Red lipstick is a timeless classic. Liberating, exciting it’s the ultimate power make-up move. And thanks to the ever-change trends on shades of red, there’s a hue out there to suit anyone. I’ve been in a meaningful relationship with red lipstick for decades.
I started wearing red lipstick when I was 15. It was my signature style together with pale or white tinted lids, thick black liquid eye-liner with a flick and long thin lashes. I was in a teenage Marilyn Monroe obsession and spent hours in front of the mirror practicing my steady hand skills to get the line thick and neat. Back then the teenage brands of make-up didn’t do the grown-up reds, they were still in the Heather Shimmer phase. Revlon had the most affordable red but that was the brand your mother bought, so was not trendy in the slightest. Wearing red was viewed as a seductive and brash. I was boringly nicknamed ‘hot lips’ and one of the Irish Catholic mothers of a kid in my class called me a ‘hussy’ to another mother (which in those circles was almost certain to get back to me).
Experimenting with your look without some sort of tag or judgement in a middle class conservative West Sussex town was rare. Robert Smith from The Cure went to my school for Christ’s sake (over a decade before me I hasten to add), his style was probably a combination of his creativity paired with revolting against the banality.
Whether it was some sort of moderate rebellion to wear red lipstick, the look has stayed with me ever since. It’s my ‘go to’ classic for almost any occasion. And now I have 10 different shades, all from MAC – the brand which finally bridged the gap across the generations for style and selection. I’m deeply connected with all my reds. Each one has a special purpose and memory attached, from the first Viva Glam shade I bought when I moved to Brighton 15 years ago, to Lady Danger, the ultimate, ‘I don’t really care what you think about me’ colour and my latest addition, limited edition Barbeque from the Isabel and Ruben Toledo collection.
And if you don’t think you can pull off red, then you’re wrong. No matter your shape of lips or style of hair, there’s a shade out there for you.
My ultimate MAC red selection:
Viva Glam 1 – dark, sultry and serious.
Lady Danger – hello lips, no going back with this one.
MAC Red – an extreme classic. Hollywood siren all the way.
Red lipstick essentials: lip liner brush, tissue for blotting, Lipcote.