I wouldn’t call myself a red lip person. I’ve heard plenty of other women say the same thing: I’m not a red lipstick girl. I’m not a bright lip kind of person. And then there’s the reaction from the men in my life when I’ve tried a new bold colour: “Whoa, that’s different…” or “Oh – did you stop by the beauty counter?” presuming it was the work of an over zealous sales assistant. And then there’s just the looks they’ve given me – eyebrows raised, smirking, considering their next words very carefully so as not to cause an argument. “Like my makeup?” I’ll prod. “It’s bright…” they’ll respond. More an observation than a compliment, in any language.
But most beauty lovers are of the same opinion that we don’t wear makeup for other people but rather for ourselves, and how it makes us feel. I might not consider myself a red lip person, as that conjures up some especially bold, attention grabbing seductrice – or a Taylor Swift styled stage queen, but there are definitely days when I feel like rocking a red lip. It can be uplifting, empowering, and more than anything, fun. For every couple of men in my life who prefer a natural nude pout, there are others who find a Chanel Red the epitome of sex appeal. And for every woman who wouldn’t dare pick up a bright pink, there is another who swipes on an electric fuchsia daily.
Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle, like me, who isn’t a red lipstick person but on occasion is just drawn to the beauty of a bold lip. With the festive season upon us, the makeup look I can’t get enough of is a simple, light and shimmery eyelid paired with a bold, statement lip colour. You don’t have to have the perfect pout or especially plump lips to wear a bold lip. I love to keep the foundation light, add lashings of mascara, and let the lips be the centrepiece. From pinks through to corals and reds, these are my current go-to favourites.
Lancôme L’absolu Rouge cream in 377 O Oui! is a fun, summery, bright pink. It’s a feminine and happy colour that isn’t too pastel that it gives off Clueless vibes, or too 80s-bright that it leans South Beach Miami. The cream texture keeps it from being quite as scary (to the statement lip novice) as some of the more matte choices and this formula is especially comfortable on the lips. If I could only wear one lipstick variety for the rest of my life, I would very likely choose the L’absolu rouge cream. Bold statement, I know.
Similar in comfort level, but just a touch sheerer, is Chantecaille’s Lip Veil in Oleander. This colour looks incredibly electric and gorgeous in the bullet, but swatched it’s not as scary as you’d think. The colour pay off is more a vibrant pink than red on my lips. It pairs especially well with a champagne-gold eyeshadow and is a likely contender for my favourite statement lip product of the year. It feels balmy and hydrating and has a gorgeous shine without being glossy. If your preferences leans more red than pink, check out the shades Protea and Portulaca. The packaging is slimline – everyone loves a magnetic closure – and as with most Chantecaille products, you could choose any Lip Veil shade and be very, very happy.
Staying in the pinks, Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Let’s Go Crazy is a fabulous fuchsia pink – perhaps with a touch more purple to it than my other choices. These lips pencils are an extremely comfortable choice for those who want the look of a matte lipstick, but hate the drying feel that inevitably follows. Once applied, you’ll forget it’s on, and the sharpen-able crayon tip helps with application precision – no separate lip liner needed. If you don’t want a product you have to sharpen, look to Lisa Eldridge’s Skyscraper Rose for another high-impact pink.
Speaking of Lisa Eldridge, when the makeup mastermind released her collection of pink lipsticks, Rainbow Spill was the shade I was most nervous about. It’s a true watermelon pink with hints of neon orange and coral that just screams summer. I definitely reach for this lipstick when I have more colour to my complexion – or have been liberal with the self tan. It’s matte, densely pigmented and utterly captivating. I wouldn’t generally associate this shade with the festive period, but if you’re in the southern hemisphere and celebrating Christmas in the summer, this would be a stunning choice.
When it comes to red lipstick, I honestly believe that there is a red for every person – it is just a matter of finding your red. While orange-reds will look fabulous on some, and deep burgundy reds on others, it is the more blue-based, pinker reds that suit my complexion best and that I feel most comfortable wearing. Whether you’re on the fairer side (read pale) like me or simply like these colours (in which case forget the rules and wear with confidence!), these are two shades that I depend on for a statement red:
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl is a fabulous red that leans a little pink. The texture is a soft matte without feeling powdery and again the crayon tip makes application effortless. If you’re a fan of a Taylor Swift red lipstick look, or have a similar complexion, this is said to be a favourite of hers. Even as a non red lipstick person this red is totally within my comfort zone.
Lastly, my classic red option is a universal favourite; MAC Ruby Woo. It’s the deepest of the list, and the most neutral red – not too pink, not too orange. When I wear this colour I feel all the vintage red lipstick vibes, and yet it’s perhaps my least worn of all the statement lip colours I’ve mentioned. It’s the furthest from my comfort zone, but will still be a staple in my makeup drawer forever. If you want one dependable, flattering red lipstick in your life then Ruby Woo is the lady for the job. A perhaps more luxe version of this classic style red is Lisa Eldridge’s Velvet Ribbon – an incredible statement lipstick that would be especially gorgeous for Christmas Day makeup.
You can read about other lipsticks that I love here. I’d love to hear about your favourite bold lipsticks on Instagram.
Find Lancôme at Mecca and Sephora
Find Chantecaille at Mecca and Space NK
Find Nars at Mecca and Cult Beauty
Find Lisa Eldridge at lisaeldridge.com
Find MAC at maccosmetics.com