Looking Good: Seeing Red

WRITTEN BY
ANGIE CHEN

If anyone were to ask me what my number one way to dress up a look is, my answer would have to be red lipstick. So much so, that I’ve constantly been associated as "the girl who wears red lipstick that can last through 5 hour parties with no smudges". Suffice to say, it has become my signature look, and I'm proud of it.

Forget the show-stopping accessories; sometimes, there is just something so alluring and eye-catching about a pair of red lips. It doesn't matter if its used in the most casual way, with a crisp white shirt and cut off denim shorts or for the evening in a tent shaped vintage Balenciaga gown. 

That aside, picking the perfect shade for the occasion can be difficult simply because there are just so many varieties and options out there. But, hey, a girl can never have too many red lipsticks, right? The endless shades range from the blue reds to orange reds to pink reds…and it can get overwhelming and confusing. 

And then you have to ask yourself: how do I pick a shade of red that will make my teeth look less yellow? If I have thin lips can I still wear red lipstick without looking like Cruella de Vil? 

In this article of Looking Good, we go into the realm of searching for the perfect red lipstick(s)


STAINS & TINTS

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So, you're afraid of wearing such a bold colour but still in need of a red lipstick that you can use daily? I find that it's best to go for those that offer lip tints and stains. They are always a brave step forward into the realm of getting those luscious red lips. 

Now, a trick I like to use when wanting to achieve the look that tints or stains give, is to use lip liner. That way, you can control the depth of the lip colour. Once, you've done that, go over with a tinted or clear lip balm to even out the colour. Plus point: you're keeping your lips moisturised, and this is something that tints and stains don't usually do. 

For me, it’s a super cost-effective way of creating these looks since the chances of having these products at home are high. 

But if you'd still like to have proper lip tints or stains, these are the products that are on my constant rotation.My current favourite : the NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil in Red Square.  I love the chubby stick because itmakes application fuss-free and it's the perfect shade for daytime. 


LIQUID LIPSTICK

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Matte liquid lipsticks have been all the rage and are some of my favourites when it comes to needing a versatile red lipstick with long lasting wear. It also helps that they are designed for tropical heat as they're usually made using long-lasting polymers. This allows them to stay on (almost) forever without bleeding/melting like other lipsticks do. 

To be honest, liquid lipsticks are my go-to products when I know I have a long night that's going to be filled with eating and drinking. I don't want to have to excuse myself to re-apply my lipstick, so this works best for me.  In fact, I’ve gone for a 3-hour dinner and then continued to party throughout the night with most of my lipstick intact. This is after numerous glasses of vodka soda and champagne. 

My tip? What I like to do is to prep my lips with a lip balm half-an-hour before applying the liquid lipstick with a lip balm. My favourite lip balm is Homeoplasmine (this one's from France) or the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Lick Protectant. Why? Because liquid lipsticks can get very drying and you don’t want crackly lips halfway through the night. 

Most liquid lipsticks are also versatile. So, apply a thin layer and blot to achieve whichever look you want. Remember to always start with your bottom lip first because it has more surface area and you can line your upper lips more easily when there is less ‘liquid’.


SHADES OF RED

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Now, on to the classic reds. 

One of my favourite go-to brands for that is M.A.C because of the various shades and textures that the brand offers. Their Ruby Woo lipstick, for instance, needs no introduction. However there is a number of other reds that I also love because of their highly pigmented tones and finishes. 

One of my favourites is Russian Red, which uses the original matte formulation of the brand. Basically, it’s a bluish-red that is flattering on both light skin tones and more olive tones. Another one is Brave Red in a Creme-sheen texture, which is a highly pigmented creamy lipstick that gives off a subtle glossy sheen. This one's great for keeping your lips hydrated and healthy while still giving you a bold look. This is a warm subtle yellow hued lipsticks is every beginner's dream. It is universally flattering on every skin tone (we tried in the office!) and works well even for dry lips. Best part? It won’t tug at your lips on application. 

The last shade on my list is MAC Red which is a bright blue-toned red in a Satin finish. This one is done in a half-matte and half-velvety finish, which has the right amount of moisture but still looks matte. I love this because it’s a classic red (think Dita Von Teese) and also makes my slightly yellow teeth look whiter (which is what blue-toned reds are supposed to do). It’s also my grandma’s favourite lipstick.  So clearly, it’s a red that transcends all ages!

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The last on my list are the dark reds. These, in my opinion, are the hardest to get into and experiment with because you do not exactly want to look like a 90’s goth kid. 

The Chanel Rogue Allure Velvet range has a matte silky finish and that is how I like my dark reds. I also find that it’s the most universally flattering texture for this kind of colour. I’m using this lipstick in 327 La Desiree, which is a deep berry shade with neutral undertones. Hence, it should flatter most skin types. It gets a little dry after prolonged wear, though. So, what I like to do is to layer a red tinted balm after application.

The M.A.C Viva Glam, for me, comes in at a close second when it comes to the dark side. It’s a full-on matte finish and requires the use of lipliner first. But, trust me on this, the resulting colour payoff is intense and gorgeous. Also, who can say no to a classic dark red? I find that this shade is more Burgundy than berry and is one of the best shades for when you want statement lips - the kind you have when your hair is slicked back and you are wearing that LBD. 


And there you have it. All my favourites when it comes to red lips. I think I have already shared a very wordy account on how to achieve a red lipstick look that suits your lifestyle while helping you to dress up any look. 

Don't forget that experimentation is always key when it comes to finding a method or colour that you really love. A word of caution: Everything you read online should only serve as a helping hand and a guide. They're not a strict guideline - This article included ;)