Thursday, October 9, 2008

Red Lipstick

I'm obsessed with red lipstick. Years ago, my husband drew caricatures of our family and my portrait of course sported huge red lips. Although I don't wear it daily (like the fabulous Gwen Stefani) I own an unnecessary variety of red lipstick tubes but I can't stop wanting more. I'm always searching for that perfect 40's red lipstick--I thought I had found it about 10 years ago (Estee Lauder's Silent Red)--but if course it was almost immediately discontinued and so the pursuit continues. That's not to say there aren't a ton of great variations out there.

Whenever I see a shade I like in a movie or a tv show, I google frantically trying to track down the color. That's how I found my current favorite, MAC's Viva Glam. Apparently Cate Blanchett wore it while portraying Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator; when I saw her in the movie I immediately thought: perfect red! This is the most versatile red I own; I particularly like wearing it with clothing in camels and creams.

Most recently I discovered recommendations from the fabulous Laura Bennett from Project Runway Season 3. Remember her? Perfectly groomed at all hours: smooth, neat hair and a constant slash of red lipstick. According to iVillage, she uses the long-lasting variety: Covergirl Outlast Smoothwear in Cabernet #855 or Maybelline Superstay in Wine #745. I tried a long-wear lipstick when they were first available but the dryness was an obstacle I couldn't overcome and I threw it away. I now read that the formulations have improved and the dryness is less of a factor--I think I'll be giving these two a try in the near future.

Other women who Rock Red Lipstick:
Gwen Stefani: "Gash" by Urban Decay and "Viva Glam" by MAC.
Dita von Teese: MAC's Classic Dame or Russian Red

One evening a few summers ago, when I was supposed to be studying for the state bar exam but was instead finding ridiculous tasks to waste time, I decided to photograph myself wearing every red in my lipstick wardrobe, thus definitively demonstrating which was my "perfect" red. If I was less vain I would share these pictures but they turned out looking pretty much like you would expect a person studying for an impending bar exam to look like: glazed eyes, limp hair, sallow skin and a unnaturally vivid grimace. Plus the light was bad too. So no decision was made, and I continue to wear all my colors and desire more!

I also have:
MAC's Russian Red. Another great basic, but more vibrant than Viva Glam. Elegant with black and white.
Chanel in Crystal Red and Red Red. Discontinued colors, I think. I love Chanel colors, but the lipstick smells--supposedly like roses, but I'm not a fan. I don't wear the Red Red anymore, but the Crystal Red is bright and clear and goes well with equally red clothes.
Sue Devitt in Great Australian Bight. I'm only listing this because I purchased it based on the recommendation of people on MakeUpAlley, but I didn't like it. I found the color too dark but, more importantly, the texture was very drying. I should probably just throw it away.

My most recent purchase was MAC's Ruby Woo. I think I caved on the Ruby Woo because of Jolie Nadine's post here. Previously, I had managed to convince myself that MAC's Russian Red, which I already had worn for years, was sufficient. But it wasn't too hard to change my mind!

Colors that I am currently coveting:
Chanel Hydrabase Creme Lipstick in Coco Red. Last fall I was shopping in Saks and a Sales Associate was wearing this color. She looked incredibly glamourous, although she applied it very thickly. As a librarian, I'd use a lighter hand.
Chanel Hydrabase Creme Lipstick in Fire. Remember the magazine Shop from a few years back? One of their make-up spreads featured this color and it's been on my wish-list since, although I've not yet tried it in person.
Bésame Enchanting Lipstick in Red Hot and Bésame Red. Has anyone tried this? The packaging is completely "enchanting" and totally 40s. Here's how they describe the colors:
  • Red Hot Red: "Bright and bold, a bit warmer than besame red, and marilyns favorite."
  • Bésame Red: "True red, cooler, not warm. like a navy red, bright and vibrant."
  • There's also Noir Red, which is tempting: "Darkest red, very deep berry shade. great on dark skin and on light skin for a bold look."
Julie Hewitt. The reason I've never bought a Julie Hewitt red is that it is impossible for me to choose! Rouge noir?! Coco noir?! Femme noir?! Belle noir?! My God, they're all so beautiful! I could buy the six "noir" shades in a gorgeous box for $100. But that seems a little decadent. At least that's what I tell myself.
I need to just buy these, even though they're probably, to the naked eye, completely identical to one of the colors currently in my collection. So I don't "need" them. Right?

Red Lipsticks really show up any dryness or flakyness on your lips, so I wear Aquaphor or Smith's Rosebud Salve under my lipstick. Additionally, the November Lucky recommends a couple of lip scrubs/balms:
  • Einstein Lip Therapy Dynamic Duet
  • Clarins Extra-Firming Lip & Contour Gentle Exfoliation and Extra-Firming Lip & Contour Balm.
  • June Jacobs Lip Kit
I've never used these, though they sound useful. Any reviews on these products? Any other recommendations out there?

I always use a lip liner with Red Lipstick (Chanel Le Crayon Lèvres in Nude) and apply with a brush/blot/re-apply.
Addendum: Like the beauty editors always dictate, I wear a very neutral eye with Red Lipstick. Lately, I've been into the Lauren Conrad look, with barely-there shadow (I use Lancome's Filigree) and black eyeliner on top (MAC's fabulous Fluidline in Blacktrack).


Anonymous said...

LOVE this post! The image of you procrastinating with all those lipsticks and a camera had my laughing out loud!

And I commend you for having the confidence to wear your reds...I've tried it once or twice over the years but always feel too self conscious and wipe it off right away. Plus I find that feathering is a real problem for do you keep if from escaping to territory surrounding your lips?

I have found a shade that I love, however, and wish I had the courage for. It's a chubby, creamy pencil that Nars does in "Cruella". It goes on smoothly with a matte finish. To punch it up I layer Nars lipgloss in Bloodwork over top...but then like I said I take one look in the mirror and get scared, scrub it all off, and slick on some clear gloss. I'm a wimp, I know!

Check out the NARS pencils here---wouldn't it be fun to be the person who comes up with the names for each shade?

CashmereLibrarian said...

Fun comment, Citysage! I haven't tried any NARS lip pencils, but they look gorgeous as do most NARS products. I do wear NARS lipstick in Dolce Vita (I like it with a coat of NARS lipgloss in Turkish Delight on top) for a nice, classic pink look. I also recommend NARS lipgloss in Scandal if you want to try a little red and avoid the heavy matte look. In fact I'm wearing it today with NARS eyeshadow in Barbuda. Gosh I guess I could go on and on about NARS products!
Using a lipliner seems to help with the feathering. And I think some brands stay put better than others.

Rachel said...

I wish I were brave enough for the red lipstick! I've only worn it a couple of times, for 1940s events, and I've always loved it. Finding the right shade has always been an obstacle for me, so maybe I'll make another attempt after reading this post!

Absolutely Unique said...

Hi, I just discovered your blog and I love it! Had fun reading about red lipstick!

Petunia said...

I have also spent many days shopping in pursuit of the perfect red! And I still have my precious tube of half-melted Estee Lauder "Perfect Silent Red"!!
Lately I really like Chanel's Rouge Allure Line, especially # 08 "Brilliant".

CashmereLibrarian said...

Hi and Welcome Absolutely Unique! Petunia, you continue to be so fabulous: you both hoard Silent Red and you feed my addiction (mental note: add Chanel "Brilliant" to must-have list)...

Sara Christine said...

I am only brave enough to wear Revlon Shiny Sheers in Cherry Pop. Red lips make such a bold statement! I only wear it when I'm feeling uber-confident. Great post!

pve design said...

yes to red lips, and a spray of some nice smelling fragrance.... nice to come home to or to go out with!

Petunia said...

You totally need to go for it and get the iPhone! I am in awe of it right now--it is so perfect. Calls are crystal clear and it is a fun toy to boot. Get it!!!

Sea Angels said...

Goodness what a gorgeous girly post...I truly love it, I must save this and read it at my leisure, and inwardly digest...I have never made it to lipstick...especially RED wow!!!I'm just the wrong colouring...yellow skin..reddy blonde hair, greeny eyes, but I have just loved, really loved your post. I'm so glad you visited glad.
Have a great week.
Hugs Lynn xx

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Hmmm... me, too. It must be either the classic Hollywood thing or an unspoken passion for the backup band in the Robert Palmer "Addicted to Love" video.

Maybe I'll give one of the Chanel versions you mentioned as a gift to Mrs. E. . She's always worn their perfume... .

{this is glamorous} said...

You're a complete wealth of red lipstick information! So many great ones to try -- will try the MAC ones first, as I do like Gwen's shade. So difficult to find the perfect one, especially since I'm still so attached to lipgloss as opposed to lipstick.

vicki archer said...

Love, love red lips! The only solution when pressed for time and the only solution for real glam, Actually Bobbi Brown do a great red - has a slight tinge of brown to it, not too bluey purple and very kind on the less 'youthful' skin. (this girl searches high and low for the exact shade too!)

Thank you for stopping by French Essence and your lovely comment - so happy to have found you. xv

lady jicky said...

I am a rose pink girl ( I love red but have a small mouth so I look like a kewpie doll) .
You would be surprised how hard it is to find a great rose pink at the moment as they seem to be "out of fashion".

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I, like some of the other ladies who have commented, am terribly shy when it comes to red lipstick. I always feel like my lips are too big to wear it (not that they are of Angelina Jolie proportions or anything- it's just probably all in my head).

I did love your tip on wearing the rosebud salve lip balm before applying lipstick. This is something that I have done for a while... I feel like it softens the color... I go between the rosebud salve and Kiehl's lip balm.

Great blog by the way!

Mom x 2 said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog!

I love this post - I'm not necessarily a red lipstick maven, but I LOVE lipstick and I have made it my mission in life to find the perfect shade (I'm blonde and very fair).

Just an FYI, the November issue of Vogue has Reese Witherspoon on the cover and since she's the spokesperson for Avon, she is wearing their products in the photos. She's also got bright red lips on the cover photo. The lipstick is called Pro to Go Lipstick and the shade is Party Rouge. In a photo inside the magazine, she is wear Avon's Regal Red. If I thought I could pull it off, I'd try it - she has the same coloring as me, but she's so much more glam.

Great blog!

Leigh said...

Awesome post. I heart Russian Red, personally.