FGW: Red Lipstick “Oomph is My Motto Honey!”
What is it about red lipstick? I mean, it’s like womankind as a whole has a love/hate relationship with the stuff. We’d love to wear it, but we hate trying to find the perfect shade.
Through the ages women have used color to accentuate their lips. From crushed jewels and beetles to wetted jelly beans (really!), we’ve looked for the perfect color to show strength and fertility. Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor just wouldn’t be themselves without a perfectly drawn red lip. Thousands of goodbye messages couldn’t be dramatically scrawled across mirrors without a tube of the bright stuff. Boardrooms and brothels alike would cry aloud in despair if it were suddenly wiped from the face of the earth.
But where to begin?! A quick glance at and cosmetics counter shows you the depth of red choices out there. I myself have personally tried at least half of them. Some quick rules of thumb: Almost everyone can pull off a true red, so it’s really your safest bet. Think Red crayon or London phone booth. Yellow undertones should stick with warm reds. For example, Tomato, Tawny, Brown Golden, or Orangey reds. Pink undertones look for the cool reds with bases like Pink, Berry, Brick, Blue and Plum tones. Blue tones have the added incentive of brightening the appearance of teeth. Not sure which skin tone you have? A quick trick is to check the color of your nail beds for either a pink or yellow hue. Or you can just head to your favorite cosmetics counter and ask someone in the know.
One of the drawbacks to that brilliant ruby red is that it has a tendency to creep. Even the youngest and most supple lip can experience bleeding of color into fine lines around the mouth. There are a few quick steps to avoid this. First, a light layer of foundation, concealer, or powder over your lips as a base before you apply your lipstick can really help everything stay put. Second, find a good lip liner. If you’re not so keen on colored liner than find a nude liner that matches your natural lip color or buy an invisible liner. They are out there, from inexpensive brands like Sally Hansen to slightly more expensive brands like Bourjois. If you’re not big on lip liner the invisible liners are your best bet since they can be used with any color you have. If you use a liner to match your lip color than apply it all over as your base. This will help your color stay and it won’t leave a line of color if your lipstick starts to wear off. Be sure to keep lips hydrated and smooth to pull red off perfectly. A quick swipe of sugar or sea salt across your lips exfoliates beautifully.
Even with these tips you might find that discovering your perfect red can be a challenge. Something about my skin finds the slightest hint of pink or orange and brings it raging to the forefront. I have been searching for years. If I hadn’t had a friend with me to witness my last red lipstick attempt, I might start to think it was all in my head. We hit up every counter, from MAC to Chanel, only to find that the most gorgeous reds turned to hideous versions of themselves once applied to my waiting lips. And still the perfect shade of bluish red continues to elude me.
Red needn’t be saved just for a night out or a special occasion. It can be worn as an everyday color. The rule of thumb is to simply tone down everything else. Red already says “Hey, look at me!”, you don’t want the rest of your face screaming for attention as well. A light cheek, some eye liner and a swipe of mascara will do just fine. You’re still you, only more so! And don’t be afraid to glam it up at night for a little extra Oomph! After all, Oomph is my motto honey!