“You know a woman means business when she puts on red lipstick.”- Unknown
When I was a little girl, my Mom had a lipstick shade called Cherry Jubilee. It was a vibrant purple/red shade from Avon. I would sneak and try on this lipstick ( I was NOT allowed to wear makeup at all as child or teen) and pose in the mirror with a fake cigarette. When I started wearing makeup, I was always drawn to red lipstick, it just screamed sophistication and that I was finally a grown-up. As a little Black girl raised in the church, I always heard that red lipstick was for whores, which is ridiculous. That didn’t deter me at all, in fact, that made me want to wear it more. Red lipstick is my mood booster, it’s what I put on when I need to get s*it done. It brings my look together and adds just the right oomph to any outfit or occasion.
It took me many, MANY years to find the right shade for me. I had more than my share of red lipstick mishaps (Revlon Cherries in the Snow, anyone?) But once I did find the shades that best suit my skin tone I felt even more confident about stepping out in a bold red lip. I own more than my share of shades, I have more red in my collection than any other colors. As a makeup artist, I’ve had to convince more than one client that there is a red lipstick shade that is perfect for them. So many women, especially women of color, shy away from red lipstick because they don’t think it looks good on them, or that it’s too bold, etc. In talking to some clients I learned that they were taught the same things about red lips that I was, Black women just don’t do that. Let me tell you, that is misinformation on SO many levels. Black women can and should rock red lipstick. We look so damn good in it, our skin and undertones compliment red so well. It’s like red lipstick was made for us.
I’ve been wearing some of the same shades of red for years now. Below I’ll list my top three shades and why I love them. I could list more, but we would be here all day!
First up is the red lipstick that you will need to pry from my hands before I’ll ever stop wearing it. Maybelline Red Revival is my PERFECT red shade. I absolutely love it, I call it my “Etta James red”. The color reminds me of an old Hollywood starlet, think Dorothy Dandridge as Carmen, classic but with a kick. It’s blue-based, so again, it looks amazing on every skin tone. I’ve gone through so many tubes of this, I’ve lost count. It’s a satin finish and pairs lovely with a bright red or neutral lip pencil. Maybelline no longer sells this direct from its website, but thankfully it’s still in stores such as target and retails for about $5.99.
Next up is a liquid lipstick by Coloured Rain called Cherry Blossom. This color was recommended by a fellow creative about three years ago, and I was not too keen on liquid lipsticks. However, when I finally decided to purchase it, I could see what the hype is all about. The color is absolutely divine. This is a blue-based red, meaning it looks good on every skin tone. Seriously, I’ve never seen anyone look bad in this shade, it’s just that fabulous. This retails on their website for $17.00
Lastly is a shade by Wet-n-Wild called Stoplight Red. Not only is this a beautiful, vibrant shade of red, but it is extremely affordable. This retails for $2.99 on their website and also at most drug stores. This color is a great dupe for MAC’s Ruby Woo. You can find it here: www.wetnwildbeauty.com/mega-last-lip-colour.html
I don’t foresee my love of red lipstick ever ending. In fact, I’m sure I’ll be the fly silver fox auntie with the red lips and cleavage at the family functions. If you’re reading this and tend to shy away from red lipstick, I encourage you to give it a try. If you need help finding a shade, I’ll be glad to assist. You need at least one red lip in your makeup collection that makes you feel your best. Trust me on this, red lipstick makes everything better.