February 19, 2019 at 10:31AM by CWC
Forget the male power tie: As women, we’ve got red lipstick.
At least, that’s how the team behind Fempower Beauty wants you to think about it. The brand, which launched earlier this month, was founded on the principle that women should feel empowered every time they swipe on their lipstick. Founders Alexis Androulakis and Christina Basias, who are both life and business partners, were inspired by the 2016 election and the army of women who stood up to Washington in the first women’s march. “We decided to emotionally activate our lipsticks,” says Androulakis. And what, exactly, does that mean? “Women are emotionally connected to the products that they’re using, and they’re not always cognizant of it. So it’s often been said that red lipstick is the equivalent of a male power tie, and we want to help people understand what these emotions are. Once they understand them, our hope is that they can feel empowered every time they use it.”
As someone who—much to my mother’s chagrin—didn’t put on lipstick until I was 26 years old, this struck a chord with me. When I was a teenager, I loved playing with makeup (mostly for the sake of covering my acne scars) and eventually learned to create a mean smoky eye that carried me well into my early 20s, but finishing things off with a swipe of bright red or pink always made me feel ridiculous.
In wearing a bold lip, it seemed like I was yelling “Look at me!!!” and I didn’t like that. But as I became a full-fledged adult and my confidence grew, so too, did my collection of lipsticks. And now, my go-to look is zero makeup with an attention-grabbing coat of matte, cherry red. “What you just described, that story of you not wearing lipstick until your mid-20s is something that’s so common,” says Basias. “The reason we chose specifically bold, traditional lipstick is because they are such symbols of womanhood, and it often isn’t until you’re past your teens and into your twenties that you’re really kind of metaphorically ready to dive into something more sophisticated and bolder.”
Aside from the fact that the brand mission rocks, the products themselves also happen to be really, really good. The first four shades of lipstick—Serpent, a deep burgundy; Lillith, a cherry red; Eve, a shocking pink; and Adam, a brownish-nude—were created with three different types of wax to turn them into the ultimate “hydration bath,” as Androulakis calls it. And the colors, she notes, are so bright that it’s “as if you’re making a statement before you even enter a room.”
Ten percent of the proceeds from product purchases (which will soon expand beyond lipsticks) go to support organizations advocating for human rights and equality—whether it be donating brand new lipsticks with re-usable pouches, giving funds for special projects through partner charities, or shedding light around social inequalities on our platform. “It’s not: ‘This is what you need to be beautiful,’” says Basias. “It’s: ‘We want you to feel beautiful.’”
If you love red lipstick as much as I do, try this hack to make sure it doesn’t budge (no matter how many kale salads you eat while you’re wearing it). And here are five formulations that will actually stay on all day.