Lips or eyes? Eyes or lips? Which one to accentuate whilst you down-play the other? Everything I've read about make-up tells me that you have to choose one and stick to it. But which one?
Going with bold red lips? Then eyes need to be soft and natural.
Wearing out the kohl by going for smoldering, smokey eyes? Then nude lips are the go.
I've favoured my eyes now for many years. I wear black pencil along both my top lid and underneath my bottom lashes nearly every day; I do the 2 or 3 shade eyeshadow as well; and tidy up my brows with a soft beige pencil. Last but not least, I finish with two coats of black mascara on all lashes. It's my standard 'go to work' look. Then, at night, I will often add liquid eyeliner, which I've steadily perfected over the years (only to be fighting an uphill battle as age makes the lines go a little crepey!).
I will also admit here to trying semi-permanent lash extensions earlier this year, but that is a story for another day…
Because of my trust in all media on cosmetics, I have tended to stick to lighter coloured lipsticks to balance my more made-up eyes. I have also found that once you hit about 40, darker colours have a tendency to bleed into the lines around your lips, which is not a good look.
Until earlier this month, that is. I had lunch with 3 girlfriends (well, they are more women than girls, but great friends none-the-less) and one (who is much younger than the rest of us) was sporting bold, red lipstick and I was hooked. I was going to try the red lips again if it was the last thing I did.
Back at home, searching in amongst my 100-odd lipsticks, I found six reds of varying hues, and equally varying brands but not one of them was what I wanted. They all looked old and sad and I knew in my heart of hearts that if you're going to do red lipstick, there's only one brand that is going to cut it and it was missing from my life.
I went to see the ladies at Chanel, because no one knew red lipstick like Coco and, into my life, I introduced the perfect red lipstick for me – matched to my complexion, with just the right amount of glossiness and no bleeding into the lines. Thank you, Chanel.
Armed with my new purchase, I was ready to take on a new look but with bold, red lips instinct told me, I needed to tone down my eyes. Which I did. However, every time I saw myself in a mirror, I looked all wrong. My eyes had disappeared into my head; they needed a little encouragement to stand out as a part of my face.
Maybe it's my age. Maybe these rules are made for girls in their 20s. Maybe I should read less magazines. Maybe more mature aged ladies need the balance of lips and eyes to look good. Does the advice mean that women with naturally dark eyes, think luxurious lashes and strong eyebrows have to steer away from bold, red lips? No!
So I have put down the magazine and picked up the eyeshadow brush, even when sporting my Rouge Coco 22. After all these years I know what looks good on me and, after all, aren't rules meant to be broken?
Chanel's Rouge Coco 22 retails for $50 and is available in Australia from Myer and David Jones department stores.