And if that woman happens to be wearing red lipstick, then she is saying “I’m a woman in control”!

As a styling and makeup consultant I regularly get asked for tips on wearing red lipstick. Usually this is because while most ladies would love to be able to wear red lipstick when they feel like it, they don’t know how to go about finding the right one.

So why wear red lipstick?

The colour red has so many meanings – danger, stop, energy, strength, power, passion, desire, love – and all those meanings practically scream the same message:-

Look at this! Pay attention! Don’t look away!

Red lips are a definitive and perennial staple of women’s beauty regimes for a very good reason. It’s the look that symbolises “classic” beauty. Think of all those iconic women whose signature look is red lipstick – everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow to the current stars of stage and screen like Taylor Swift and Scarlett Johansson. There isn’t one that doesn’t reach for a slick of red lipstick when they want to make a statement. It’s just one of the ways they portray their undeniable feminine power and self-possession.

When I see a woman wearing red lipstick I immediately think “this woman is confident and in total control”. Red lipstick is a source of strength. When you put it on you immediately feel more poised, more self-assured and empowered. It draws attention to your mouth and – subsequently – the words that come out of it. Red lipstick is all about asserting yourself. I often reach for a slick of red lips on days when I need a boost, it’s my own personal mood changer.

Why are some people scared of wearing red lipstick?

Red lipstick is often portrayed as bold and bright. On some women that works. But on most it creates too much of a contrast with their complexion and overall look. That’s usually because if a woman isn’t wearing the right shade of red for her, her lips stand out too much. When that happens you’re so distracted by the bold or odd-looking use of colour you’re not appreciating the rest of her. And that makes some ladies wary of trying red lipstick for themselves, they don’t want to make the same mistake.

However, if you get just the right shade of red, then Boom! Not only do you look in total control, you will be wearing the red lips rather than the red lips wearing you!

Can anyone wear red lipstick?

I need to point out that everyone can wear red lipstick – any age, any face, any colouring, daytime, night time, any time. So long as it’s the right shade of red for you, then I say go for it!

So regardless of your colouring, your style personality or even the shape of your lips, there’s a red lipstick out there that’s ideal for you. Identifying the right shade of red is a science-based art, but I can help you find it. Just follow these basic tips.

Which is the right red for you?

The beginning and end of choosing the right shade of red (whether that’s a lipstick, a jumper, a scarf or anything else) is your skin undertones: warm, cool or neutral. The idea with a red lipstick is to work with, not against, your complexion:-

  • If you have warm undertones then you may look good in oranges, salmon pinks, browns, creams, etc. A rich juicy red tomato-coloured shade would work wonders for your lips
  • If you have cool undertones you look good in blues, greys and fuchsia pinks – then a ruby-coloured lipstick at the bluer end of the spectrum is the one for you
  • If you have neutral undertones you might be a tad confused on whether you are warm or cool (as you might be able to wear blues and salmon pinks), then a lipstick shade between hot and cool is perfect. Think claret or geranium, or even strawberry colours for a real statement

Lipsticks, CMBmakeup

These tips will be a great start to finding your perfect Valentines red.  If I saw you in person, rather than say, over a computer screen, I would also look at depth of colour, and take your makeup style personality into consideration.

For personalised advice why not book a makeup assessment, or a makeup lesson if you want to learn some application techniques too. Or if your question is about the right shade of red for your wardrobe then book a colour consultation, and find out exactly what works for you.