Redefining Beauty: How I Learned to Love Red Lipstick

Welcome to the “Redefining Beauty” series, a collaboration between Cocoa by CeCe and yours truly. As the founder of Cocoa by CeCe, I am expanding into beauty industry and my north star is my mission to redefine beauty, wellness, and fashion. This series serves as a platform to share inspiring stories, empowering insights, and transformative journeys that challenge conventional beauty standards and celebrate individuality. Through this series, I aim to showcase the power of self-love, resilience, and reinvention in shaping our perceptions of beauty, starting within. Each story shared here is a testament to the beauty of embracing our unique features, flaws, and imperfections. Together, we’ll explore the transformative journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, inspiring others to redefine beauty on their own terms. So join me on this journey as we challenge norms, break barriers, and pave the way for a more inclusive and empowering beauty industry. Together, let’s redefine beauty, one story at a time.

Is Body Positivity Toxic?

Someone recently asked me if I thought that Body Positivity was “toxic”. As co-founder of theCURVYcon, I know that the conversation around body positivity can often feel complicated and nuanced.

As a curvy, size 18, dark-skinned girl with natural hair (sisterlocks), having a positive body image isn’t just desirable for me—it is essential.

 

As a curvy, size 18, dark-skinned girl with natural hair (sisterlocks), having a positive body image isn’t just desirable for me—it is essential. God blessed me with parents who instilled confidence in me from a young age. My Nigerian father made sure I knew my worth, while my Black American mother constantly reminded me of my beauty. Despite their efforts, societal beauty standards still managed to creep in, leaving me with insecurities that I didn’t even realize I had. One such insecurity revolved around my lips.

I Can’t Wear Lipstick…

For years, I found myself gravitating towards clear lip gloss for my full lips, unconsciously avoiding anything bold or vibrant. I can’t pinpoint exactly when this preference started, but I distinctly remember the moment I decided to challenge it. It was during New York Fashion Week, backstage, while having my makeup done. The makeup artist was meticulously applying lipstick when a producer walked in, pausing to comment, “CeCe, if I had your lips, I’d wear lipstick every day.” Those words stuck with me, prompting me to question why I hadn’t embraced lipstick before.

“CeCe, if I had your lips, I’d wear lipstick every day.” Those words stuck with me, prompting me to question why I hadn’t embraced lipstick before.

 

Falling in Love with my Dark Skin and Full Lips…

And so, my journey to confidently wear red lipstick began. I realized that finding the perfect red lip color wasn’t just about aesthetics—it was about falling in love with the curves of my cupids bow, the way my inner lip is pink and my outer lips are brown, almost like a natural lip liner. Love is a verb, an action word, something you do… so if you want to fall in love with your lips I encourage you to take time to explore, test and enjoy finding out what your lips need to feel their best. My little love journey was all about finding a balance of easy application, hydration, and staying power– my lips love these things and that is how my Daily, Weekly, Monthly routine for soft kissable lips was born. Next, slowly built up my confidence around wearing lipsticks. I experimented with various shades, from pale dark-skin friendly nudes like Chanel’s Suzanne to rich, deep plum-like colors like Chanel’s Etienne, and the response was astonishing. Not only did I feel beautiful and confident, compliments poured in from friends and strangers alike. Even a potential suitor remarked on how much he admired my Chanel red lips. He followed up by, describing my pout as “red, but not too red.”

What is “too red?” I wondered…

Perhaps it’s little comments like this that stoke the fire of our insecurities.

Love is a verb, an action word, something you do… so if you want to fall in love with your lips I encourage you to take time to explore, test and enjoy finding out what your lips need to feel their best.

What is Cocoa by CeCe?

Fueled by a passion for inclusivity, authenticity, and self-expression, Cocoa by CeCe represents beauty done my way. It’s about embracing diversity, championing confidence, and fostering a community where everyone feels seen, heard, and celebrated for our beautiful bodies (have you seen our body care collection?), complexion and coils. Studies show that there needs to be five positive and affirming comment for every one negative comment. If you have something you’re insecure about, you know what it feels like when those negative comments slip. This is where having a positive body image, rooted in self love, self care and self confidence can be a game changer. This is why I am starting Cocoa by CeCe. Cocoa by CeCe is more than just a beauty company—it’s a manifestation of my values and mission statement.

Can Dark Skin Girls Wear Red Lipstick?

Yes, dark skin girls can pull off red lipstick! Here’s what’s working for me…

This comment sparked a realization within me. While there are complex narratives surrounding dark-skinned girls and red lipstick, I refused to let outdated stereotypes dictate how I expressed myself. Initially, I toyed with the idea of adopting the “not too red” shade as my signature look. But deep down, I longed to emulate the classic Marilyn Monroe bright red contrast lip—a look I’ve always admired. Could I pull it off with my complexion?

 

 

What Lipstick Does CeCe Olisa Wear?

After much swatching, testing, and sampling, I finally stumbled upon the perfect red lipstick that complemented my dark complexion. The Gwen Stefani “Original Recipe in the color Original Me” gives me the Taylor Swift “my boyfriend just won the Super Bowl” kissable red lipstick, but tailored for my dark skin tone. The moment I tried it on, I felt empowered, confident, and utterly myself. Gone were the days of hiding behind neutral shades; I was ready to embrace boldness and live life on my own terms.

Since then, wearing bold lip colors has become more than just a fashion statement—it’s a symbol of self-assurance and defiance against societal norms. Each time I swipe on that vibrant red lipstick, I’m reminded of the journey I’ve embarked on to reclaim my beauty and redefine what it means to be confident in my own skin. And the way it’s boosted my confidence? Well, let’s just say it’s been nothing short of incredible. Here’s to owning the looks we want and living the lives we deserve.

With love and lipstick,
CeCe 💋

p.s. As I mentioned, this post is a collaboration with Cocoa by CeCe, so click here and head over to the Cocoa by CeCe blog for more self love, self care and self confidence. Ten Ways to Fall in Love with Your Lips will hit the Cocoa by CeCe blog on April 8th!

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