The history of red lipstick actually goes back centuries. Many women see a bold red lip as empowering, sexy, and a true source of confidence. If you champion strong women like I do, then you’ve likely enjoyed those scenes in movies. You know the ones with the inevitable face-off between a red-lipped woman meets her adversary? She’s trying to make a power move or a point and the red lip comes into play. Just as important as the LBD, every woman should be armed with her tube of authority and glamour in her arsenal.
My story with red lipstick goes back to the mid 90’s when I was just seventeen. One afternoon after an exceptionally grueling cheer practice, I was sweating profusely. Every inch of myself felt drained. I had just gone through a breakup with my high school sweetheart. And my senior year was coming to an end. Like most of my peers, the world seemed scary and my identity was iffy at best. While my friends and I were in full post-cardio sweat, I found them all looking at me strangely. I’ll never forget one of them asked me in amazement, “How is your red lipstick still on?” It looks perfect she said, “All your makeup is still on!”
This is one of those moments as a teenager you fall in love with something about yourself. And one you always hang on to when you need to find your inner power. I took a step back while hustling to put on my black leather jacket. Inside I was relishing my new secret weapon hidden in my purse. Less than an ounce of pure confidence in an Estée Lauder gold tube. Maybe it seems silly, but it was this moment for me that sparked a lifelong passion for makeup. It was a moment frozen in time. I felt set apart, like I had something that belonged to me, a way to express myself. It wasn’t long before I realized I had a knack for it. All my friends started asking me for makeup advice and beauty tips. Although I ultimately ended up pursuing a career in Journalism and Psychology, makeup has always been my love affair and my secret weapon against negativity.
We’ve all heard about the power of makeup by now, watched videos, and read trusted magazine articles that inspire us on how to pick the perfect product. And we all have that one best friend or sister who we call when we need to know how to apply eye shadow, or how get our daughter ready for prom without a totally meltdown. If that sounds like you, then we have something in common: we love makeup. If I am sounding like your best friend who is makeup obsessed and you just don’t understand it or don’t want to spend time on it, then I totally get that. Maybe if you meet me here and get to know me, then we can share some laughs and I can help you make it simpler. Maybe there is a makeup queen inside you after all.
Times are tough right now, most are in quarantine and many are homeschooling their kids, laid off of work, and close to losing their minds. Our normal routines have all come to a screeching halt and we realize that we may have taken some things for granted along the way. Right now many are working from home in their PJ’s and sipping endless cups of coffee in their slippers, but what happens when you have to get on a Zoom meeting with your coworkers? For me it goes something like this: No need to put on a full face of makeup. Try concealer to hide any dark circles, a loose powder for a smooth finish, mascara to brighten up your eyes, smooth on a dot of red lipstick on your cheeks for a subtle rosy glow, and of course the red lip to look confident and have the perfect pout. This will totally say, “I don’t know about you, but I have my act together.”
Don’t forget to keep in touch with your friends and your family during these times. Why not invite them for a Zoom call happy hour or weekend brunch? Wear your pretty red lip while drinking your favorite cocktail. Enjoy some laughs over whose kid is doing the worst in math or who has the funniest Tinder story for the day! Sometimes even big girls need to play dress up! With all this being said, I still know makeup is not always easy and it can be intimidating. It’s hard to know which red goes with your skin tone, your hair color, or if you can pull it off. So, that’s why I’m here and now that you know me a little, allow me to help you find your secret weapon with the following tips on how to know how to pick your perfect shade of red lipstick, whether you love vintage Hollywood or you’re a modern professional.
With these five simple suggestions you can make your power play.
1. Know Your Skin Tone
If you need help choosing your perfect shade of red this trusty guideline won’t lead you wrong. You’re going to need to know if you have a warm skin tone (olive/yellow) or a cool skin tone (pink/red). POP QUIZ!!! Go to a window and test your veins. Turn your arm over and look at the color of your veins. If they appear blue or purple then you have a cool tone, if your veins appear green you have a warm tone. Here is the trick if they are a mix and you’re getting frustrated it’s your lucky day, you have neutral skin which lets you play more with various shade colors.
2. Understanding Undertones
This seems complicated, but as a result of knowing your skin tone, you will know what to look for. If you need a warm lip color for your skin you will need reds that have orange undertones in them. For example, the brick reds, copper and coral. Think of fireworks, sunrises and fire. Sounds sexy! Cool undertones need to stick with red shades that are hinted with blue. Think red wine, crimson reds and juicy cherries.
3. Prep Your Lips
For healthy lips that will bring attention to your smile and show off your new tube of red, you should exfoliate. A simple lip exfoliator and hydrating balm added to your beauty routine will help keep your lips looking moisturized and plump.
4. Use A Lip Liner
When choosing your red try to find a matching liner. Often reds are so pigmented they can bleed. A good liner will also help the staying power of your lip throughout the day.
5. Sometimes Less is More
It’s been said that Marilyn Monroe’s makeup artist applied at least five layers of red each time he did her makeup. While most of us would never do this, you do have to be careful not to start out heavy handed. Layer a couple coats lightly and leave room for error. Don’t be afraid to blot and reapply if needed. This will help make sure you don’t have red lipstick on your teeth like your sweet little Sunday school teacher did in the 80’s. Take it easy there killer!
Red Lip Recommendations
Get ready to do some online shopping! Here is a short list of some ride or dies. I hope one will find its way into your makeup bag. Girl, wear the red!
Neutral Skin Tone
For a neutral skin tone try Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color in the shade Uncensored. This vibrant liquid lip is stunning and will help your teeth look even whiter.
Cool Skin Tone
For a cool skin tone try my favorite Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance lipstick in the color Vendetta-a dark red.
Warm Skin Tone
For a warm skin tone try L’Oreal Colour Riche Matte Lipcolour in the shade Matte at Bat.
Any Skin Tone
A universal red that is great on every skin tone is MAC Cosmetics Ruby Woo.
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