5 Key Decisions to Consider When Wearing Red Lipstick

March 4, 2023

When I have a special occasion like a ball or a cocktail party, I always consider it the right day to wear red lipstick. And it seems it’s not just me. As seen at recent award ceremonies like SAG and PAG, the chicest guests chose scarlet lips to create an impact on the red carpet. Margot Robbie, Emily Blunt, Cara Delevingne and Michelle Williams looked amazing with perfectly outlined red lips that were more eye-catching than the carats they wore around their necks.

Red lipstick has been a timeless beauty staple for decades, it’s no wonder why. This bold and classic lip colour is versatile, and has the magical power to make a woman feel powerful, and own her femininity, and that’s sexy.

In this article, we’ll dive into the history of red lipstick, which iconic women rocked the red lip in the 40s and 50s, and what to consider before wearing red lipstick no matter your hair colour or skin tone.

The History of Red Lipstick

Red lipstick has been a part of beauty culture for centuries. The ancient Egyptians were known to use a combination of red ochre and lead to create a red pigment for their lips.
In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I was also known for wearing a bright red lip, which was created by a combination of beeswax and crushed flowers.
In the 1940s and 1950s, red lipstick became a women empowerment symbol. It was a time of war, and women were taking on new roles in the workforce. Red lipstick became a way for women to express their confidence and femininity at a time when they were breaking down barriers.

Two Elizabeths wearing red lipstick – Queen Elizabeth II and actress Elizabeth Taylor

Who Rocked Red Lips

Many women have been known for rocking red lips over the years. But one of the most iconic red lips in history belongs to Marilyn Monroe. Her rouge signature was created with a combination of red and orange lipstick, which she applied with a lip brush for a precise finish.
In the 1950s, Audrey Hepburn also immortalized the red lip look in her classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Her signature red lip was created with matte lipstick and paired with a subtle eye makeup look. And we can’t fail to mention Elizabeth Taylor, Queen Elizabeth II and Carolyn Basset-Kennedy.
More recently, celebrities like Taylor Swift and Rihanna have become known for their signature cherry lips. Taylor Swift often pairs her carmine lipstick with a classic cat-eye look, while Rihanna likes to add a touch of glitter to the eyes to add even more glamour.

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How to Wear Red Lipstick Every Day: Tips and Tricks

Despite being a cost-effective way to add a touch of luxury to any outfit, many women shy away from wearing red lipstick. In recent years, pink and nude lips have become the go-to for everyday chic looks, while red lipstick is reserved for special occasions. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Let’s discuss some tips and tricks for wearing red lipstick that will work on any hair colour or skin tone.

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s minimalistic style and incredibly white teeth are perfect for wearing red lipstick every day

1- The Impact of Tooth Color on Lipstick Choices

Before diving into which shade of red suits your skin and hair colour best, it’s crucial to understand that red lipstick can accentuate any yellowing in your teeth. Especially lipsticks in red-orange tone. That’s why some older women, who may experience more discolouration, often wear pinks and nudes instead. Even if you don’t have piano-white teeth, you can still be wearing red lipstick. The secret is to opt for a glossy lipstick that reflects light and has a tone lesser orange and bluer.

2- The Best Way to Apply Red Lipstick

When it comes to such a bold colour like red, lip liner is your best friend in achieving the perfect finish. It not only helps prevent lipstick bleeding, which can be an ageing effect but also aids in creating a clean and precise outline. After watching a million TikTok tutorials, I can say those makeup artists usually use a lip liner of the same colour as the lipstick to line the lips and then fill them in, leaving the centre of the lips free for the lipstick. This technique ensures better application and longer-lasting wear.

Matte red lipstick is one of the chicest textures, but it’s recommended to hydrate your lip skin before applying it. You can use a lip scrub and apply moisturizing lip balm as a base.

Chanel Rouge – Red lips were the signature of Coco Chanel as a sign of power and freedom

3- Choose the Correct Eye Makeup

Experts advise starting your makeup with foundation and blush, then applying red lipstick and, lastly, doing your eye makeup. This way, you will notice that a simple eye with minimal colours (shades of beige and gold), mascara and subtle eyeliner will suffice for day and night, as those Chanel models above.

4- The Entire Outfit Counts

Red lipstick is the main focus of your look, so choose your outfit carefully to complement it. Theoretically, any other colour will match this primary colour, but it’s always best to do a trial run. If you look in the mirror and feel that your face isn’t glowing or energized, then the lipstick may not be the right for you.

If you’re rockin’ a bold lip, remember that sometimes less is more. Check out Carolyn Basset-Kennedy, the ultimate 90s style icon. She was all about white shirts and sleek hair with a ponytail.

5- Skin Tones

Blue-based red lipsticks go well with cool skin tones and lighter skin.
Orange-based red lipsticks look best on warm skin tones.
Brown-based red lipsticks suit warm skin tones and medium darker skin.

Download this Infographic @L’oreal Paris and find the perfect shade of red to wear on your lips

Images @WikimediaCommons, and courtesy @Chanel and @L’Oreal.