Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fifty Shades of Red

To the untrained eye, a red lip is a red lip. But enter into the beauty blogging world and you soon find out that there's a lot more to it than that. Which red will suit your skintone, eye colour or hair colour? Do you go for blue tones, orange tones? And what about the Sophie's choice of lipstick selection - matte or glossy?
As I perused my small but diverse collection of red lippies, I realised there is a different red for every person and every occasion.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing any beauty product is the colour wheel.
Colours opposite each other on the colour wheel tend to be complimentary of each other, as they can work to either counteract or intensify the opposite colour. For example, when using colour correctors, we choose a product containing a colour that will counteract the problem - e.g. a corrector with yellow undertones will work to reduce the appearance of purple under-eye circles and a green-toned corrector can counteract any redness in the skin.
The colour wheel is also very relevant when deciding which shade of red will suit your colouring best.
Here are my six picks, one for each red lip category, and my thoughts on each.

L-R: Rimmel Kate Moss 22, Rimmel Kate Moss Matte 110, Topshop Rio Rio

The Pink Red
A pink-based red lipstick is a youthful and fresh take on the traditional red lips trend. A cool-toned pink red like Rimmel Kate Moss in 22 would be particularly suited to girls with a paler complexion as the cool tones won't be as stark as they would be against a warmer skintone. Pink reds also look particularly beautiful with darker hair and eyes, as pinks and purples tend to be complimentary of darker features.

The Coral Red
This is a bright summery red which leans towards the warmer side of the red lipstick spectrum. Because of this, a coral red would look great against a warmer skintone. That's not to say that paler girls can't pull off a coral red - it would just stand out more against cool-toned skin, which is definitely not a bad thing, depending on the intensity of the look you're trying to achieve. I've also found that coral and orange reds are amazing at bringing out blue eyes (it's that colour wheel again!). When I applied the two orange-based lipsticks I've chosen for this post, the first thing that stood out to me was how much more blue my eyes appeared. If you're brave, try a bright coral red like Rimmel Kate Moss Matte in 110.

The Orange Red
Similar to the coral red, but without the pink undertones, the orange red again is traditionally recommended for darker skintones as it is the warmest of all the red lipstick shades. Whilst it is easier for someone with a warmer skintone to pull off, I'd definitely say us paler girls can pull it off too when we wear it right. Pair it will lashings of mascara and flawless-looking skin to really make the orange pop against cooler skin. And if you're a blue-eyed girl, prepare for your peepers to stand out just as much as your lip colour. Try Topshop Rio Rio for a flattering orange red lip.

L-R: Gold by Giles Pulse, Mac Russian Red, Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Rosy Red

The Blue Red
Now the queen of red lipstick has to be the blue-based red. Universally flattering? Check. Classic and striking? Check. Makes teeth appear whiter? Check. I read somewhere that a blue red is the only shade of red lipstick that blondes should wear. Now, whilst I don't agree with that (I very much enjoy my orange reds thank you very much), I do see the logic behind that statement. Blue is opposite the yellow tones on the wheel after all, which is why reds with blue undertones work to whiten teeth, by counteracting any yellowness. Is yellowness a word? Spellcheck says yes so we'll go with it. As blue-based lipsticks like this one by Gold by Giles in Pulse are cooler in tone, they work best against a paler skintone, but are so flattering I think they'd work just as well with a warmer skintone and dark features.

The Matte Red
Matte lipsticks might be the marmite of the beauty world. Some love the traditional, chalky feel of a matte formula, whilst some loathe the potential lip-dragging and highlighting of dryness and imperfections on the lips. Personally, I always avoided them, until I bought Mac Russian Red, and finally found a place in my heart for matte. I think every girl should own a classic matte red. It oozes sophistication and matte is always on trend, particularly for Autumn/Winter. If you're conscious of the lipstick clinging to any dry patches on your lips, exfoliate first using Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub, and follow with an intensely hydrating lip balm like Nuxe Reve de Miel Baume Levres, allowing it to sink in before applying your lip colour.

The Glossy Red
I think a glossy red is the younger, less serious sister of the matte red. It's fun, comfortable and less intense. If you want a true red lip, with an almost balm consistency and without compromising on pigmentation, I'd recommend the Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Rosy Red, which can be built up into an intense but glossy colour and compliments any skintone or colouring.

I better state that these are by no means 'the rules' of wearing red lipstick, just my opinions based on a little research and my own experience. At the end of the day, red lips are meant to be a little daring, striking and sexy, so go for the shade that makes you feel most confident about yourself, not the shade you think you 'should' be wearing. 

What's your favourite red lipstick?

Holly xo

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Ana and thanks for following :) xx

  2. I prefer glossy reds but lately i have been trying corals! I currently use MAC Russian Red lip gloss and i love it. But i have never tried the lipstick!

    Mia ♡ Une Jolie Vie

    1. Ooh I didn't know there was a gloss! I'm just venturing into matte reds now and I'm loving it so far :) xxx

  3. The one from MAC looks pretty.
    xx Stephanie (

  4. I've just picked up Mac Lady Danger and I'm super excited to wear it, I've been after a nice red lipstick for a while and I think this one might be "the" one. :-)

  5. I always have to ask staff at the counter for help when choosing a red lipstick but these tips are great. Thank you :)

    ox Lucy

  6. this is such a useful post! so hard to choose a red that actually suits you and not just the prettiest ;) xoxoxoxx

  7. Red lips are so classic! I have not tried any of the Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks you mentioned in this post, but I have 01 and love it!

    xo, Pareasa
    The FAB Journal

  8. I really love how into detail you went! your blog is really beautiful!
    I'm a new follower could you maybe check out my blog?



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