Red lipstick is quite possibly the most iconic type of makeup there is. It is a staple in classical, vintage, and modern makeup. In other words, it deserves its own post.
So I put some of my lipsticks in my bag and headed to my local coffee shop to write. These are far from my only lipsticks, but they do illustrate a rather decent range of colours and types.
Here’s five things you need to know about red lipstick.
First lesson, don’t judge a product based on what it looks like in the tube. One of these nine products applies sheer. If you can take a quick glance at these photos and immediately guess which one it is, you’re more skilled than I am. Spoiler, it’s the one on the bottom left (black tube in the bottom left photo).
Second lesson, formula matters.
These three photos of me all feature different kinds of lipstick. The one on the left is a matte lipstick from Bèsame (Red Velvet), the middle one is my faithful Guerlain, and the one on the right is a lip tint from TonyMoly worn as a lipstick. Despite being quite similar in colour, these lipsticks look quite different when actually worn. In addition to the various degrees of creamy to matte, there’s also frosty, metallic, or glittery formulas that can affect what the product actually looks like when it’s worn.
One thing to keep in mind is that matte formulas, especially when the colour is quite dark, can make your lips look smaller. Likewise, a more creamy or light reflecting formula can make your lips look slightly fuller.
Third lesson: Colour is complicated.
Just like with foundation, undertones can really make a difference. In addition to cooler or warmer undertones, there’s also the way a certain colour leans. Some reds are quite close to pink, orange, or purple. In order to find what looks good on you, you need to get to know your skin and do some good old testing. As you’ve probably noticed based on all these photos, I tend to go for lipsticks with cool undertones. Why? Because if I go for warmer undertones, it highlights any redness I already have on my face.
If you’re struggling to find something that works for you, go to a well stocked seller of lipstick with the intent of purchasing a lipstick, and try on a wide range of products. Places like Mecca, Sephora, and the various brands in David Jones should all allow you to try on a range of colours before purchase. Ask for assistance in finding a red lipstick and go from there. If possible, check the colour in more than one kind of light.
Fourth lesson: Application matters.
I typically apply the product straight from the bullet, no primer, no brush, no liner. However, if you’re struggling to get it right, consider using a different technique. Because it’s quite difficult to demonstrate application techniques in photos and writing, I’m actually going to include a video made by the incredible Lisa Eldridge. She is a fantastic makeup artist and very knowledgeable about seemingly everything related to makeup. Have a look at her channel, it’s truly awesome.
Fifth lesson: The price tag doesn’t matter.
Like with all makeup products, the price tag is not a very good indication of the quality of the product. You’ll be able to find high quality products at almost any price level. I was recently pleasantly surprised by The Body Shop’s Colour Crush 101 – Red Siren for 21 dollars, often praise TonyMoly’s lip products which usually sit at about 10 AUD, and have a favourite lipstick that goes for more than 70 dollars.