Ruby Red Lips That Don't Look Ridiculous

I'd love to wear a strong red lipstick, but I'm afraid that I'll look stupid. How is it that some women look so classically amazing and others look absolutely ridiculous with ruby lips?

Psychologically, in the Western world at least, red is recognized as the power color and personifies strength, courage, passion, sacrifice and warning. The symbolism is overt: Stop signs are red; a siren flashes red. That said, donning red lips is possibly the most dramatic ornamental statement a woman can make. Here are some tips:

  • The secret to wearing a strong red is feeling comfortable. In decorating our lips with red, we're calling bold attention to our every pout, bite, lick, frown and smile, so red lips are not for the faint of heart, the shy or the tentative.
  • If you've decided you can carry a "bold" mouth, it'll look best as the focal point. In other words, don't apply tons of eye makeup too. Groom your brows but don't darken them, and touch on just a bit of concealer and mascara.
  • Matte red will work better than gloss, because if the gloss smears, even just a little, you'll risk looking like the loser of a rather vicious brawl.
  • Be aware that there are many shades of red. A pink-red will appear less audacious for light-skinned women than a blue-red. An orange-red is a bit less brazen for darker skin then say, a violet-red.
  • Consider lighting: At an evening affair, for example, where candlelight is the theme, red lips will appear less bold because you'll be sitting in the glow of dimmer lights. At dusk or on a stormy, gray day, bolder tones appear more muted due to the overcast or darkened sky.
  • Keep clothing color in mind. Red is wildly vivid when placed against white, green and yellow (less so against gray), and it seems to work very well against black.
  • In essence, to carry off a bold red lip, you've got to "walk the walk" and "talk the talk." You've got to be feeling red.

Recommended Products:

Product name: Agnes B. Rouge Lipstick in Rouge Agnes
Featuring lip-softening ingredients, this is a pure blue-red, long-wearing, statement-making shade.
Price: $12.50

Product name: Jane Lip Hugger Lipstick in Best of Berries
It may be hard to believe, but this rich, dark red-pink lipstick truly generates a matte texture from a moisturizing, creamy base, and you can't beat the price.
Price: $3.49
Available: Drugstores nationwide

Product name: L'Oreal Volume Perfect Re-Shaping Lip Colour in Sumptuous Scarlet
Developed for shapelier and fuller-looking lips, this product offers a base coat featuring collagen fillers on one end and color on the other.
Price: $9.99
Available: Drugstores nationwide

Product name: Stila Lipstick in Cleopatra
A vivacious blue-red, outstanding against fair skin. It's creamy, but it stays on and doesn't bleed.
Price: $16.50

Product name: Shu Uemura Lipstick in 148
This airy, light, smooth-textured red-pink actually has the texture of lotion, yet the color stays on beautifully, and Shu Uemura's lipsticks have a fresh, delicate floral scent.
Price: $20
Available: 888-540-8181

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