Red Lipstick: Love to Hate It. Learn To Wear It.
I grew up in a small town just north of New Orleans - a true southern city with large, sweeping oak trees, amazing food, kind people, and lots and lots of football. Not only do we love our New Orleans Saints, but we also love high school football and will show up in droves to support our teams. I attended an all-girls Catholic high school so in my case, my "team" was our brother school's football team. Being that I had taken dance classes since the tender age of 2, I followed my natural path and accepted a spot on my high school dance team.
Back in 1997, we wore the same style of uniforms that the Golden Blues (try THAT name on for size) had worn for eons - a blue sleeveless mini-dress with a mock turtleneck that, while offering plenty of coverage (this was Catholic school after all) still had sleeves that were cut so that we had to wear a strapless bra - which always annoyed me. Even better, we wore long white gloves (that went over the elbow) and marching boots with giant yarn pom-poms on them. But, to me, what was by far the most offensive thing was the requirement that we wear RED LIPSTICK on the football field. My mom used to joke that when we were dancing on the field, all you could see from the stands were 20 pairs of lips, bright and shining.
I considered trying to find a photo of me from this era, but decided against it. I was a blonde - not my best look.
Love it or hate it, I spent three long years donning red lipstick almost every weekend during the school year, and I certainly picked up a few tips along the way. Red lipstick is not as scary as some people like to make it seem - and worn properly, it can be sexy, sultry, and powerful. Just remember that not every shade of red will look good on everyone - as my fellow Golden Blues quickly learned in the locker room, sharing one red lipstick amongst the team was NOT a smart move. One woman's red lipstick is another woman's ticket to the circus.
1. Know your complexion. If you have pinkish undertones to your skin, stick to blue-reds and plum-reds. To try: MAC's Ruby Woo. If you have yellowish undertones to your skin, stick to reds with a brownish base, which will be more complimentary. To try: Elf's Royal Red.
2. Exfoliate and moisturize. Just like you prep your skin for makeup by washing, exfoliating, and moisturizing, so should you prep your lips for lipstick. Brush your lips with a toothbrush, then run a dry washcloth over them to dry. Lastly, apply chapstick to moisturize. Make this a daily routine, and you'll be ready for red anytime!
3. Line and fill. Red lipstick is notorious for bleeding and looking messy, so while I know it might seem silly to fill in your lips with lip liner if you are going to put lipstick on top of it, it is a really effective tip. Choose a neutral lip liner that is similar to your lip color and carefully line, then roughly fill in your lips with the liner. Carefully apply your perfect red on top for a look that will last all day (and NOT have you like your crazy Aunt Mildred after a few glasses of wine).
4. Give your face a break. Take this lesson from the French woman - play up one characteristic at a time. In this case, your red lips are clearly the stand-out candidate, so let them have their day in the limelight. Light makeup on your eyes, a soft dusting of blush and powder, and clear or neutral nail polish will all keep you from looking too severe.
So there you have it - my top 4 tips for wearing red lipstick. Do you have any tips to share with me? I'd love to hear from you - leave me a comment!