Who could forget Hollywood beauties like Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in the great burlesque masterpiece ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’? And which girl has not secretly dreamed of sporting these seductive looks, which were every housewife’s paradigm in the 50s?

While few of our modern day pin-ups have made red lipstick their trademark, retro beauties such as Sophie Ellis-Bextor or burlesque star Dita von Teese show us how to be current yet beautiful in blood red. If you want to take a look at some of the more current faces in Hollywood watch the ‘Mona Lisa’s Smile Trailer’ on you tube and you will see that no matter what lip shape you have you can dare to show off extravagant red lips.

But how do we pull it off in today’s era of nude, translucent, extra silky, wet and moisture rich lip balms, gloss’ and shines?

The History Behind Red Lipstick

Most of us know that lipstick or lip colouring goes back a long way. While in ancient Egypt women tended to poison themselves occasionally by tanning their lips redder, early beauty queen Cleopatra was already able to highlight her lips with red pigment from crushed beetles. These make up undertakings may have still been partially ritual but soon became a measure of enhancing a woman’s natural beauty until the church ruled it to be a sign of Satan in medieval times.

Luckily, the unique fashion sense of Queen Elizabeth I made bright red lips the mode of her times. But the real red lipstick mass movement of modern times took place after the Second World War, when Hollywood beauties could not be seen without it.

What Changed?

Admittedly, bright red is a very symbolic and challenging colour choice. Refraining here from going into detail of the possible subconscious psychological signalling that might be achieved by wearing blood red lipstick, we all know for a start that bright red might not suit every skin tone.

Many fashion moons and cosmetic advancements have brought us the ‘natural beauty’ factor and endless more or less ‘inspired by nature colour choices’ to blush our lips with. Undeniably, this gave girls a lot more confidence and choice in using a lip colour, which would match their skin tone, outfit or just highlight their features.

Hardly any woman can be found nowadays without the quintessential gloss tube in her pocket for the ‘effortless translucent’ look. It has been decades now, that we perceive bright red lipstick synonymous with ‘faded beauty of older vintages’.

How To Pull It Off In Style

It is in fact cosmetic advancements that make it possible to be daring and confident with red lipstick, whatever skin you are in. It is necessary to be aware that applying red lipstick takes more time than slipping on one of the many glossy products. A mirror, a few tools and preparation are necessary.

1) Use red lip liner to outline your true lip shape (don’t over draw, as you will be emphasizing your lips sufficiently with your choice of colour).

2) Roughly fill in your lips with the lip liner to give your lipstick colour a base.

3) Now use a small lip brush to brush on the actual red lipstick colour. This is the most important part, because bright red lipstick is not just bright red lipstick! Today you have the choice between a multitude of intense red shades and you will be able to find the perfect one to match your skin tone. Read more about this step in the paragraph below.

4) Keep the rest of the make up fairly basic. Go for a pale powdered facial make up look and subtle blusher, as the red in the lipstick will make the blusher more visible. Use either only mascara to highlight your eyes or go for the extravagant 60s eyeliner line of Audrey Hepburn, if you feel brave.

Which Lipstick Is Best?

As mentioned previously bright red is a challenging colour, as it has to be carefully matched to the skin tone. However, this is definitely possible today. One makeup producer who has made this her passion and dedication is Lipstick Queen Poppy King. She has made the 50s ruby red lips her trademark and has devoted brilliant true lipstick product lines to achieve exactly that Hollywood Glamour Look. For the user’s benefit she added moisturizing components and up to date colour choices but is able to preserve the matte yet glam impression.

Take a look at your skin tone and then match with a bright red containing an equivalent undertone:

1) Very dark skin – choose a classic deep red

2) Olive, yellowish or orange tanned skin tone – look out for golden or coral red. Some olive skin types also go well with a purple or aubergine dark red

3) Fair cool complexion – match with blue or pinkish red.

You might even have a more detailed insight into the colour scheme that matches your skin tone (i.e. winter, summer, autumn and spring) which will give you an even wider choice in reds with different undertones.

The advantage of today’s plethora of bright red lipstick shades is that anybody can find the perfect shade that will supply the elegance Hollywood’s divas have portrayed in the past. If you are interested in some more classic make up tips, like the seductive smoky eye look for example, have a look at the Yahoo!Xtra shopping guide: Health and Beauty for more hints and recommendations.

See this helpful video on How To Create Ruby Red Lips…..

How To Wear Red Lipstick, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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