I Tried Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Signature Red Lip & I Totally Get The Hype

As an icon of both politics and style, it’s easy to see why Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) is a role model to many. When the Democrat from the Bronx was sworn in as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th Congressional District at the start of 2019, Americans were taken by her outspoken nature on the floor, whip-smart Twitter banter, and instantly recognizable look. There are plenty of ways to emulate the fab politician, but since I don’t exactly have time to run for office, I tried Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s signature red lip to channel some of her spark.

Politicians have long been considered trendsetters in the United States, but in recent years, modern political figures seem to be taking their status in pop culture to new levels — with younger leaders like Ocasio-Cortez at the top of the heap. However, the congresswoman is all too aware of the sexism that comes with having a signature ~lewk~.

"In politics, there is so much criticism and nitpicking about how women and femme people present ourselves. Just being a woman is quite politicized here in Washington," she said in a Vogue Beauty Secrets makeup tutorial on Aug. 21, 2020. "There’s this really false idea that if you care about makeup, or if your interests are in beauty or fashion, that’s somehow frivolous. But I actually think these are the most substantive decisions that we make, and we make them every morning."

Also in the video, Ocasio-Cortez talked about timely topics like the pink tax, the patriarchy, and being taken seriously in Congress — all while walking viewers through her daily glam routine. She specifically called attention to her lipstick, saying she wears a bright red color when she needs a boost of confidence.

As someone who often finds herself searching for a quick confidence fix, I figured testing out Ocasio-Cortez look was worth a shot. While I usually save a bold red lip for seriously special events (like a wedding or my anniversary), I figured right now is as good a time as any to live by Ocasio-Cortez’s words from the tutorial: "Femininity has power."

1. The Product

As she revealed in her Vogue video, Ocasio-Cortez’s go-to lip product is Stila’s "Stay All Day" liquid lipstick in the color "Beso." The reason? As the name suggests, it apparently really does stay all day. "I really don’t have time to be running in and out of the bathroom to be doing touchups, so I really prefer liquid lipsticks that are indestructible," she said.

As a big fan of liquid lipsticks myself, I was really excited when the product arrived. The packaging was pretty, the tube seemed durable, and the color looked like a "true red," as described on the website.

2. The Preparation

After months of not having a reason to wear a full face of makeup (#QuarantineProblems), I decided to copy all the steps in Ocasio-Cortez’s beauty routine to really get into her mindset. Luckily for my out-of-practice hands, her routine is pretty simple. She starts with her face makeup, creating a base with toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen before going in with concealer, contour, and highlighter. Then, she adds eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. I even decided to part my hair down the center at the last minute before reaching for the lipstick.

3. The Application

When applying color to her lips, Ocasio-Cortez said she likes to start in "the low-risk zone" and work her way out. So, I applied the shade first to my lower lip, then to my upper, then outlined it all carefully to avoid smudging or bleeding. Thankfully, the product’s foam application tip held the right amount of product without being too gloopy.

It went on smoothly, wasn’t too messy, and I only needed to apply one coat for a fully pigmented look. Plus, it smelled like vanilla, which was the icing on the cake.

4. The Look

In an effort to feel a little more like Ocasio-Cortez, I decided to dress the part. I grabbed a blazer that’s been collecting dust in my closet, threw on some glasses, and — as she said in the tutorial — "voila." The bright red made my hazel eyes pop and my teeth looked extra white. As she promised, I immediately felt more confident.

5. The Kiss

The next step, and my personal favorite, was something Ocasio-Cortez said to do before walking out the door: "Make sure that you kiss someone you love. They give you a little love, and you’re ready to go."

Deciding to use this as a test to see if the lipstick would smudge, I laid about a million kisses on my yellow lab. Much to my surprise, he escaped my barrage of smooches without a single red smudge.

Final Thoughts

I spent the rest of the day in my full face of makeup, and after eating and drinking, I was delighted to discover the lipstick was still pretty much intact. Not only that, but every time I passed a mirror, I had to do a double take. Something about the lipstick made me walk a little straighter and smile a little easier.

This isn’t to say you need a bold red lip to feel confident or happy. "The key to beauty is feeling beautiful. And no amount of money or makeup can really compensate for loving yourself," Ocasio-Cortez said in the video.

So, the next time I need a pick-me-up (or when I eventually get to go to a real-life event outside of my home), I’ll 100% be reaching for "Beso." And after applying it, I’ll be sure to say Ocasio-Cortez’s mantra in the mirror: "I’m the bomb. And I will make the world a better place in my own little pocket, because that’s what I’m here to do." Because while the red lipstick is great, it’s the person who rocks it proudly that really stands out.

In Elite Daily’s I Tried series, we put celebrities’ favorite products, recipes, and routines to the test to show you what living like your fave star is really like. Read more here.

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