Aug 15, 2015

The PERFECT Red Lipstick

Siren-Red Lipstick for Warm-toned Gals
For years, I mean YEARS, I have been searching for the perfect red lipstick. I adore lipstick and don't leave home without it. I've been a lipstick fiend ever since I was a kid and playing around with my mother's lipsticks (she is a lipstick fiend too—at 84!). My face may be no great shakes, but b'gosh, I have lips. So why not accentuate them?

As a red-head (whether by nurture or by nature, only my hairdresser knows for sure), I have to be careful, though. One smidge toward the cool side of the red spectrum and, egad—the dreaded FUSCHIA lips phenomenon occurs. Fuchsia is what lipstick that is slightly pink-red turns into if you are unlucky. And fuchsia is enough to make onlookers run screaming for the exit when a red-head sports it. Way better to err on the orange side of the red spectrum and go too warm.

For a fair-skinned redhead to find just the right shade of warm-toned, voluptuous, unafraid red lip product, well, it's taken decades. And believe me, I've sunk untold funds into the search. Just today I plunked down $10 for a red lip pen that looked perfect on my skin, but
then gradually changed to fuchsia/magenta on my lips (as every gal who is seriously into lipsticks knows, the color of your lip skin and your body chemistry both affect the color of your lipstick when it's on. Not like you can return lip products, either.) Now repeat this experience at least once a month for every year I've been wearing lipstick, and you've got some serious bucks—mostly wasted!

So over the years and over the dollars and over the many, MANY dreaded fuschia lips encounters, I have come up with a short, read: tiny, list of the perfect red lipsticks.

Here are a few you can count on the be brilliant reds that will never turn fuschia on you:

Chanel,
Rouge Coromandel, #70. Perfect. Gorgeous. Pefectly gorgeous. The exact red I have always dreamed of. Lights up a red-head's face (see photo of
me wearing it at right). Sure to win you admirers and hangers-on. One challenge, though—it is bright red—unforgiving, not for the shy. To wear in the daytime requires fortitude—or maybe a sheer base of clear lip gloss to make it a bit less opaque. But still—the perfect red!

Besamé Cosmetics,
Red Hot Red. Besamé has got to be the coolest cosmetics company alive today. Fashioned after the glamorous look of the 1940s—when women wore bright red lipstick during the day—unabashedly—with curvy fitted suits, stacked heels, hats, and yes, gloves—in that era, beautiful compacts were IN. And inside those lovely little compacts were bold, vixenish colors. Souffle make-up. Rich, matte lipsticks. The kind of art-compacts you'd be proud to flash in public. Now, finally, a red lipstick for women who do not wear fushcia. For Spring- and Autumn-toned skin. A warm red. A sexy red. Gorgeous. Perfect. Spicy. Scrumptious. Unbelievable. Hot, hot, Red Hot Red! Smells yummy too—a light vanilla with a creamy feel. This is full-coverage, semi-matte lipstick. Not for the faint-of-heart.

M.A.C,
Chili. My spectacular and most beloved everyday warm-toned red lipstick. It's a semi-matte—which I adore—and the right shade of red with a slight brick undertone. It's a more wearable, less screaming red than the two listed above because of the brown in its base. But this is not a matronly shade—far from it. Its sexiness is lucid and luring but there's a hint of 50s glam and fun. Best of all, M.A.C. lipsticks are both long-wearing, do not kiss off easiliy, and are delightfully vanilla scented. When I glide on my M.A.C. Chili, I feel suddenly delicious. All you need, my dear warm-toned sister, is this lipstick, some big sunglasses and sunscreen, and you are ready to roll. Or to be kissed. Or maybe both. If you check out the M.A.C. website, don't be fooled by the online depiction of this shade. Chili is much more scrumptious than it appears there.

Boots No 7,
Stay Perfect Lipstick, Spice, #65. Boots LLC has just come to the States—at least this is the first I've seen of their products. Boots makes a lovely long-lasting lipstick called "Stay Perfect" that will NOT dry out your lips. It glides on, feels silky, and, b'gosh, it lasts. I got my perfect shade of red—an elegant brickish red—for about $10 at Target. Next to M.A.C. Chili, Boots No 7 in Spice is the best everyday red you can find. Looks grand enough for play too, though. Doesn't have the scrumptious vanilla fragrance that M.A.C. has, but it costs less and last longer. The colors are similar too, with Boots No 7 Spice being slightly less vibrant and therefore more wearable.

Cheats for Fuchsia Lip Sufferers
If you already have plenty of pink-red lipsticks and you want to do the best you can to make these work for a Spring- or Autumn-toned coloring, you still have options without spending a fortune. The best thing you can do to compromise is layer colors with your fuchsia lipstick. Since pink is the color you want to neutralize, you need a brown or orange layered on top to move the pink toward the warmer end of the spectrum. Look for beiges, tans, browns, and even oranges. Any of these will neutralize your pinkish lipsticks and make them more appropriate for warm-toned gals. Beiges will dissipate the pink without darkening, brown will shift the pink while darkening it slightly (making lipstick more brick). Orange will warm things up, too. Feel free to experiment. And keep some "adjuster" lipsticks on hand for just this purpose.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love this post. So much, in fact, that I just rushed out into central London to buy three of the lipsticks. I noted from your photo that you have exactly the same hair / skin colour as me and I felt this was going to be money well spent.

(and like you I have wasted ££$$ over the years)

Thanks too for writing about FUSCHIA lips syndrome - I thought it was just me, suffering alone, with a surfeit of £25 lipsticks that make me look scary and of questionable mental stability.

I could never understand the alarming colour change. I asked friends (not carriers of the ginger gene though) and they had no idea what I was talking about.

My quest to avoid FUSCHIA syndrome has led to some catastrophic clashes with orange. Steering away from anything remotely pink toned almost cost me my holiday when I had to get a new passport.

I'd 'treated' myself to Bobbi Brown's Orange shade (the clue was in the name right?) after they discontinued Redwood and I thought it looked ok.

One passport photo later and a realisation that I was going to inflict this orange-toned horror on America's immigration controls (never the easiest of officers to get past anyway) - I ended up having the whole thing redone. (oh the vanity, I know)

These are cool lipsticks. Thanks for the research, sister. I think I like Mac Chili the best.

Can you blog about nude shades? I have a stash of pink / browns that make me look like a morgue-escapee. And another pile of pale corals which make me look like my gran. I'm wearing Bobbi Brown Uber-Pink which does, at least, make me look alive. But suit me? I'm not so sure.

thank you,

Kate

Carolyn Blount Brodersen said...

Kate--I love you, sister! And you bought much finer quality lipsticks than me--after all that fuchsia TORTURE, you SO deserve some nice red bliss!

Since I wrote this post, Boots has changed their formula, and what used to be a warm-toned red has now gone slightly pink. Even slightly pink is too pink for us, right? Well, with M.A.C. Chili, you simply cannot go wrong. And if that's too heavy/opaque, then do a base of lip balm and it will tone the color down.

I have heard that NARS Heat Wave is a "perfect" shade for us too, sister. Will have to try it (their Orgasm blush looks good on us, too--it's somewhere on a peachy side of pink--looks incredibly natural).

Have never done nude blush. I enjoy showing off my lips so if I'm not wearing lipstick, I'm just nuding it. If I'm wearing lipstick, it's a strong red (usually M.A.C. Chili). If you find a nude that works on you and that doesn't make you feel washed out, let me know. I'd be interested in a shade of our natural lip-color, too--I guess a slightly mauvish toned beige.

Thanks so much for writing--great to hear from you!

Anonymous said...

ah thank you for answering! Very exciting and I laughed because the assistant at Nars tried to sell me Orgasm blusher but I had just turned down 'Snog' frozen yoghurt and a salad bar called 'Tossed' (I think the latter is just British slang though) and the fnar fnar sexual innuendo was getting tiresome haha.

It must be my age. (late 30s)

I was going to ask about blusher too - I often get it wrong. I might have to rethink the Orgasmic trip to the Nars counter.

and yes, no pink. Not ever. Not in clothing or make up. No lilac, no pink.

I'm wearing a light slick of Mac Chili with a smudge of Vaseline and even if I do say so myself - looking quite hot haha.

I feel I should offer you my best recommendations too. Lancome Teint Miracle is their new foundation and better than the Chanel one everyone raves about online. (which I've tried too, naturellement) Lancome's makes you look fresh, flawless and dewy.

Never trust the French except in cheese, wine and foundation.

Did you ever try Philip Kingsley haircare? Elasticizer pre-wash treatment and the moisture balancing shampoo and conditioner are incredible. I have got everyone into it.

Tragically, I have tried pretty much every premium brand available on both sides of the Atlantic. I hyperventilate with excitement in American drugstores. Boots has zero charm and allure. Funny their make-up is sold in Target. I love Target - I get irrationally excited in there too. I saw the Spice had a hint of pink but there are people selling the old formulation for £4 on ebay. I already checked it out!

I am a political journalist too btw and it is nice to meet you.


K

Carolyn Blount Brodersen said...

Hi, K,

You are wonderful to write and share your beauty tips--thank you! I checked on the Lancome Teint Miracle--and it does get rave reviews, like you said. I dug a little deeper and learned that it contains the dreaded alumina, which is basically powdered aluminum, the ingestion of which is associated with presenile dementia. I'm pushing 50, so would like to stay away from dementia as long as possible. Now what was I writing about? Kidding.

Love, love, love your line, "never trust the French except for . . ." So wise. So true.

I'll check into Philip Kingsley--always looking for the next big thing in haircare. I did discover one low-brow beauty trick that completely works and costs almost nothing--it's tea tree oil. It's a strong-smelling invigorating oil--something like eucalyptus. When shampooing, add a few drops of tea tree oil to your dollop of shampoo--any brand, doesn't matter--rinse, condition, and rinse as normal. The shampoo washes out enough of the oil to make it NOT oily but leaves enough of the oil to add SHINE to your hair. It works like a dream, I kid you not.

Anonymous said...

Though the posts on the perfect red lipstick were old, I went out yesterday 1/13 and tried M.A.C.'s "Chili". I thought I looked like Jack Nicholson in the "Joker." It is definitely for dressy, night time wear. Can you recommend another red for daytime?
Thanks.

Carolyn Blount Brodersen said...

Loved you comment about the Joker! Har! My experience is different. I wear this lipstick as my everyday shade. Yes, it's matte and rich. I have pale skin and small eyes--but full lips. I get lots of complements on this color. But I understand that lipstick looks different depending on your skin tone and the shape of your face and lips. I might have a fix for you--if the color is right, no need to buy something else. Simply slide on a layer of light lipbalm--chapstick--whatever you have that's clear and not slimy (gloss won't work!). That's layer #1. Then, put on Chili as layer #2. The first layer dilutes the second layer. Voila! A lighter, softer shade of the same. It won't wear as long, but is more apropos for, say, jogging or times when you want to be less noticeable. Otherwise, I think the Body Shop has a lovely orangey-red that is a lighter version of Chili. It's not matte, but it IS less intense. And it's roughly the same color. I don't remember the name of it, but Body Shop does not have that many colors. I think you could find it. Sorry Chili alone didn't work for you.

Natalia said...

Hello,
Thank you for this great blog. I have strong yellow undertones to my olive skin. I am not a redhead but I do suffer from the Fushia lip syndrome. Some of the most beautiful shades like Maybelline ColorSensational Fatal Red go Magenta/ fuschia pink on me. The shade that I bought by accident (I thought it was brown) turned out to be a beuatiful brick red in sunlight. It's called Chambor Geneva's Rouge Plump 701. Out of the shades that you recommend, we only have Chanel and MAC in India. Another one that is recommended for yellow undertones is Lipstick Queen Sinner in Rust but even this one is not available in India. So MAC Chili is next on the shopping list! Thank you so much.

Natalia said...

Hello,
Thank you for this great blog. I have strong yellow undertones to my olive skin. I am not a redhead but I do suffer from the Fushia lip syndrome. Some of the most beautiful shades like Maybelline ColorSensational Fatal Red go Magenta/ fuschia pink on me. The shade that I bought by accident (I thought it was brown) turned out to be a beuatiful brick red in sunlight. It's called Chambor Geneva's Rouge Plump 701. Out of the shades that you recommend, we only have Chanel and MAC in India. Another one that is recommended for yellow undertones is Lipstick Queen Sinner in Rust but even this one is not available in India. So MAC Chili is next on the shopping list! Thank you so much.

Carolyn Blount Brodersen said...

Hi, Natalia, You are awesome to write! Isn't it crazy that it's so hard to find good reds for us warm-toned gals? But I do note that warm reds are coming into vogue now--at least in the US--since the popularity of a tomato red hit fashion magazines not too long ago. Thanks for recommending the Chambor lipsticks--I'd love to give it a try. I do think you will be happy with the MAC Chili--I get compliments on it from time to time. And even though it's bold, if other face makeup is toned down, then it works. Let me know how it goes!

Carolyn Blount Brodersen said...

I don't wear nude shades of lipstick--does anyone have any good suggestions on that for Kate?

Marta Roibás Varela said...

Dior 999 Ara Red...

Carolyn Blount Brodersen said...

Nice! Thanks, Marta--I just looked up your Dior 999 Ara Red and I agree--I think that looks perfect too! Super-red, elegant and sassy--love it!

Jaya Maya said...

L'Oreal Moisture Matte in Flaming Kiss is a nice soft red with enough warmth in it that it doesn't turn pink. It's my every day lipstick. I used to love Revlon's Ravish me Red which is very similar in colour but lacks staying power due to its creaminess.

Jaya Maya said...

L'Oreal Moisture Matte in Flaming Kiss is a nice soft red with enough warmth in it that it doesn't turn pink. It's my every day lipstick. I used to love Revlon's Ravish me Red which is very similar in colour but lacks the staying power due to its creaminess.