Red lipstick is a force to be reckoned with. No other lipstick color can be so right…and so wrong. Pick the wrong red and your skin and teeth might take on an unbecoming yellowish hue. Pick the right red and watch your face (and teeth) light up.
I started wearing red lipstick at the dawn of the blog age, around 2005. It seems like ages ago now, but blogger swatches made it easy to see colors in various lights and understand how they might work for you. Red lipstick made my makeup routine easy: I wear it and little else. Nothing should compete for attention with red.
Pairing cosmetic color and scent came naturally to me since I’ve always paired clothing color and scent. Many people “see” fragrance in color (for instance, to me vetiver is always dark green and vanilla is a pale, warm yellow), so it was a natural extension from clothing to lipstick. Carnation is always red, or red-brown depending on the amount of clove. A red pepper note is also always red: bright!
My suggestions are meant to introduce you to some great red lipsticks, and also to show you a new way to “wardrobe” products. Much as you might match a fragrance to a color of clothing, you can apply the same technique to lipstick–often with dramatic results!
Dance ‘Til Dawn
Chanel sales associates often recommend Rouge Double Intensite Ruby Lite as the perfect lipstick for evening. It’s a bright ruby, an unapologetically jazzy red that demands a seriously sexy, Jazz Age fragrance like Caron Tabac Blond. Launched in 1921, Tabac Blond was created to mimic the smell of tobacco used by flappers. It smells of a fine-grade leather and tobacco leaf, with a hot carnation as the heart-note floral.
Makeup artist Ellis Faas created her eponymous “Ellis Red” to “reproduce the colour that Snow White’s mother wished for the lips of her child: blood-red.” I wear Ellis Red in L101 (Creamy Lips formulation) and while it is brighter than blood on me, it is a clear neutral red one might wear with the fairytale forest evoked by Ormonde Jayne Woman. OJ Woman is deepest green Grimm Brothers’ forest with more than a hint of mystery in its violet-twilight depths.
An Everyday Note of Glamour
Victoria and I both adore the deep coral-red Habit Rouge from Guerlain’s Rouge Automatique series. If there’s such a thing as a neutral coral-red, Habit Rouge is it. It’s a terrific everyday red that pairs just as well with a suit and it does with a cocktail dress (or jeans!). For an additional note of glamour in the everyday, try Annick Goutal’s exuberant Quel Amour!, a fruity rose that bursts with red notes.
Le Metier de Beaute is a chic high-end cosmetic line that connoisseurs say is among the very best. Moisture Stain Lipstick in color Sydney is hot tamale of a warm red that works great with the spicy jasmine of The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit.
These are just a few suggestions. The truth is, anything goes. From theatrical and dramatic colors and fragrances to demure and barely-there ones, the possibilities are beautifully diverse and are not just limited to red. Do you match your lipstick to your fragrance? If not, why not join the fun and suggest a fantasy pairing?
Image: Guerlain Habit Rouge from Rouge Automatique collection by Bois de Jasmin, all rights reserved