Everybody can wear red lipstick. See how.
So you doubt you can pull off a red lip? Trust me, you can. In this post I’ll tell you how (and we’re skipping over that boring warm-toned/ cool-toned thing!) to find and wear your perfect red lipstick.
How to find the perfect red lipstick
Red is actually one of the easiest lip colours to wear. Believe me, finding a good nude lipstick is far trickier! Red also elevates any (makeup) look and gives you an effortlessly made-up and put together vibe. It’s my ultimate go-to weapon for when I want to present myself in a certain way and when I’m feeling down – a good red will make you always feel more confident. You can also always wear it – I wouldn’t know of any look (no makeup, no makeup makeup, neutral makeup, smokey makeup, whatever) when a red lip doesn’t fit. It’s a classic for a reason. (You might also receive more tips when you’re wearing red lips, are perceived as more competent and look younger, says Allure.)
I also think that most people, when they say they can’t wear red, aren’t opposed to the colour, but of the concept (OMGredlips!), and of one of the following issues.
Worried about the, well, colour and the brightness
The first step to rocking red is getting accustomed to wearing a rather prominent colour on your lips. It takes some self-assurance to wear red lips with all connotations that brings with it. It has a sexy vibe, maybe even dangerous. A bit of a femme fatale. Don’t sweat it, start slowly with a light red gloss or a glossy, sheer lipstick and ease into the feeling of wearing red. Especially an a more conservative area people might stare (I know that when I was still living in Frankfurt, people would stare all the time when I was wearing a stronger lip). Own it.
Worried about the shape of your lips?
Are you afraid a vivid colour will make your lips appear smaller or bigger than they are? Do you think your lips aren’t full enough to wear a dark colour? There’s no reason for that. If your lips are on the thinner side, it’s true that a darker colour (think a burgundy colour) might make them appear smaller. There’s one easy step to avoid that: pop a bit of light gloss on the middle of your lips to make them appear fuller. Also, use a lip liner (but overdraw your lips only if you’re totally sure what you’re doing).
If you’re afraid that your lips are too full and prominent to wear red (I can totally get where you’re coming from, that was my reason for not wearing red) – take a page out of a kindly MAC makeup artist I told this once: Rubbish. Your lips are beautiful. If you still think that your lips are too full, don’t wear a super glossy lipstick, but go for a satin finish.
Worried about your age?
Look at all those chic women like Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, Isabella Rossellini – they all wear red lips from time to time, and so can you. If you’re afraid of feathering or bleeding, there’re a few ways to prevent that: 1. Use a lip liner. 2. Don’t go for emollient textures but for matte ones. 3. Use a lip sealer (aka topcoat for your lips. Have a look here for various brands). 4. Use a primer around your mouth. Its silicone-y texture will even out your skin and even fill fine lines.
Worried about your teeth?
Yes, it’s true that a yellow-based red, a warm red like a tomato red might make your teeth look yellow, while a blue-based red might make your teeth look whiter. If that concerns you, just wear blue-based reds. Those appear a bit cooler, a bit more blood red, than those warmer tomato reds.
Worried about your skin(tone)?
Are you worried that your skin might be to dark to wear a red lip? Try a red that has this clear, nearly neon vibe, or one that has a bit of white pigment in it. It’ll pop wonderfully against darker skin. Or have a look at Astrid’s post about how to find the perfect red lip – lots of pics of her wearing loads of reds!
If you’re wondering if you’re too fair to wear red, don’t worry. Try a muted one at first, like one that veers to the coral side, or has some nude tones to it. Or even try a sheer formula.
Skintone?! No idea…
If you’re worried that you won’t find a red that suits you because you’re unsure if your skin is warm-toned or cool-toned, and you don’t know if you’re supposed to pick a cool-toned or warm-toned red – go to a cosmetics counter. Start to try on some different ones (and have the sales assistant sanitize the lipsticks before you try them). Pick the one that, when you look into the mirror, makes you smile. When you can’t find one that makes you smile, don’t buy any, but look on.
Wear what you like
And a little tale about skintones, haircolours and red lipsticks that may or may not suit you. I used to wear both cool- and warm-toned reds and can’t say that I prefer one or the other. That is, until I dyed my hair purple. From that day on, warm reds looked a bit strange on me, even if my complexion is warm-toned. So, no need to get upset about that skin tone thing. Your taste can change, your hair can change, your style can change. Makeup rules aren’t rules at all. You’re allowed to play with them. Isn’t that wonderful?
Go and wear some red on your lips!