To know Dita Von Teese is to know that her lips are always painted scarlet. "When I'm performing strip-tease, people get to see me in various stages of undress," says the burlesque star. "But never without red lipstick."
So as a beauty dare, we challenged Von Teese to try wearing a neutral shade. And for the self-professed red lipstick "evangelist," the shift wasn't just on the surface.
"I'm a natural blonde girl from a farming town in Michigan and everything I ever wanted to be was the opposite of that," says Von Teese. "So that's why I dyed my hair black, that's why I started drawing the cat eye and wearing the red lip. I wanted to be glamorous and feel a different kind of strength than I did naturally." Without her signature hue, "it was as if I lost that strength," she says.
While Von Teese was quick to agree that one woman's red lipstick is another's beige, she'll be sticking to scarlet for now. Though the neutral lipsticks below—her favorites of those she tried—might just make a reappearance one day...
For more stories like this, pick up the June issue of InStyle, on newsstands and for digital download now.