Pageants are my main business, and because they are my main business, I have learned what the judges like and dislike about your makeup, at least in the Miss America system. And a winning lipstick is much more important than you think. (Lipstick junkies rejoice!)
Your lipstick should obviously compliment your complexion, and should never detract from the rest of your makeup, but you also don’t want a shade that will draw the judges eyes solely to your mouth. You want the judges to really take in your entire being, from head to toe and everything in between, and if you’re wearing the wrong lipstick, all they’ll likely be looking at is your mouth. While this does vary slightly between the Teen and Miss divisions, the rule still applies to both; the determining factor (mostly for Misses) is your outfit selection.
If you are a Miss contestant who is wearing a black and/or white evening gown, chances are you can pull off a red or berry lip. If you are unsure about such a bold choice, take a photo of yourself wearing a bold lip and then another in a pink or nude lip, both in your evening gown, and get the opinion of your coach, director, or makeup artist (or me, cuz I’ll just be sitting here munching on Life cereal…). For interview, however, a bold lip is NEVER advised. The same way excess jewelry would distract the judges, so would a bold lip. I cannot stress enough how you want the judges to take you in as a whole!
As far as the Teen division goes, I don’t think I would ever advise a bold lip unless it was for a talent routine. Trust me, been there, done that, the judges no likey. Not only do the judges probably find it distracting, but I think they feel that bold lips are “too old” for the Teen division. While I’m sure we could argue that point all day, in the end, it’s all just about what it takes to win. You can have an amazing resume and platform and do amazingly in a pageant, but tiny things like your lipstick shade can cost you the crown.
Making tiny little tweaks like this can win you the scholarship you need. I’ve seen it happen! Hopefully this helps you on your journey to the crown!