"I came out of the womb waving red lipstick." ~Rose McGowan
As always, things go in and out of fashion, then eventually come back around again. So it is with red lips, theoretically. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems to me like every season I see proclamations in various magazines that 'red lips are back!' (for some of us they were never really out.) The truth is that they're a classic look, and thus are never really 'out' of fashion. So lets talk red lips.
I'd like to point out that everyone can wear red lipstick- you just have to find the right one. And there may only be one for you- or there may be a whole plethora of reds that you can wear. That's not to say that it'll necessarily be your best color, but if you love red lipstick (with some of us it's a 'thing') rest assured there is at least one out there for you. You just have to work with your coloring; pick a red that corresponds to your coloring- if your coloring calls for warm makeup, you need a warm red, and if your coloring calls for cool makeup, then you need a cool, blue based red. You'll know right away- the wrong one will make you look sick or just go 'flat' on you. You also have to take your contrast into consideration- if you have very dark hair and pale skin, or vice versa, (high contrast) you'll want a more intense red. If you have dark hair and dark skin, or light hair and light skin, (low contrast) you'll most likely need a slightly more subdued red. If you have low contrast yet 'brighter' coloring- say you dye your hair a fairly 'bright' blond, for example, and have light yet bright blue eyes, and a tan, you might need a 'brighter' red, too- but you'll probably need it to be a fairly light red, and possibly a softer application. Dark red probably won't work here. Red lipstick can be tricky, though- sometimes the unexpected looks great. If you've always felt you look awful in it, you may have just never found the right one. If you love red, then this is definitely worth the time and investment to explore. Now on to the technical aspects of wearing it…
Red lips always look fabulous…for the first ten minutes, until they wear off.
There are a couple of ways to avoid this. You can use a lip primer first, and apply the red lipstick right over the primer. If you apply lipstick with your finger you can get a very soft, almost diffused look. If you use a lip brush you have more control; not only can you apply the color very softly as well, but you'll also have much more control than with pretty much any other method of application. If you've got a steady, precise hand, you can apply it directly out of the tube. Personally I find I'm too clumsy to apply it properly straight out of the tube. I always use a brush.
If you want the color to be as true as possible, then consider using a little foundation on your lips first. This gives you more of a blank canvas on which the color is less influenced by the natural color of your lips. Also you have the option of creating a slightly different shape for your lips if you cover them with foundation first.
Let's say you want a more intense, pronounced red lip. This is easy. Start with a lip pencil and line your lips. Then fill in the entire lip with the same pencil. Now apply your lipstick over that using one of the above methods. Using a pencil underneath provides a colored base that extends the wear of your lipstick considerably, as well as making the color much more intense.
Another aspect of lining and filling with a lip liner is that it gives you more options; you can use a slightly deeper color to add depth to your lipstick, or go lighter to make it 'brighter.' You can change the color a little as well. If you have a red that you love that's maybe a little too orange or too blue for your coloring, you can correct this somewhat with a lip pencil underneath. (Using a lip pencil to manipulate lipstick color is also applicable to all lipstick colors, as well.)
I love red lipstick. I have more reds than any other color…and am always looking for more…