5 Red Lipsticks For Scaredy Cats

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick. ~Gwyneth Paltrow  

Want to feel chic and sophisticated? In control? Want all eyes on you? To make a grand entrance? Then choose RED!  A red lip is the quintessential standard of beauty, allure and sexiness. I adore the look of a strong red lip it literally portrays strength, confidence and power. The woman’s equivalent of a man’s red “power tie”!

I wanted to know more about this passionate, rich, and vibrant color so I did some research. Red lips have fascinated men and women alike since 3,000 BCE. History tells us that ancient Egyptians used henna to paint their lips. Then, for a time, lipstick was considered only to be worn by witches–no doubt this was a man’s perception. In 1770, the British Parliament passed a law condemning lipstick, stating that “women found guilty of seducing men into matrimony by a cosmetic means could be tried for witchcraft.” Stupid men. It’s said that in that in the 1800s, Queen Victoria publicly declared makeup impolite. It was viewed as vulgar and something that was worn only by actors and prostitutes. Makeup took a backseat, and paleness became vogue for almost a century. Gosh, Vicky lighten up!

During the 1920’s and the “flapper” rage, lipstick, especially red lipstick was being worn again although in certain circles it was beleived to be for bad girls only.  In the 1930’s, thakns in part to the movie industry, lipstick and makeup came back into favor. During World War II it was almost considered a woman’s patriotic duty to wear makeup and to always be presentable and beautiful. Elizabeth Arden actually created a red lipstick to coordinate with the uniforms of American women serving in the armed forces. Both Miss Arden and Helena Rubinstein opened their first salons in the 30’s and makeup would never be unpopular again.

Many of us when thinking of lip lipstick think of several iconic women in history whose red lips were a signature look–Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor and more recently Gwen Stefani. 

Unfortunately, I feel self conscious wearing a bright red lip. I become a wallflower–know, I know hard to believe for an attention ho/drama queen like me! After more research and a little trial and error, I’ve found some fabulous sheer red choices for easing into red lips for you scaredy cats like me.

Kate Spade Supercalifragilipstick! in Adventurous ($24)

For Kate Spade’s first foray in the world of beauty, she wisely teamed up with Poppy King aka The Lipstick Queen. A winner all round. The packaging is elegant and whimsical at the same time. Packaged in a hot pink box, the gold tube has Supercalifraglipstick! written in pink on one side and “Pucker Up’ on the other as well as the Kate Spade logo on the end of the cap. The tube pops up similar to the Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick case does, however, after you push the end, you must also unscrew it to get at the lipstick. It can be a bit cumbersome but not enough to prevent me from repurchasing. Adventurous Red is a very easy to wear sheer red with a smooth moisturizing formula. There are currently only four shades available at Kate Spade boutiques and katespade.com.

Ballet Russe is from the Czarina Collection. From the Three Custom website: This shade captures the essence of the superb Russian ballet historically known for its vitality and grandeur.

I’m in love with this lipstick! It has the consistency of a balm: highly emollient and moisturizing without the waxy feel–it literally melts into your lips. The shade is more of a pinky/red on my pale lips and it is simply a delight to wear. Since Ballet Russe is sheer, you can build the intensity–one swipe for a I’ve-just-eaten-a-bowl-of-cherries or deeper for a more intense red. This little gem stays in my makeup bag all winter to prevent chapped lips and look glam simultaneously.

 Dior Addict Ultra Gloss in Little Red Dress ($27)

Okay, I’m cheating a smidge by including a gloss–but just look at it! This gorgeous, highly pigmented yet sheer true red gloss has micro fine shimmer to add dimension. Being a gloss, you can vary the application for your desired intensity. Little Red Dress is perfect for those holiday parties or for whenever you want to look a little extra glamorus and get noticed. This is going to be my go-to red lip for the holidays– it’s subtle yet striking.

 Lipstick Queen in Medieval ($20)this is the lipstick that started my sheer red semi-obsession. It is very sheer, more a tint really so everyone can wear it. Medieval has a balm-like texture but leaves behind a bit of a stain and not a ring around your lipss–how refreshing! If you want or need more color, it definitely be layered underneath something brighter. Packaging is a hefty red metal tube w/the Lipstick Queen logo. I think what separates Medieval from other sheer reds is that it works on all skin tones. A good choice for tasting the red lipstick ‘Kool-Aid’. Lipstick Queen is available at Space NK, QVC and lipstickqueen.com

Tarte LipSurgence in Lust ($24) –It’s no secret I’m a HUGE fan of Tarte LipSurgence lip stains. Lust is a bright but sheer red with a smooth glossy finish. All LipSurgence lipsticks have a slight mint scent and flavor which I enjoy. They are also supposed to plump lips but I really don’t see much evidence of that. While not exactly what I would call long wearing, Lust is a lipstick/gloss hybrid and fairly moisturizing. The chubby sticks are easy to use and don’t require sharpening.

All these are fantastic choices for your first venture into the world of confident, sexy red lips! Go red and knock ’em dead!

L to R: Kate Spade Adventurous Red, Three Custom Color Ballet Russe, Dior Little Red Dress, Lipstick Queen Medieval, Tarte Lust

If you’re not a big chicken like me, PinkSith is doing an awesome series on red lipstick too!

There is no more dramatic accessory than a perfect lip. It has the power to define a woman’s whole look. ~Tom Ford