I know self-care was built for times like these but my life continues to be set up in such a way that self-care is a luxurious indulgence in which I cannot partake. This business of survival at all cost is very counter-intuitive and taxing. Of course I'm trying to find ways to take care of myself, my body, my mind and my heart while wading through this seeming war that being alive as myself is but it’s difficult.  The times I sit and watch the anxiety and the depression do battle come around more than the times I get to be tender and soothing with myself. I need to do better. This is why I cannot write a post on coping mechanisms and not feel like a liar at present. I’m currently not coping. I will revisit this idea of coping mechanisms when I’m doing better.}

*These words were written by Zora Howard in her poem On Things of Which I’m Ashamed

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