Day 38: Red Lippies
by Makeupalley's Cavewoman
I can't think of any other makeup item that brings on more lively discussions than that of red lipstick. Some women wear nothing but reds, some say they've been searching for years for the perfect red, and some insist they can't wear a red lipstick. And what exactly IS red, anyway? Cherry reds, Ford Mustang reds, brights and darks, warms to cools, there are hundreds of reds to choose from. Finding the perfect red lipstick can take lots of research and trial-and-error, and for a non-red wearer, the effect is sometimes a bit of a shock. I've tried for years to pull off the red lipstick look. Somehow I thought that if I found the perfect red, I'd see a Dita Von Teese look staring back at me from my mirror. It hasn't happened yet.
In terms of red hues, what I have found is something rather odd. I always wear cool toned makeup shades, blue-based pinks and roses, and even cool eye and cheek colors. But on me, blue-based reds look harsh and hard and a bit too severe. I've tried so many of them, hoping for The One, but it never happened. Then I tried NARS Flaming Dust, a warm, bright red that looks frightening in the tube, but actually seemed to work better for me than the blue-reds. The only problem with Flaming Dust is that I am not fond at all of NARS lipsticks. My tube turned rancid on me within just a few months. So I set out to find another, a similar shade, but in a different brand.
My two best reds are both happy accidents. I loved the DiorRouge formula when it was launched a few years ago, and had heard that there were colors available in Asia that would never be sold in the USA. A quick visit to the strawberrynet website had me clicking on a color called Stage Red. I had no idea if what I saw on the monitor would be the color I'd receive, but I was curious enough (and free shipping is always enticing, isn't it?) -- and a week later, my new red was in my hands. And on my lips. Perfection! Bright, saturated, just a tad on the warm side but not orangey at all! I wore it around the house for a week just to get used to seeing myself with red lips.
The next perfect red that I found is a very strange acquisition. I had a swap request from a lovely lady on makeupalley. I found a Chanel lipstick on her list that I had never heard of before, and a formula that I had never tried. It is called Rouge Dentelle Red Lace. We made our swap, and Red Lace arrived. As soon as I opened the tube, I knew this was a great red for me. Very similar in shade to Stage Red, Red Lace is a bright neutral-to-warm color with the pretty, rose scent that I love about Chanel lipsticks. My swapper didn't know too much about the Rouge Dentelle lipsticks. I wrote to Chanel and was told that this particular shade was part of a holiday collection and (of course) was a limited edition. I'm grateful that my swapper was willing to part with this beauty! But I have never seen or heard of any other Rouge Dentelle from Chanel.
The new YSL Rouge Volupte line offers several true, fabulous reds. These are not for the faint of heart, they are bright and bold. A red lipstick lover will find a beauty here, and the formula is slick, glossy, and comfortable. Mine is #17, Red Muse. I haven't had the courage to wear it just yet.
You'll see a tube of the famous, long-gone Paloma Picasso Mon Rouge in the photos. I can't wear it and I can't part with it, either. It's the only lipstick she's ever done. I would consider swapping it for a piece of her Tiffany jewelry, though!
I have to admit to having a little pet peeve about red lipsticks. Indulge me for a moment here. Maybe it is my background in visual arts, or my years of studying color and design, but to me, red is red and red is not brown, orange, or pink. When I think of red lipsticks, it's got to be a clear, true red, leaning toward warm or cool but still staying within a true red range. Of course, there are color nuances and variations and there are hundreds of red lipsticks out there, but MAC New York Apple is not red to me, nor is Clinique Angel Red, I could go on and on but you get my drift.
Moving beyond the lippie comfort zone of pinks and roses isn't an easy thing for me to do, but it's fun. I'm happy to have found a few reds that look good on me. And I'm always glad to be red-lipstick-shopping with some friends who will be gently honest with me and let me know when it's not the right red. I still haven't achieved the Dita look, but I'm having lots of fun with reds.
Have you found your perfect red lipstick? What is it? Tell us all about it!