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How to Wear Red Lipstick and Not Look Like a Hooker

By Kelly Glenn ·


Okay ladies, I have a confession to make. Promise you won’t say anything to A Mom in Red High Heels, but I don’t wear red. I can’t do it. I have a closet FULL of many colors; from black, gray and purple to neons and pastels. NO red. None. Which, by the way, is really kind of annoying come Valentine’s Day and I basically have to dial every one of my friends just to borrow something red to wear.

Why don’t I wear red? I have this strange fear that it looks awful on me. It’s the one color I avoid like the plague. Most reds look terrible on my skin tone - it just does not suit me. Ironically, whenever I go shopping with friends and we do the whole OMG – you should totally get this, it would look SO fab on you,  it is almost always inevitably something red and I’m like err.. HELLO I -do not- wear red!

Obviously, same goes for red lipstick. If I can’t fathom wearing red ON MY BODY because it looks –AWFUL- on me, why would I want it written all over my face?

Much to my chagrin, whenever I’ve had my makeup done at makeup counters or for special events like prom or weddings – no fail the makeup artist puts red lipstick on me. They never outright say “I’m going to be putting red lipstick on you now” it’s always a shocking and unpleasant surprise because I wasn’t paying attention (curse you, ADHD) while they are meticulously applying it because I was to busy being distracted by all the pretty makeup products that surround me. The moment they hand me a mirror to see my new ‘look’ and I see the bright red lips I scream in horror politely thank them (because that’s how mama raised me) whilest calculating how far it is to the nearest restroom so I can scrub that horrid mess off my face. Seriously, it makes me feel like I look like a cheap hooker.

I also do this when a hairdresser decides to take to my hair with a metal round brush, leaving me with what I aptly to refer to as poufy Texas pageant hair, after which I promptly race home so I can straighten that disaster out before anyone sees me.

Of course, that is not to say red lips aren’t totally hot. My bff rocks a red lip daily and she’s pretty much the most fab person I know. So with red lips being totally en vogue this season I decided perhaps it was time to get over my red-aversion once and for all.

Naturally I sought hours of therapy headed over to my local Sephora and took to the displays in search of a red lipstick that would make me feel like a glamorous Hollywood celeb and not the latest Toddlers and Tiaras tyke (besides Suri Cruise is the only little girl who can pull of a red lip fabulously). I went straight for YSL. Something about wearing YSL makeup sooths me like no other, it’s just one of those brands that feels synonymous with all things glam and chic. I started out by toying with Le Orange, the totally gorg red lip color that everyone fabulous is gaga for. Sadly it was too warm for my cool skin tone and while I contemplated purchasing it simply because of it’s beauty, I knew I had to find a perfect red I could ACTUALLY wear so I put it back into the display and walked away.

But I didn’t give up. I couldn’t. Even makeup super genius Bobbi Brown once declared there’s a red lipstick for everyone and Bobbi Brown knows it all when it comes to fabu makeup so gosh darn it I WAS GOING TO FIND IT.

Since orange-red was out of the picture  I opted instead for a blue-based red color, one with a cooler undertone to suit my cool skin tone. Think berry, not orange. It was perfection. A red lipstick that even I can wear, I was sure I could see the clouds parting and angels singing in harmony. Turns out all these years I spent fearing red lipstick, I just hadn’t found the right shade for me. And if this red-fearing girl can find a perfect red, I truly believe anyone can.

Lesson: the trick to wearing red lipstick is finding the perfect shade for your skin tone. Don’t be like me and worry about what xfabulouscelebrity is wearing, it’s about you! Rule of thumb is warmer skin gals look best in fire engine red shades, colors like the iconic Le Orange. Cooler toned gals like myself should search out cherry reds, and cooler toned berry reds. If it has any kind of berry in the name this is probably a winner. Dark-skinned gals, rock the bold crimson for a sexy red pout. Don’t be afraid to try 100 lipsticks just to find the right one, and don’t trust makeup counter makeup artists who think that there’s a magic red that looks good on everyone.


posted by 10/22/11

Great blog on the red!

I've always been enamored with red lipstick, but like you, I had trouble finding the right red for my skin tone as well. Even though I'm light in complexion, but I'm very yellow in tone as well O_O But after much battling with myself, I gave into the blue-toned-reds (berry reds especially) and it actually looks great AND makes my teeth look whiter too LOL.

For gals that have a hard time transitioning into reds, I suggest sheer reds for starters. My first ever red was "Calypso" by Paula Dorf... it's fabulous! And I'm still collecting reds and pinks now ^^

posted by Tamara R. 10/24/11

At one point you couldn't have paid me to wear red lipstick, but once I got over that mental barrier.. everything changed. I adore reds now, and while it's not a daily look for me, I do enjoy them.

Welcome to the club. :]

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The shameless girl's beauty guide--where vanity is celebrated.


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