How to wear red lipstick (at every age)
Red lipstick is chic, sexy, dramatic, empowering and the classic choice for sex bombs, supermodels and CEOs alike. My own red journey started in September 2021, when I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. It was a devastating shock, and I put on a brave face by picking up the brightest, reddest lip colour I had to hand (Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso). I wore red lipstick a lot over the following year – for everything from hospital appointments to going to the ballet. My bright lips gave me strength and confidence. Red made my pale, hollow-eyed face come to life and the simple act of putting on a slash of unapologetic scarlet felt like a defiant f***-you to cancer. Now that I’m (hopefully) better, I still wear red when I want to feel uplifted. The moral of all this? If a 58-year-old-woman going through chemo can wear red lipstick, so can you.
Red requires smooth, dewy lips. Exfoliate if flaky; use balms or a lip treatment for dryness. Choose waxier products (not greasy balms) which will help the colour adhere, not smear. This, or a lip liner as an overall undercoat, will help prevent lipstick feathering into tiny wrinkles.
Pick your texture. Ultra-matte lipsticks can be unforgiving and drying. I prefer velvet textures, which have a slight sheen. If you find full red scary, blot your lip until the colour is barely there, or opt for a buildable balm or sheer gloss.
Find your best shade. Basically, you need a lipstick that compliments your skin’s undertones. So, blue reds (pink and mauve tones) flatter cool skin tones. Warm reds (orange and coral shades) suit skin with warm undertones. Dark, light and olive skin tones can opt for a proper pillarbox red.
Like a superstar. Christy Turlington, 54, pairs a bright, glossy red lip with glowing, peachy skin and lightly mascaraed lashes; a look that works equally well with jeans or on the red carpet. Julianne Moore, 62, recently told Vogue that (for evening) she teams brown mascara with a fresh face, dewy mauve cream blush, tapping on Hourglass’ Unlocked Satin Crème Lipstick in vibrant ‘Red 0’ for an undone look with oomph and glamour.
10 Ravishing Reds
Maybelline Color Sensational Made For All Lipstick in Ruby for Me is a satin-textured, classic red created to suit most skin tones and makes teeth look super-white. £7.99. Red For Me is more orange/warm-toned. £7.99.
Rouge Dior 999 is an excellent, easy-to-wear neutral red that comes in various textures. £37.
While Velvet Ribbon is a beautiful classic red by superstar make-up artist Lisa Eldridge. It’s velvet finish that offers a slight sheen, yet is creamily hydrating. If you prefer a warmer tone, Velvet Morning is a bright orange/red that is ‘the ultimate pick me up shade.’ Both £27.
Studio 10’s Wake Up & Glow Lip & Cheek Tint in EmpoweRED Poppy is a pink-toned red – shot through with a core of balm – that’s easy to wear. £25.
Leah Hardy is a health and beauty journalist and new That’s Not My Age contributor.
Photography: Sarah Brick. Earrings, Carousel.