NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
Give a girl the right lipstick and she can conquer the world. Here’s how to find your forever hue
Defiant, passionate and unashamedly self-assured. There’s something about red that no other colour can evoke. Whether retro or rebellious, classic or ‘come hither’, it commands attention and can elevate any look. By the same token, it’s also a shade which many find daunting. But, like the little black dress of the makeup world there really is a red lipstick for everyone; all it takes is a little trial and error and a whole lot of conviction.
‘I truly believe that there’s a red for every person and every occasion,’ says makeup artist Lisa Valencia. As for finding ‘the one’? Every expert we spoke to were of the opinion that the right red for you is quite simply the one that makes you feel good. ‘I’ve always said, never worry about what colours are supposed to work with which skin tone – even I get confused by that,’ says Lisa. ‘If a red lip feels right then it generally will be right.’
That said, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a few pointers to help you narrow down your search, skin tone isn’t a bad place to start. As a very general rule, warm skin tones work well with orangey reds while cool skin tones suit reds with a blue hue to them. And contrary to popular belief, undertone has nothing to do with how light or dark your skin is; all skin colours can be either cool or warm. A good trick is to hold a bright white towel against your skin to try and determine whether your skin looks more red (cool) or yellow (warm).
However, as Lisa points out, finding the red for you is also about the effect you want to project and how much you want the colour to ‘pop’. If you’re having a hard time stepping into red, opt for a more sheer, diffused application, patting the colour on with your finger rather than applying straight from the bullet which lends a punchier stamp of colour.
‘I prefer to focus more on texture; if you’re feeling bold go for a matte red and if you still need a bit of convincing, then go for a wash of red that has been mixed with a lip balm,’ she advises. To help you through this rite of passage into red, we’ve selected the ten shades that flatter absolutely every skin tone from classic crimsons to rich russets.
Makeup: Emma Miles
Hair: Tomi Roppongi
Photographer: Anya Holdstock