The Rules of Wearing Red

I was never one to shy away from wearing makeup, especially red lipstick. Wearing red lipstick for most of us is like wearing high-heels, either you do or you don’t. I definitely wear red lipstick and try not to wear high-heels, although I’ve been known to sport a pair on occasion.

The women I admired in my youth were Diana Vreeland, the Duchess of Windsor, Coco Chanel and Babe Paley. I associated red lipstick with strong, successful, stylish and glamorous women. These amazing women understood the power and allure that only a great red can give. Red lipstick is the equivalent of a man’s power tie.

Red Lips are a statement, like a great piece of jewelry, heels or that much coveted handbag. I wore the same shade of red lipstick throughout my twenties, until it was discontinued. Since then I’ve been searching for that perfect shade of red, and realized that no two shades of red are alike.

Red can be intimidating, but red doesn’t mean a full siren mouth. Here is a quick and easy guide to the rules of wearing red.

1) There isn’t ONE perfect shade of red for every woman – There are so many gorgeous shades suitable for every skin tone. The objective is to try on as many as possible and look in the mirror, which shade makes you look brighter, fresher, more radiant.

2) Never wear red with heavy makeup – When wearing red the rest of our makeup pallet should be understated and super-casual. The quickest way to add age to your appearance is to wear heavy makeup.

3) It’s okay to dump the matching lip pencil – a more modern approach to wearing red is to build color by using a lip brush or your finger tip.

4) Keep your options open – Sometimes the texture of a red lipstick can be intimidating, there are many new formulations of red, there are glosses, stains, tints, glazes, matte, sheer and shimmers.

5) Remove the thoughts of associating red lips with sexual connotations – red lipstick is the quickest youth giving, skin-illuminating, eye brightening beauty trick around.

Remember that you can achieve red without wearing red – bricks, berries, and sheer red glosses give the effect of wearing red without being high maintenance – Melissa Prestinario, Makeup Artist Chanel Cosmetics.

If you’re wearing red for the first time, try brighter shades in sheer textures, or apply red with a lip brush for that gorgeous buildable color.

I personally love red lipstick because it gives me that Je ne sais quoi that only a great red can give.

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24 thoughts on “The Rules of Wearing Red

  1. I often wear red lip pencil applied all over the lips and shine it up with a neutral lip gloss. I feel pretty. The compliments are icing on the cup cake.

  2. Red Lipstick!~ I would LOVE to wear it, BUT. . . . . Help please – I have tried at least 6-8 different shades and they seem to change color on my lips to either too pink or they end up too orangy looking ~ yuck! I know that red lipstick makes your teeth look whiter!! Any suggestions on a color/brand that would have more of maybe a “blue” tint in it so that the color won’t change so much on my lips??? And, BTW ~ I do love my red heels!! ~ They are very strappy and not too dressy – found them at Nordstrom years ago – when on a trip to Tampa and forgot my black heels! Lucky enough to find those plus the red ones at Nord. ~ on sale even!!!
    Thanks a bunch! P.S. Love your blog :)) found you through the I think??

    1. Hmmm…the Red Lipstick question? To start I would try YSL’s Cherry Crush – a sheer blue red. You might like Red Alert by Rimmel London – I would also recommend using your fingertip to apply the lipstick, this gives a more stained effect that is very pretty. My trick to buying red? I go to the brand I’m interested in, and pick up every red they have in a collection – and dab it on my wrist and I go with the color I like best – the lip pencil is next and once I find the perfect color combination that’s when I test on my actual lips….For me to find the right color combination will take an hour at least….I would check out the Nars counter they have great modern Red selections – plus Lip Fixation by jane iredale in Rapture –
      Happy Hunting and keep me posted!!

    2. Blue reds that I know of are:

      MAC Russian Red and Ruby Woo.
      Maybelline Color Sensationals Red Revival, Pleasure Me Red and Fatal Red
      L’Oreal Colour Riche Intense Lipcolour 297 Red Passion

      All the best!

    3. I am a blue-red gal for sure, orangey tones make my teeth look yellow and my skin pale! I love Naughty by Motives (both for the colour and the name ;p)

  3. DELIGHTED to have stumbled upon your blog. I am a red lipstick fanatic, beauty blogger ( who’s always trying to encourage readers to wear red lips, and an SF native! I love your blog – it’s great. My most recent red lipstick purchase is the Chanel Velvet Matte red, La Fascinante, to which I’m currently addicted. Perfect for red neophytes as the color is totally buildable, it’s also lovely for those of us who want lots of pigment and the texture is heaven. I just signed up for your e-mail updates – looking forward to your future posts!

    1. Dear Alexandra,

      Thank you so much for stopping by, but most importantly for leaving me a message, I really appreciate it! Perhaps you would like to contribute to this blog with me and post about your favorite red lipsticks? The work doesn’t need to be original. Let me know! And we should go red lipstick shopping together : )
      My best,

  4. ahhh a friend let me to yr blog.. I thanked her for it…in our discussion on red lipstick.

    With the growing of age.. the need for a colour change in my true red is needed.. I am advised to wear ruby red.
    I dislike however.. the bleeding coffee cups (looking like murder or a visit from dracula) on a meeting table and I dont like the feel of the longlasting ones (f.i. MF.. brakes my lips after a day). Which one is the best and longest wearable to yr opinion?? Any tips?
    Anita (who else.. haha)

  5. I have worn red lipstick since I was 16! Now at 56 it just doesn’t look good anymore and I am seriously bummed out. I have been sick for the last couple of years, but I do keep up with skin care, mask
    s, moisturizer etc…. I do have dark circles under my eyes (from medications) that look worse if I try to use a cover up. I have given up on Mascara, I just use a blended eye liner-not to heavy and of course fill in the brows. Any new color suggestions?

    1. Dear Louise,

      Sorry you have been ill, I’ve been under the weather myself this past year. Hope you start feeling better soon. I would add green juices, vitamins and green tea to your diet. Plus try and get in 8 hours of sleep, try sleeping on your back, that will help with under eye puffiness. As for skincare, try a heavy moisturizer and eye product at night and something hydrating during the day. For color, I recommend you walk into your nearest department store and get a makeup over, they are complimentary with the purchase of any two items, a lipstick and lip liner should do it. I would try a pink red in more of a stain, sometimes a dark and heavy lip color can be aging. This year I started off by wearing my new pink by ellis fass and today I am wearing my nude by nars. But I will go back to my favorite reds next week. Change is good, embrace it!
      my best,

  6. Hiya
    Loved your article.very it true that wearing red lipstick gives a very full finish to the lips.i have naturally full lips with a well defined pout(genetic mandate),so would my lips look over the top if i sport red?help!

    1. Hi! I believe it’s true, I’ve chose to wear my nude and pink lately and noticed my pout doesn’t look as full. However I will still wear red as it is my color. I recommend an orange red, try a stain? I suggest the lip stains from Hour Glass. However the rule is to try on as many as you can and choose the shade that makes your skin look radiant and pearly whites, white.

      Hope this helps.
      My best,

  7. Can you wear re
    Iipstick to a wedding with a black gown? I was initially going for a smokey eye and subtle lip color, but my options are still available to red lipstick with light cat eye make up.

    1. Dear Narmin,

      The answer is yes, is this an evening wedding? Go for a true red or orange red, skip the burgundy reds or wine reds, those would be too dark. I would take your dress to the nearest Nars counter….they have the best red selections.

      My best,

  8. Do you have any tips for wearing red lipstick casually during the day. I am 24 and still in college, but I LOVE red lipstick.

  9. Hi 😀
    I really need help! I am 11 and I ❤ red lipstick! But it looks too formal and grow-upp-y on me. How can I make it look casual and playful etc?

    ❤ Zaara

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