Let me fess up, I never wore red lipstick. Maroon yes, brown yes, pink yes, but red I always shied away from thinking it would never suit my skin—yes I have the typical wheatish, dusky Indian complexion that has a yellow undertone to it, and ergo red lipsticks have always been a subject of much debate. I had a Dior red which had been gifted to me in days of yore, but I used it rarely and that too only on days when I was sure that folks wouldn’t run behind me, throwing stones. Ah, I exaggerate. But you get my drift, re my views on red lippers.
A friend on twitter, take a bow Soni Aggarwal, introduced me to the joys of red lipstick when she insisted I get myself to the MAC store and buy self a shade called Russian Red. Red lipstick is for everyone, she told me, with the confidence of a woman who knows her red lipsticks and carries it well. Get thee to a MAC store now. I dithered and dathered and finally went to the MAC store, and emerged clutching a little black bullet called Russian Red, and a MAC compact. Oh come on, is it possible to go to a MAC store and emerge with just one item?
As I used the red lipstick I realize that red lipstick is a definer. It sets the women apart from the girls, it announces to the world that you are confident, you know yourself and you don’t hesitate to kick ass.
Why, I wondered, don’t more women wear red lipstick? Then I realized, in true lightbulb manner, that they’re all terrified of red lipstick. So here is my little contribution to the cause of getting red lipstick onto more lips, and more collars if you please.
(Some of my red lipsticks which happened to be in my bag right now. The Dior is so old that I can’t even make out the name of the shade. Left to right: Lakme Absolute Classic Rose, Maybelline 14 hour Non Stop Red 510, MAC Runway Red, Shiseido Perfect Rouge, Dior in supine position)
Firstly, choose your red carefully. You need to have the right red for your skin tone. This can only happen through a lot of trial and error, and once you’ve found the right red, stick to it, buy it repeatedly, make it part of your signature look.
If you have fair skin, pick a bright matte red.
If your skin tone is wheatish, like most of us do, choose a brighter or a deeper red, depending on whether it is for day wear or evening wear. Bold orangey reds are lovely for a day look, crimsons rock an evening look.
If you have dusky skin a dark crimson or a maroon works best for your skin tone.
And yes, remember that if you have red lipstick don’t over do the eyes, keep the focus of the look on your lips, apply the lipstick with a brush, line with a neutral liner if you want more definition, blot with a finger if you want a reddish stain.
Here are some Classic Matte Reds I’ve tried:
Lakme Absolute Classic Rose Matte
This is a brick red, with orange undertones. It worked wonderfully with my skin, so I can safely say it would work for wheatish skins. It needed a touch up post a meal, but what I liked about it was that it stayed matte but didn’t dry the lips out. The colour is nice and strong, without popping.
Price: Rs 575/-
(Disclaimer: Received this as a sample from Lakme)
This is a classic Red, which is an intense blue-red, which made me think that perhaps it would not work with my skin tone but much to my surprise it looked just fabulous. It is the kind of red I would imagine works with most complexions, it has a blue undertone yet is neutral. Though I would recommend duskier complexions skipped it. The coverage is fabulous, one swipe is enough to get the deep colour you need for the colour to make an impact. The formula is trifle dry though and the lips felt dry post removal. It stays on for a good five to six hours without needing a touch up, unless of course, you’re eating or drinking.
(Disclaimer: I purchased this product).
Price Rs 990.
This is a very matte, very vivid red blue. Best for lighter skins by fabulous deep red, and goes on deep with a lovely intense hue. It stays on firmly for around six hours and goes on matte as it should be. A classic shade this.
Price: Rs 990
(Disclaimer: I purchased this product).
A nice red from MAC, this is a medium-deep blue-based cranberry red with a hint of pink/fuchsia. This has a satin finish, so it isn’t as drying as a matte lipstick, but not as glossy as a crème lipstick either. This shade is a limited edition so might not be available.
(Disclaimer: This was sent to me by MAC)
M∙A∙C Marilyn Monroe collection has Scarlet Ibis which is bright orange red matte and Charmed I’m Sure which is a dark true red (matte) like the Hollywood goddess used. This is also on my to buy list.
My current favourite is this one:
Maybelline Superstay 14 hour lipstick Non Stop Red 510
Moisturising. Deep colour single swipe. Nice bright pop of colour. Gives a matte effect without drying out the lips. The look is really bold, so you need to make your lips the focal point of your look and tone down the eyes and cheeks, or just do a simple liner above the upper lid with mascara.
Given that it is long lasting, the lipstick doesn’t feel heavy or caked, like I’ve experienced with some other brands which are also long lasting.
It lasted for around six to seven hours of eating and drinking with no retouches, so I’m not complaining, that’s pretty good for me, even through their packaging says 14 hours.
It refused to budge with face wash and I found I needed to use make up remover to get it off. Given the staying power it showed, that’s small compromise for someone like me who just prefers on regular days to just wash all the make up off rather than use make up remover..
Price: Rs 525
(Disclaimer: This was sent to me by Maybelline)
Shiseido Perfect Rouge RD 304
I picked this one up on an impulse after getting cornered into a trial demo at a Shiseido pop up at the Inorbit Atrium. It is a pleasant enough shade, strawberry red with a tinge of orange, slight shimmer to it, and goes well with my skin tone. It is hydrating, goes on smooth, but needs regular touch ups, which it is forgiven because it hydrates so well.
(Have completely forgotten the price, it has been a while since I bought it).
Some other reds that folks around have recommended but I haven’t tried meself:
Revlon Color Burst True Red
Revlon Matte In The Red
Revlon Certainly Red
Cover Girl Lip Perfection in Euphoria
Givenchy Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick
Lancôme L’Absolu Nu Lipstick
NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick Red Lizard
Estee Lauder Signature Lipstick Rich Red
Shiseido Perfect Rouge – RD415 Valentine
Yves Saint Laurent ‘Rouge Volupté’ Lipstick
Faces Red Diva
Chambor Powder Matte Rubis Rouge
Matte Red Lipstick Application – Dita Von Teese Style : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPt8orN449g&feature=player_embedded
If you have a red lipstick shade you love, do let me know, would love to try it out.