Today day we have a post from recording artist Rachael Sage! You can learn more about her at RachaelSage.com.
My name is Rachael Sage, and I’m a recording artist, actress & record label-owner.
I love dressing up and wearing wild, sparkly makeup – and I often change my
performance style depending on whether I’m in the mood for sequins, feather boas or
tutus…but one thing I can never do without is red lipstick!
I’ve been wearing red lipstick on a daily basis since I was in 7th grade (even though my
parents didn’t know it and I’d put it on once I got to school). Before then, I reveled in
wearing it at ballet recitals, on Halloween, and in grammar school plays where, for some
reason, obscene amounts of makeup were always the norm. My mom wore red lipstick,
Marilyn wore it, Ginger Rogers wore it, all my favorite ballerinas in The New York City
Ballet wore it, and of course, Madonna maintained it as a modern classic; to me it was
always an instant reflection of glamour, sophistication and confidence. Plus, as a pale
Jewish girl with blue eyes and dark hair, I felt that the extra pop of color kept me from
totally disappearing, especially when everyone else but me seemed to have a tan. A
red lip always just felt “right”, and I’ve rarely gone a day without it, even if I’m home by
myself or it’s just me and my engineer in the recording studio.
I may love red lipstick, but I’m definitely not a “makeup snob”. With clothes, I firmly
believe that while luxury brands and designer names have their place and are great for
special occasions if you can afford them, the only thing that really matters is that you
feel great in whatever you’re wearing – even if you bought it at Target or on the street
on St. Mark’s Place (my favorite cheap-o shopping street in NYC). With makeup, my
philosophy is the same; I buy a particular shade of red lipstick when it beckons to me
from the drugstore display, versus when I “need” it. I might go into a Ricky’s Drugstore to
buy some shampoo, but then get sidetracked by the perfect Mattése bright red lipstick,
or be in an airport on tour and go into a shop to buy eyedrops, but end up with a more
exciting new magenta-red shade of Revlon lipstick. I’m not brand-loyal at all, and for me
it all comes down to richness of color and something slightly different in the shade of
red or the level of shine, from others I may already have. I love Wet & Wild as much as
I love Lancome. My mom had very fancy makeup, but it’s just never been a priority for
me. After all, if you can buy 3 slightly different shades of red lipstick for the price of one
fancier, and they all look great on you, what’s the problem? The proof is in the mirror, not
on the price-tag.
Another thing I love to do for live performance is add glitter to my red lipstick, so it has
a slightly different, sparkly hue. If I have a show and I’m wearing purple, I might add a
purple iridescent glitter to just the very center of my lips, or if I’m wearing black, I like
to accent them with a little gold or silver glitter. Last spring I was on tour in the UK and
found a great “edible glitter” from a cupcake shop, and it really sparkles…I use it on my
eyelids too! I saw it on the cupcakes and asked if I could just buy the glitter and not the
baked goods, and even though they’d never done that before, they said yes. When you
love something that might not be for sale, it definitely pays to have “chutzpah” and ask
This year I had the opportunity to attend The Grammys. When I went to pick up my
tickets there was a rep from Smashbox giving away free makeup who asked if I was
an artist and when I said yes, she gave me a whole bunch of amazing samples from
powder to blush and also – woohoo! – a new red lipstick. I’m definitely a fan of the brand
now, and was very happy with the way it lasted throughout the day, especially since I ate
and drank a lot at The Grammys and it was a very long event! Still, I’d never really want
to only wear one kind of red lipstick at the expense of having others in my arsenal. Just
like I wouldn’t want to write only one kind of song; sometimes I want a blue-ish red or an
orange-y red, or a red with a dot of hot-pink glitter in the middle.
Once in a while, a makeup artist or photographer will ask me to consider wearing a
totally nude lip. I used to agree to try it, even though I’ve never liked how any photos
came out with it; I just felt bland and like I disappeared…So these days I really try to
avoid it and speak up and be honest that I’d just prefer to do a bolder lip. For my new
album, “Haunted By You”, however, I really wanted my cover to look like a Victorian
portrait. I was inspired by John Singer Sargent’s “Madame X”, and I knew that to have
that period look, I’d have to blot my lips a lot and go a little more pink than in the past.
As soon as the shoot was over though, I put my own bright red lipstick back on…it’s just
what makes me feel most “me”, and I don’t think that will ever change!