At different points in history, red lipstick has been viewed as adornment for queens, or a seductive evil used by witches to lure innocent men. I have to admit, I’ve used red lip color in both ways. So many women don’t fully grasp the power of a perfectly chosen crimson lip. Others erroneously believe red is a magical shade that only the chosen can wear. “I don’t look good in reds” is something I’ve heard numerous times as a makeup artist. I love it. It’s the ultimate challenge. I’d go in my kit and pull out at least one red lip color that looked divine on said disbeliever. She left a convert. Every woman can wear red. Say it with me, “Every. Woman. Can. Wear. Red.”
Obviously, I’ve got to back that up now, so here goes: There are probably about a bizillion red lip hues in every texture you can imagine. Statistically speaking, sheer numbers dictate that there are several reds you could wear. Of course, other factors come into play, like unhealthy ingredients and cost, but let’s first lay to rest that there’s no red color in all the world that will look good on you. It’s just not true.
What many women mean when they say there’s no shade of red that looks good on them is actually, “I’m exhausted with trying to find a red that I feel beautiful wearing.” That’s fair. Lip color is as much about the emotional space as it is undertones and hair color.
Speaking of undertones and hair color, there’s no perfect science to finding the perfect red. I’ve seen all of the infographics with warm undertones wear “this” and dark undertones wear “that”, and most times it’s overly simplistic to take away the fear of choosing a red. Yes, if you have warm undertones (yellow and some red/yellow), warm colors are an easy choice. But don’t always go with the easy choice. There are some blue reds or even neutral reds that could work wonderful with warm undertones. And believe it or not, you can cheat what looks good on you by simply experimenting with hair color. When my hair is brown with touches of caramel, I switch up my makeup to warm colors. When I wear it in my signature midnight black, everything I wear is cool. Have fun with it.
Still want a guide? Okay, I’ll relent. Here’s a very rough outline of what probably looks great on you: If you get raves and compliments every time you wear blue, white, gray and pink, and your hair color is dark brown or black, you’re a “cool”. If you rock fiery red, yellow, orange and milk chocolate brown with ease, and your hair is caramel, golden blonde or red, you’re warm. If you can slay in all the color families, you are a lucky neutral. Please only use this as a jumping off point. Here’s why:
If you find a red that you absolutely adore, but it’s “off” somehow, there are ways to customize it to your perfect match. For instance, the red is too “dense”. You feel like your lips look heavy with color. Simply tap the top of the tube with your finger and dab it on your lips instead of swiping from the tube. Add a lip balm or a clear gloss over top to sheer out the color even more.
Your favorite red is a gloss and you’d prefer a stain? Apply the gloss to your lips and then pat it lightly with a tissue or an oil blotter.
Want to take make a matte red look juicy and inviting for a night out? Swipe a clear or sparkly gloss overtop.
The red you chose last year looks flat and dated this year? Blend a darker lip liner around the edges and make it an ombre lip. Seriously, the choices are endless, without buying 25 lip colors. One great red lip color and a little creativity with texture can be a wonderful thing.
Our Vixen red lipstick is a beautiful neutral red that works beautifully on a range of skin tones from Maiden through Toast. It’s cruelty-free (no carmine), gluten-free and vegan. Want to make it a little warmer? Pair with Carmen Vegan Lip Glaze for a sassy, glossier look.