The festive season is upon us and nothing says Christmas quite like a red lip. Use our guide to find the perfect lipstick shade to see you through all of your December parties!
The Red Lip, a Brief History
Records of lipstick date back 5,000 years to 2,984 BC. Mesopotamian women crushed semi-precious jewels and used the dust to decorate their lips, but, it is the ancient Egyptians who made the most advancements with early day lipstick. Initially, they coloured their lips with a purple-red dye from seaweed combined with iodine and bromine, until they realised that it was making women extremely ill. A change of ingredients was needed and so Cleopatra found that by crushing carmine beetles and ants, she would be left with a dye that gave her the perfect red lip.
According to colour psychology “Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.”
Since the ancient Egyptian times, red lipstick has been a symbol of power, strength and sensuality. There have been many women throughout time who are famous for their love of a red lip product. From Queen Elizabeth I to Marilyn Monroe, even Taylor Swift has sung about her favourite lip colour. Nowadays, it’s a makeup bag favourite by women everywhere and was named the official lip colour of New York City in the International Lipstick Colours of the Year report.
Sales of lipstick increase when the weather is dull, with 90% of women using the product to feel better about themselves. Lipstick is a quick feel-good fix and is arguably the most important item in a woman’s makeup bag. A coat of black mascara, winged liner and a slick of red lippy creates the perfect party look. It’s simple yet sophisticated, classic yet chic, but what shade of red should you choose? With true reds, pinky-reds, burnt oranges, brick red and plum shades, there really is something for everyone.
If you have porcelain skin, you can get away with most red lip shades. Your skin is a blank canvas and so a simple eye look ensures that all attention goes to your lips. Blue toned, cherry reds work especially well, but, you remember to warm up your cheeks to avoid looking washed out!
If you have fair skin, your perfect red lip will depend on your hair colour. Bright reds with blue undertones add vibrancy to those with fair skin and light hair. The hints of coolness from the blue tinge counteract any signs of redness in the skin.
Red hair and pale skin already creates an unusual and dramatic look. Add to the drama with coral and orange toned reds and bring a flash of colour to milky skin.
If you have dark hair, cool toned reds work best. Deep plum and cherry tones create a classic yet intense look, further intensified by your dark locks.
Medium skin includes olive, beige and bronze tones. Those with medium skin tan easily and can pull off almost all red shades. Mix up your lippy depending on the season, orange toned reds will enhance your tan through the summer while deeper shades add richness come winter.
If you have blonde hair you can wear most shades. Bold and even neon shades work with blonde hair and medium skin tones without being overpowering whilst brick and rust tones compliment olive and yellow skin.
Bold, bright reds can lose their drama when worn by someone with olive skin and dark hair but deep, rich burgundies and plums add a hint of luxury to a makeup look.
Plum and wine based reds flatter dark skinned ladies. Combined with dark eyes it creates a luxurious, gothic yet glamourous look. Bright, tomato red shades add a pop of colour against dark skin and hair and ensure that all of the attention is on your lips.
Orange and coral tones reflect light and will give lips a fuller, poutier appearance. Orangey tones also work well with lighter hair and help to leave your skin looking golden and glowing.
For the festive season, a red lip is as essential as a little black dress. As with your outfit, try before you buy to make sure that you’re buying the perfect shade. When testing lipstick it’s tempting to swipe product across the back of your hand, however, your fingertips have the closest undertones to your lips. Test lipstick by applying it to your fingertip with the same pressure that you’d use on your lips. If you like the colour, that’s the one, if the colour doesn’t show, choose the next darkest shade!
Always moisturise your lips with a sheer balm before applying red lipstick to avoid cracks and flaking. Lining your lips first with a similar coloured liner gives you a crisp, sharp outer line and will prevent bleeding and feathering. Once applied, blot with a tissue and tap translucent powder over the top to make your pout last all night!