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How to Wear Red Lipstick

Home > Everywhere > Health and Beauty | Fashion
by Rayna (subscribe)
Law graduate with a passion for travel, photography and writing. Browse through some of my photography on:
Published December 17th 2012
History, beauty and morality
There is more to red lipstick than what meets the eye. This item of make-up has taken a turbulent historical journey to become what it is now. Once considered the root of all evil, it is now a bold symbol of sophistication (if worn properly).

Lipstick Collection
A collection of red lipsticks

Brief History and Facts

Queen Elizabeth I during her reign in the 16th century wore bright red lipstick and kept the rest of her face pale. This became a trend amongst the upper class women of that era.

Queen Victoria in during her reign in the late 1800's portrayed a much natural light make-up look. Red lipstick was definitely out of the question!

Hitler banned make-up in Germany during World War II, for this reason women in England wore striking red lipstick as an act of defiance.

Red Lipstick is worn by Japanese Geisha. The red lips teamed with pale make-up helps them portray a strong character.

Red Lipstick by Estée Lauder
Estée Lauder red lipstick

Issues of Morality

During the medieval period in Europe red lipstick was very closely associated with Satan and it was even banned by the church.

Red lipstick was encouraged to be worn by service women in the Second World War to boost morality. Red lipstick was used in recruitment posters to demonstrate service women could still be feminine in the hope that they would be encouraged to join.

Throughout history in many countries red lipstick was considered to be worn only by prostitutes. Thanks to the fashion industry nowadays the boundaries have blurred as to 'what type' of women wear red lipstick. Red lips are now very much socially acceptable.

Often associated with power, red lipstick stands out when it is worn. Women have said that they feel elevated when they are wearing it (including me).

So ladies (and gentlemen) if you are inspired and would like to try some red lippy for a day, then read on for some advice.

3 Different Shades of Red Lipstick
Different shades of red lipstick

Beauty Tips; Some Dos and Don'ts

Actresses Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor both made red lipstick fashionable in the 1950's. It is often seen as the classic lip colour. There is almost a cosmetic science behind successfully wearing red lipstick. Here are some handy tips that I have collated:

Do use a teeth whitener such as Pearl Drops or Colgate Optic White.

Don't get the lipstick on your teeth. Wear a top coat such as Maxfactor Lipfinity, this will also help keep the lovely red lipstick off of your clothes.

Do apply red lipstick with a lip brush for an even coverage

Don't forget to wear lip liner to stop the lipstick from bleeding.

Do blot your lips with a bit of tissue.

Don't wear clashing make-up on the rest of your face.

Do try the smokey eyes with red lips combo.

Don't wear clashing coloured clothes.

Do wear nautical colours, have a look at Quba for great examples. Black and white clothes also go perfectly with red lipstick.

Don't forget to moisturise your lips and allow enough time for your lips to absorb the moisture.

Do experiment with shades to find one that suits your skin tone. If you are looking for a pure red shade with no other tones do have a look at Clarins Joli Rouge Lipstick in shade '716 Clarins Red'.

It's fascinating to learn that something so small could have created such a big impact on society. And now it stands defiantly on make-up counters.
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Why? For makeup lovers
Your Comment
A fascinating snippet of history Rayna.
Fortunately my mother disliked using cosmetics so I haven't picked up the habit. Yet :)
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|10685) 1920 days ago
Really interesting and great tips.
by Oxford Explorer (score: 2|655) 1921 days ago
wonderful article. some interesting historical data and handy tips. I love bright red lipstick (Mac) simply because it goes terrifically with my skin tone. now I feel empowered as well ;)
by Joy (score: 3|1881) 1919 days ago
How interesting to get a bit of the history behind it! It doesn't suit me personally but I do like the look.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 2|993) 1918 days ago
Congratulations on getting silver.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|11699) 1897 days ago
Very interesting read. I will be applying some of your do's and don't's when I wear read lipstick next.
by Ms. Samantha (score: 2|362) 1921 days ago
Wonderful article! The history part is fascinating! I'll try your do's and don'ts tips!
by Yui Sakata (score: 1|11) 1870 days ago
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