Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry – icons of style that absolutely rocked a red lip. With their flawless complexions and striking looks, they made red lipstick what we know it to be today – a powerful expression of femininity.
A confident look that often graces the catwalk year after year, a red lip isn't exclusively reserved for the young, the self-assured or the alluring. With an abundance of choice, finishes and shades, red lipstick has come a long way since the Marilyn days and the rulebook has gone out of the window, making it inclusive for all.
While it may be deemed one of the most intimidating pieces in our beauty arsenal, with the right shade and know-how a red lipstick can suit anyone.
Think about the rest of your make-up
Generally, you want your red lip to do all of the talking, therefore try to keep the rest of your make-up minimal to make a real impact. Similarly to the cleavage or legs rule in fashion, the either/or rule applies to make-up as the overall look is more cohesive when the eyes or lips are made the focus. Keep your base matte for an evening look or dewy and fresh for a daytime red lip.
Perfect the shade
As the number one reason why most women shy away from red lipstick, finding the right shade for your skintone is key. To find your tone, look at the veins on your wrist; if they look bluish, you’ve got cool-toned skin and should opt for blue-red hues like cherry, mauve, crimson and purple lipsticks. If, however, they look more green, then you have a warm skin tone and will suit more orange-red lipsticks. For dark skin tones, look for blue-based reds, which complement dark skin without looking ashy.
But when it comes down to it, the best red is the one you feel like a goddess in, so if the guidelines don't work for you, we implore you to tear up the rule book!
Don't forget lip liner
Let's face it, all manner of things can go wrong with red lipstick – it could end up on your teeth or half way across your face (been there!). But a lip liner can stop the latter in an instant. Not only does it make the overall lip look neater, it allows you to play around with the shape of your pout.
- ...Or ditch the liner and dab it on
If you want to dip your toe in the red before fully committing to a siren pout, rub your fingertip over the bullet of your lipstick then dab the colour on your lips using with your fingertip. It is a more subtle - and much fresher - way to wear red.
Tone it down
Red lipstick doesn't have to scream sex siren. Although it may seem like a high maintenance look, a subtle muted red or deep pink hue is perfect for a little extra drama to your look without the attention-grabbing finale.
Remember to consider texture
Matte, gloss, semi-gloss – and we're not talking paint colours here. There are a plethora of lipstick textures to choose from, so choose wisely. For a bold look with lots of drama, a red gloss can add a classic finish to your make-up, while a matte finish is a modern and understated texture - although it can sometimes leave lips drier.
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