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You Have No Excuse to Keep Avoiding Red Lipstick

Sep 6, 2013 at 4:57 PM Chime in now

Red Lipstick


I’d always wanted to be, but never believed I could be, the bold sort of woman who wears red lipstick. One day, flipping through a magazine, I spotted a model with the perfect vermilion smile. Hmm, she has the same complexion as me, I noticed. Enough was enough, I decided. I hit Sephora the next afternoon and picked up the colour she was wearing before I could lose my nerve. Now, other women tell me, "I could never wear red lipstick."

I hear this all the time. If I press for a reason, they say they're too pale, or too dark, too red-headed or too whatever. But there is no woman who can’t wear red lipstick. It boils down to self-confidence. Like any fashion statement, you simply have to hold your chin up and walk out the door owning it.

Not used to how I looked in it, the first time I wore red lipstick to the office I felt not unlike Bozo the Clown. And I was nervous about the reactions it might draw. Right away, a co-worker asked me if I’d gone to a counter before work to get my make up done. I immediately felt like a glamourpuss. Next, I noticed more people – both sexes, too – smiling at me, opening doors for me, striking up a conversation with me. When someone asked if I had a job interview, I began to feel something else: Powerful.

Here’s a secret. The confidence you need to wear red lipstick can be faked, just by wearing it. Remember, red projects confidence so even if you are quietly freaking out inside, you’re still telling the world, “Look out, I am a force to be reckoned with.” It’ll feel a bit strange until you get used to it. You might feel like people are looking at you. Guess what? They are! And not because you look like a crazy person, or whatever it is your own inner critic whispers in your ear, they’re looking because you’re a knockout.

I’ll concede that red lipstick is fussier to apply than a gloss or a neutral. It smears all over your coffee cup, and has to be reapplied after eating. Sometimes it ends up on your teeth. And of course red lipstick can’t actually cure a break-up or a bad day, but slicking some on certainly can instantly elevate your mood, brighten your face and make you look less tired. There’s no better salve for a case of the Mondays or for a quick injection of courage. It’s like buying yourself a cheerful bunch of flowers, only for your face.

Spied on the fall 2013 runways of the likes of Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, the fashion magazines advise me that the red lip trend is "continuing" for autumn. The truth is the red lip is timeless. The Mesopotamians were the first to rock the look, dressing up their mouths with crushed semi-precious stones, but it was Cleopatra who cranked scarlet lips up to the next level. She added pulverized carmine beetles and ants to an already toxic cosmetic concoction (it often lead to serious illness, even death for ancient Egyptians) to attain the red she craved. The classic red lip evokes the beauty icons of the 1950s – think Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor – even as it looks chic and modern.

And these days, thankfully, there's no need to source carmine beetles. Try these instead:

Bite Beauty High Pigment Lip Pencil in Pomegranate:
My gateway red, this perfect opaque, matte pencil is made of food grade quality ingredients and formulated without parabens, synthetics and petroleum byproducts. Line your lips with the tip of the pencil and use the side to fill in your lips. Pomegranate Lip Pencil, $24 at Sephora.

MAC Lipstick in Russian Red:
So much has been written about Russian Red, you hardly need to hear anything I have to say about it. MAC’s top selling red launched in the 1980s, was made famous by Madonna who wore it throughout her Like a Virgin World Tour, and is a favourite hue of Dita von Teese. Need I say more? This universally flattering matte red stays where you put it, has loads of pigment and amazing coverage. Line lips with MAC’s Lip Pencil in Brick, Russian Red’s perfect match. Lipstick: $18, Lip Pencil: $18, both at MAC.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic:
A nice alternative for the summer, or for any event where you need to know your colour is exactly where it should be (like an interview or a wedding), this stain comes in the form of a chubby, wax crayon. There's no need to line your lips, and the colour is buildable. Simply layer until you reach your comfort level and reapply throughout the day for shine. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic, $11, at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Read More:
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The 13 Best Places to Get Free Beauty Samples Online

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Lady Gaga's Cool New Picasso Look





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