I must admit that I’ve never been great at applying my own makeup. Don’t ask me to try a ‘smoky eye’ or a ‘cat eye’ – neither ends up looking right. And I find the French woman’s ‘no makeup look’ just plain hard.
But the one thing I can do is a perfect red lip.
A French classic, seen regularly on the streets of Paris, red brightens the face like nothing else. And a fabulous red lip doesn’t need much else in terms of makeup. A good base and lightly made up eyes and you look polished and good to go. Ready for anything, day or night.
It took me years of practice but now I find wearing perfect red lipstick easy. And I believe that anyone can master this French staple with just a few basic tips.
- Start with lips that are in good condition. Red obviously draws attention so smooth lips are a must. Choose another colour if your lips are dry and chapped.
- Choose your right red. To be honest, this is the only trick to wearing a red lip – you can’t just choose any old red. I know that if I try anything brick toned I just look dreadful and can’t get it off my lips fast enough. For a red to look good on me, it must have a blue base. There was one piece of advice that helped me sort out which red was best for me. In the daylight, look at the veins in your wrists – if they look bluish go for a blue base. If they are greenish, go for an orange based or brick red. The assistants at makeup counters can then point you in the right direction.
- Use a lip brush for the first application. Using your lip brush, line your lips first then colour in the gaps. Blot, then repeat. Blot again. Voila – the perfect red lip. You’ll note that I don’t use any primers, liners or top coats – but that’s entirely a matter of personal preference.
There are heaps of red lipsticks out there – every brand has at least one – but here are my favourite blue based reds:
- Icon by Hourglass. More a stain than a true lipstick, this is my current favourite. Once applied, it doesn’t budge.
- Mise à Mort by Serge Lutens. This one is smaller and more expensive than your average lipstick. But the texture is just right and it is packaged in a cute hexagonal case. This lipstick is perfect for your cocktail bag.
- Heart by Bobbi Brown.
You might also like to try Ruby Woo by Mac or Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate. These lipsticks don’t work for me but I know others of different colouring who swear by them.
By the way, I love shopping for red lipsticks in Paris…and you can do worse than starting your search in the cosmetics department of Le Bon Marché pictured above.
Do you love a perfect red lip? Do you have a favourite shade of red lipstick? If so, please share in the comments below.
Until next time – au revoir.