by Falaknaz Chranya
Photography by Callie Ahlgrim
What would one say is the boldest of all lip colors? What is the most classic and timeless lip look? The answer is none other than the red lip, of course. Whether rose or ruby, fire-truck or dragon, a red lip is unlike any other. It’s vintage and totally mod at the same time; it’s immortal.
When reminiscing on the red lips of the past, Marilyn Monroe was the first starlet to dwell on. Known for more than her just her notorious curves, the blonde bombshell popularized red lipstick. However, there are a plethora of women in modern times who have upheld the balance between class and badassery that comes with rocking a bold, red lip.
For example, 1980’s burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese was rarely seen without a bold red hue painted onto her lips. Further sexualizing the color that Marilyn made so desirable, Teese strutted across runways and posed in beautiful lingerie sporting nothing but various shades of her statement look. Of course, there is no forgetting Audrey Hepburn—another paragon of how to rock vivid lips—and her trademark berry-red look.
Additionally, the red lip is not just an American beauty sell-out, but rather a global phenomenon. For instance, iconic Indian actress Rekha is known for her blue-toned red. Aishwarya Rai, yet another popular Bollywood star, has been seen wearing a brighter, firetruck-red hue at many recent red-carpet occasions. She also rocked the same lip as Miss World in 1994.
Whether they chose a deep red or a bright hue, each of these stars displayed their staple versions of the red lipstick look. Each style of red lips speaks differently to different people. The orange-red look is bold and bright, and the warm shade goes well with a neutral blush. Kat Von D’s Countess and Smashbox’s Thrill Seeker are great red lipsticks with an orange tint.
Firetruck red is another bright shade that looks great when paired with browns and bronzes on the face and eyes. Stila and Anastasia Beverly Hills have this popular shade in Beso and Spicy, respectively.
If you are looking to add a bit of edge to your look, crimson red is a shade that is slightly on the darker side; it’s a true deep red. Colourpop’s Avenue is a great go-to for any girl who wants the perfect crimson red lip-look, and so is 745 Insolent Matte by Dior.
Vampy-red lips have been an up-and-coming look in recent seasons. Vampy reds are darker versions of crimson red that work beautifully with neutral face makeup and a smokey eye to create a look that is sexy and mysterious. Colourpop has a great vampy red liquid lipstick called LAX, and Christian Louboutin’s Very Prive is a similar style, but slightly lighter.
Yet another shade of red lipstick is a wine color—red with a slight touch of berry accents and undertones. Dior’s 964 Ambitious Matte and Christian Louboutin’s So Tango are perfect examples of a hot red, berry look.
From M.A.C.’s must-have Ruby Woo to Bobbi Brown’s popular Parisian Red to Charlotte Tilbury’s So Marilyn, there is nothing like wearing the eye-catching color. Even in all of its variations, there’s no other word that describes the bold pigment better than “classic.” It’s the trademark color on the back of Louboutin heels, as well as the go-to ‘sexy’ color in women’s fashion.
Each of these reds gives off a different vibe and accomplishes an entirely different look; however, what they all have in common is their power to be the look. A red lip is more than just the finishing touch to one’s makeup routine; it is a bold statement in itself, reflecting its wearer’s confidence and personality. That’s why it has never gone out of style, and that’s why it has been a part of people’s legacies. So, what’s your red?