What Happens When a Lipstick Virgin Finds the Perfect Lipstick

In a world of laser-sharp lipstick marketing strategies, where lip gloss advertisements follow you from computer to phone and tints get touted by every beauty-obsessed influencer on Instagram, stylist and brand consultant Shiona Turini has managed to dodge every. Single. One.

Shiona’s a bonafide lipstick virgin. Her aversion to it was cemented back in childhood. Her sister routinely taunted her for being the sole owner of thin lips in an otherwise full-lipped family and household. The last thing she wanted to do was draw attention to them.

Cultural snacking over the past few years has bred mass-appreciation for full lips where there historically were none — at least not where societal beauty standards were concerned, and certainly not for black women. Search “mammy archetype” to follow the historical association of large lips with undesirability. But well before the Instagram-influx of lip plumping devices hocked to capitalize on the you-know-who effect, there was Shiona, a young girl in Bermuda who wished for a quarter of an inch of help in the lip department.

Though she eventually came to accept her lips for what they were, Shiona resolved that bold, audacious lipsticks were unfitting and off-brand. Mad Men-esque “Mark Your Man” campaigns ricocheted off of her glazed eyes, and except for the obligatory work-related beat that featured nothing more than a nude lip (not to mention an experimental Halloween or two), lipstick remained uncharted territory.

Then a makeup miracle happened. After 15 years of turning her nose up at color-drenched lips, Dior released “Rouge Liquids.” A sample arrived at her home, pure boredom convinced her to try it (not to mention the waxy substance reminded her of her deserted-island product: Crème de Rose Balm — and was therefore less intimidating) and Shiona was a changed woman. It was that easy. Kind of.

Makeup artist Miguel Ramos made a house call to Shiona’s George V hotel room in Paris to formally introduce her to the liquid lip à la Dior. Shiona fell so in love with 901 Oxblood — the most dramatic and terrifying of the bunch — that she hasn’t been able to shut up about it. In case you were wondering: No, this is not an advertorial. Just one woman’s new obsession.

On the day of the SS18 Dior show, makeup artist Bob Scott sealed the grave of Shiona’s lipstick-less past by divulging the secret to the perfect lip. The method: “dab it in the middle, or in three dots across your bottom lip. Smudge it in, then perfect it with a Q-Tip.” Sounds easy enough, right? It was. It is.

Lipstick virgin no longer, now all Shiona has to master is how to navigate the etiquette of asking strangers, “Do I have lipstick on my teeth?”

Follow Mayer on Instagram @maya_campbellPhotos by Cibelle Levi, follow her on Instagram @cibelleleviUrsela Stephen on hair using Indique hair extensions

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  • Wow, Shiona is stunning! Gorgeous photos/outfit/everything 10/10.

  • Melanie Wainwright

    Love everything about this! I used to love wearing colored lipstick. I stopped a few years ago because it felt safer to just go with a nude lipstick. Need this oxblood!! Is this Dior 999 Rouge good for all skin tones? Also. Shiona’s hair tho. Curls on point.

    • TinySoprano

      I can’t speak to all complexions, but I can definitely speak to Dior 999! It’s got just a hint of oranginess, so it pops on cooler toned skins that’d look sickly or grey with a blue toned red. Eg: my pasty blue-toned Irish skin + Ruby Woo = dead body found in walk-in freezer. But my skin + Dior 999 = alive and well damn it.

      Plus this article demonstrates it looks amazeballs with a neutral/warm brown complexion too (not that there’s a lippy in the universe that’d look bad on Shiona! I can’t find words for how great that oxblood colour is on her!).

  • Samantha s

    “Why haven’t I incorporated French macaroons into my get ready routine” is the question of the day

  • Beasliee

    Doesn’t matter what brand or lip liner I use, lipstick / lip colour refuses to stay on my lips and ends up staining & smudging around my mouth so it looks all chapped and sore (even though it’s not). It’s not fair!
    Does anyone else have this or any reco’s?

    • Jenelle

      So I don’t have this problem of lipstick not lasting but I can hopefully provide a recommendation. I recently started using Nars’ Powermatte lip pigment and think its the best product out there. It’s like a liquid lipstick/lip tint hybrid. It’s very watery but once you put it on it dries within maybe 10 seconds and stays put. I love it because it doesn’t dry my lips out since it just feels like water going on and I’m able to add lip balm or lip gloss to it throughout the day to keep my lips moisturized. For me it stays put for a minimum of 8 hours but I had my friends try it who also complain of lip color not staying on their lips and it stayed on them for about 4-5 hours which is pretty good.

      • Beasliee

        Thank you for such a great response! I will have to buy one of these and try it out – I hadn’t ever heard of it but a quick google shows other rate it as highly as you do – thanks! x

    • Emily

      just after you put it on, blot it – the way I do this is I basically put a piece of toilet paper between my lips and press down haha – so the excess is taken off. after that, i just will tend to check it after i eat or drink something, and if it’s fading overall in an even way, i just let it do that for a while

    • Jessica

      I always use Lipcote over mine and it stays put so well. You put on the lipstick, then blot (very important) then paint the lipcote over. I find it works best with matte lipsticks as it dries matte.
      I don’t think you can buy it in stores in the US but you can get it on Amazon for like $6.

      • Beasliee

        Ah I remember Lipcote from years ago – I will see if I can get it from Boots here in the UK, otherwise Amazon it is! And thanks for the top tip too 🙂

        • Jessica

          You can definitely buy it from Boots/Superdrug in the UK. I’m pretty sure you can’t buy it in stores here in the US. I always buy like 4 bottles when I go back to the UK 🙂

  • Micaela Verrelien

    This just gave me SO MUCH LIFE! Thank you.

  • Lanatria Brackett Ellis

    As a fellow island girl with what I thought was a seemingly thin top lip, I always loved lipstick.Maybe it was because it was taboo in my uber strict Christian home.As soon as I headed to college I was covering my lips in Jezebel red (what my parents would call it).Now as a blogger, I slather my lips in red and my true love Burgundy.Thanks to this post and Shiona I am thinking of adding black to the rotation for the season! Not to mention the fact that I’m pregnant now and I finally got my full lips! #thinlipislandgirlsunite

  • Jessica

    BRB, heading to Spehora for that Oxblood colour.