Our makeup maven and Beauty Squad member Lauren Cosenza supports trying anything in the name of visual self-expression. Each month she is looking to shake up the beauty comfort zone to push our cosmetic boundaries.
As a professional makeup artist, I’ve been starting to feel a little jealous that the nail category is having all the fun. From patterned stick-ons and ombrés to reverse Frenches and glitters and caviar, nails have been seriously stealing makeup’s thunder. So when celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Kelly Rowland and Jessie J were spotted puckering up with houndstooth, animal print and Union Jack temporary tattooed lips, I naturally wanted to get in on the action.
Below is the Violent Lips temporary tattoo with which I chose to experiment. The pattern is the boldest available at Ricky’s. You remove the tattoo from the package. Then, referencing dashed lines on the backside of it, you trim it to your mouth size and press it on with a damp washcloth. Sounds easy, right? It is not. The package includes three tattoos, and it took me three attempts to get it (pretty close to) right.
Here is how the tattoo looked on my lips. I used purple eyeliner to fill in the gaps and correct the shape. You can try Lancôme Le Crayon Khôl in Dark Purple or Clinique Quickliner for Eyes in Intense Plum. But it was nearly impossible to correct the center of the lips with liner, so it ended up looking like a hot mess up close.
Now I could have thrown on something edgy to complement my lips, but I didn't think that would be any fun. Instead I chose a lace-trimmed tank top and dainty skort and met up with my BFFs for a day on the town.
What better place than beach hotspot Avenue in Pier Village, New Jersey, to test out my purple pair of leopard lips? Avenue is a posh club during the day and a fist-pumping lounge at night, and the not-hard-on-the-eyes hostesses, servers and cocktail waitresses are all meticulously primped, manicured and bronzed in a way that befits the Shore.
We arrived at noon on Sunday at the hostess stand, where a coiffed blonde greeted us. I gave her the details of our reservation. She could hardly respond. Was she mesmerized? Revolted? She stared, and I stared back.
Once we made it over to our table, our waitress, with beautifully lined and lashed bright blue eyes, came over for our drink order. As she scribbled down my request, she avoided all eye contact.
Then a young busboy came over with bread and small plates. Although he didn't say anything, his smile indicated that he found my pucker amusing.
The tattoo dried out my lips, so I kept coating them with my cure-all, Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil.
We enjoyed brunch, and the occasional confused stare, and headed back to the boardwalk and shops. I almost forgot about my tatted lips until we passed Stewart's Drive-In Restaurant, where a father’s jaw dropped and his kids both pointed.
I concluded the Jersey crowd deemed the tattooed lips a fail.
But how about back home in New York City?
I decided to sport a different lip tattoo and tested a few different patterns.
My new application trick was to wear lipstick when sizing the appliqué. It left an imprint way more precise and personalized than the dashed guidelines on the tattoo’s backside.
It turns out this pink glitter tattoo is less extreme, more Legally Blonde. The below gold cheetah pattern, however, is perfection.
I took a little neighborhood stroll and was met with mixed reactions.
My two neighbors look startled as I passed them on my way down the hall to the elevator. My superintendent, who knows I work in beauty, seemed amused. A handsome man strolling down Houston Street checked me out from afar. As he got closer, his face soured. I’m guessing my spots scared him and he wasn’t into the call of the wild.
As I neared the Patricia Field store on the Bowery, no one even noticed. If Fields had seen my lips, I bet she would have complimented my maverick move.
My last stop was Whole Foods.
That's when it happened.
The cashier went NUTS over my pout.
Not only did she love them, but she called over two other cashiers so they could all join in the appreciation. It was instantly a lovefest. They wanted to know where to buy them, how to put them on and how to take them off. They told me how cute I looked. I was beaming. My day was made.
While I wouldn’t wear lip tattoos on a regular basis, I would try them again if I were up for an attention-commanding beauty look. The tattoos are a conversation piece for the few gutsy enough to ask. And for the girl who has the confidence to pull these off, those may be the few she prefers to chat with anyway.