Red lipstick was, until recently, something of an extravagance. There was, undeniably, something quite formal about it in the main. But where it used to be reserved for red carpets and award ceremonies, it seems the crimson tide has turned.
No longer do celebrities cite lipgloss and mascara as their running-to-the-shops make-up; these days it’s not uncommon to see an off-duty celeb headed for an early morning java-jolt wearing nothing but a fire engine red lip.
Maybe Gwen Stefani is at the root of the trend that is reaching critical mass. Rarely seen without a statement red lip whether in red carpet garb or sports gear, she was the style-signpost that gave the green light to the ‘red goes with everything’ trend we’re seeing right now.
Celebrities can’t get enough of them. Just recently we’ve seen Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Roberts, Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow set aside their favoured glossy nudes and reach for the potent red. All we need is for Kate Middleton to join the rouge crew and red lipstick sales will go into total meltdown.
Max Factor Make-Up Artist Caroline Barnes says advances in lipstick are the reason why red has become all the more wearable in recent years: “Textures, formulas and pigmentation have really progressed. They are denser with a strong colour pigment, and balmy in texture that grips to the lips and doesn’t slip.” A ruby red lip, says Caroline, “is so popular because it’s easy to apply and adds that instant touch of glamour to any look.”
However undone it may look there are some tricks to nailing the red trend, says Revlon Global Artistic Director Gucci Westman: “It’s all about keeping the skin very sheer, luminous, and fresh looking — don’t use a lot of powder or foundation. Try to make it all about the eyes and lips, leaving the skin super fresh and natural. The contrast needs to be there.”
Finding a red lipstick is a notoriously tricky affair, with deeper reds flattering one skintone and yellow and blue based reds favouring others. Make-up artist Bobbi Brown has a fool-proof guide for finding a signature shade: “A red lipstick in a shade that looks good on your face when you are wearing absolutely no make-up is the one for you. This is the magic colour that will make your skin, hair and eyes look their best.”
If you’re new to a red lip or just a bit wary of something too bright, now is the perfect time to experiment. Winter outfits are screaming for a bit of colour and the party season is the best excuse to explore the more dangerous end of the lipstick spectrum.
GTG’s RED EDIT:
To assist you on your quest to find your new statement lip, we’ve searched far and wide for the six best on-trend signature shades to suit every taste and every skin tone. Here are our top picks of the best red lipsticks, glosses and stains: