Wednesday, September 16, 2009

That 80s red lipstick....

I have a past as a part time promo model, meaning I have been dressed up as anything from Mona Lisa to sexy alien to Janice Dickinson lookalike to 60s gogo girl, handing out gifts and talking to people on the streets of NYC. Sound horrible? Oh, yes indeed. About three years ago I worked the "Go Red For Women Day", being decked out in an ill-fitting red Victoria's Secret coat (that I did not get to keep) and handing out bright red lipsticks to women who looked like they were old enough to start worrying about heart disease. However, those damn lipsticks were hard to get rid of... most 30+ New York working women are pretty stylish and turned down the freebie, deeming the shade as "way too 80s". And you know what, I was completely with them! I would rather have died than worn that tacky Madonna lipstick myself!

Now, however, that bright red shade seems to be back. I've noticed lately when I'm in someone's makeup chair that more and more artists love to put a bright red lip on me.... and every time I open a magazine there seems to be 80s red in abundance! On the left is the September '09 subscriber cover of ELLE Sweden (note that gorgeous fuchsia Chanel too while you're at it), and on the right a runway look at Alexander McQueen and behind the scenes at Giorgio Armani, respectively. I'd say don't try the McQueen lips at home...

But how DO you do it at home, anyway? I'm a lipgloss girl and barely own any lipsticks at all. However, I recently decided it's time to start experimenting a little more... so I picked up a few tubes, went crazy in front of the bathroom mirror and compiled this little checklist:

1) Don't go drugstore! To avoid smudging and a tacky look overall, go for a brand name: I like Chanel, NARS and Dior.

2) Keep your hair, nails and the rest of your makeup in check! No crazy hair, dark nails or smokey eyes, unless you're a goth chick or being made up for the runway or a photo shoot, where everything definitely goes....

3) Don't forget the liner!
Bleeding lipstick looks horrible, so do use a liner. It should be neutral colored, typically just a tad darker than the natural color of your lip (MAC Spice is a favorite!).

4) Blend different shades for a better result! Take note from the MUAs - I have almost never seen an artist slather one shade of lipstick on me straight from the tube. Use a lip brush and apply from the center and out to avoid an overly made up look, and do experiment with different blends of color to see what compliments your skin tone the most.

Also, needless to say, be careful with your wardrobe choices when wearing your bright red... I tend to think this look works best for clubs and catwalks, and not so much for any other occasion. But you never know until you try it first, right? Maybe even those 80s hating business women would give it a shot now, three years down the road! :)


  1. I see a lot of red lips in the magazines now but like you, I'm not a big fan of red lips. Maybe because it would require a lot of effort to apply whereas putting on a lip gloss is just so easy. But I may change my mind. Thanks for the tips on how to create the perfect red lips.

  2. I know... it takes more effort and I think red lips are really hard to wear! Also, they make you look older - not necessarily a bad thing, but still!

  3. Excellent tips! I immediately feel dressier when I'm wearing red lipstick. I use a Chanel one - I think it's 95 or 65? It's a vibrant red and I love it!

    xx Leia

  4. Great tips, CC! I've noticed the red lipstick comeback as well. I've always been a bit nervous about wearing it out until last year when I decided it did make me feel glamorous (I'm not sure how I looked- haha ;)
    Blogger WendyB just did a post on her red lips. She wears the color as it comes in and out of fashion and it always looks good on her. I need to learn how to do that- and your tips are a huge help!

  5. Oh, very cool! I missed WendyB's post, shame on me.. I should check it out! :)

  6. i have spent sooooo much time searching for the perfect shade of red lipstick, this is aces ;)

    i agree, for lipstick it is really better to invest in a good brand because the cheap stuff is too gloppy and smudgey and always had a really weird smell...

    ahah and that does sound like a really weird job! i would have taken the lipstick, even if it was hideous, i heart free stuff ;)


  7. I know, what's not to like about free stuff?! We ended up going to the Manhattan mall (although we were supposed to stay in the business/office district) where people are a little more downscale and we ran out of lipsticks in like 5 minutes! LOL

  8. So loving the red lipstick come back! It's fabulous!


  9. I had a friend who did "promotions" that sounded similar to what you do. I think it's the same? She was a Hawaiian Tropic girl and was sent all around the country on different things. For a while she also did auctions. She was the girl standing up in front of cars to show them off.

  10. Love these tips! It's like you totally read my mind, I have been thinking nonstop about trying blood red lips out - I have fair skin though, so it makes me nervous. But I simply adore the look. With these tips, I may just attempt it! :)

  11. I think the red lip can look amazing-but alas not so much on me!

  12. I used to think so too, especially since I'm so pale... But it is doable!

    Also, Stephanie, I know! Those jobs are crazy and a lot of girls end up doing them full time! I stuck to those where you only had to doll up and hand out freebies.... it was easier! :D

  13. Excellent tips, darling! I must be brave and try a red lip one of these days!


  14. I LOVE a red lip! Your tips should be printed and distributed all over the globe! Particularly this one. "Lip liner should be neutral colored, typically just a TAD darker than the natural color of your lip." Don't you hate seeing dark lip liner? I'm amazed that it's still available in stores!

  15. I know, right! Dark liner is so tacky! I'm actually sitting next to a girl who's wearing a super dark liner right now.... maybe I should offer her my link. :D

  16. I do love the 80s! and the cool lips!

  17. AsianCajuns is right, I wear red lips all the time. I would have turned up my nose at people turning up their noses at your giveaway. So there.


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