Happy Reading & Fashions,
21 Days of Must-Wear Rouge Lipsticks
By Charlotte Twine | December 30, 2009 8:00 a.m.
Photo: Model: Imaxtree; Lipsticks: Steven Krause
Ok, let me just tell you where I'm coming from: I love matte lipsticks, and I love a great blue-red. Dita Von Teese is my lipstick inspiration. But also, in terms of matte, I like the texture that was prevalent in the mid '90s (I know, I'm dating myself). I saw a Rolling Stone magazine cover of Wilson Phillips from the '90s the other day, and all three chicks were wearing the mattest of matte red lipsticks. Perfect texture! Why don't they make 'em like that anymore? Well, it turns out they do: M.A.C Ruby Woo. It’s even a fave of Dita Von Teese (per her Twitter). The color is thick and rich, blue-red, and it does not budge all day. All day. So, hey, hold on, Carnie, Wendy, and Chynna: I’ve got the perfect lipstick for you.
Day 2: Dolce & Gabbana Iconic
Would you believe I met a really cute boy because of Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Cream Lipstick in Iconic? I wore the lipstick, a satisfyingly bright orange red opaque formula with a glossy finish, to a friend’s house to watch Twilight. I was sitting on her sofa, waiting for the video to start (and, okay, thinking of Edward Cullen), when her four-year-old son walked up to me thisclose and said: “Why are you wearing lipstick?!” Stumped, I replied, “Because I like to look pretty?” He threw up his hands, ran around the room, and yelled, “OH WOW, BEAUTIFUL!” I’ll take this kid over Edward Cullen anytime.
Day 3: Revlon Fire and Ice
Today, I feel very nostalgic; I’m wearing Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick Fire and Ice. This lipstick has been around since at least the 1950s, when Revlon threw a huge advertising campaign for it with such lines as “Would you streak your hair with platinum without consulting your husband?” The lipstick feels wonderful on—not too greasy or dry, just perfect. And the color? Elle associate beauty editor Maura Lynch took one look and said, “Now that’s a perfect coral red!” I was thrilled, then realized I was struck by the urge to put streaks in my hair.
Day 4: Estée Lauder Rich Red
Busy day at work—and everything needs to be done YESTERDAY. I need a boost. My boss says, “I’m not used to not seeing you in red lipstick.” Bingo! I decide to put on Estée Lauder Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick in Rich Red in honor of the original beauty biz workaholic, Estée Lauder (who showed up at the office until well into her eighties). I swipe on the lustrous, creamy blue red color, inhale its feminine floral scent, and take in my reflection. My boss says it perfectly, “Ah, much more you.” Thanks, Estée!
Day 5: Nars Jungle Red
Normally, I tiptoe around the orange-y shades, but I shocked myself by loving the bright red tone of Jungle Red by Nars, as well as its amazing long-lasting texture, which is a just-right combo of matte and slick. When I asked burlesque star World Famous *BOB* what her favorite red lipstick is (burlesque stars know a thing or two about makeup), she said she also loved Jungle Red, because “it’s bright and has staying power—two things I strive for myself.” Amen! That deserves a shimmy or two.
Day 6 and Day 7: Shiseido 415 and Chanel Lover
I’ve been rocking two amazing lipsticks the past couple of days, courtesy of the recommendations of two awesome Elle beauty staffers: Assistant Janna Johnson’s fave red lipstick is Shiseido 415, while senior editor April Long says je t’adore to Chanel Lover. I wear Lover when I’m in a more sedate mood and crave something rose red, silky, and a little sheer, with a lovely, delicate powdery scent. And when I’m up for standing out in the crowd, the Shiseido is a great bet; it’s a bolder, more opaque formula, a true red. Two different lipsticks courtesy of two different ladies. Merci!
Day 8: M.A.C Russian Red
I had a job interview the other day, and I couldn’t help but to think WWMD? What Would Madonna Do? Put on a cone bra, bulldoze into the head honcho’s office, and start vogue-ing? Well, I couldn’t do that, but I could shore up my confidence by wearing Russian Red by M.A.C, a phenomenal dark red matte shade that Madonna wore during her Blonde Ambition tour in the 90s. It’s truly one of my favorite lipstick shades ever, long-lasting and rich as all get out. And something must have worked, because I did put on the Russian Red that day and P.S.: I got the job.
Day 9: Armani Hollywood Red
Crystals, black velvet, Armani label? Sounds like something Beyoncé would wear to a red carpet event; in fact, it’s the luxe packaging for ArmaniSilk, the brand’s latest lipstick. I tried on the Hollywood Red shade during an annoying morning commute (my train’s engine broke down, then I was stranded on a cold platform for 20 minutes), and I have to tell you, the vivid red color really did give my crabby self a lift. The formula feels amazingly light and sheer on the lips, aided by “an exceptional blend of Micro silk powders,” the company’s site says. I just know I’ll keep this lipstick around for my next bungled commute.
Day 10: Lipstick Queen Rouge Sinner
Poppy King is one of my personal heroes: She started her own lipstick line at 18 by looking up a cosmetic manufacturer in the phone book. When I was 18, I was cutting classes to go to the movies (but that’s a whole other story). Today, hoping for a piece of her energy and gumption, I’m wearing her Lipstick Queen Rouge Sinner. For aficionados, the thicker texture (shea butter and 90 percent pigment) and dark shade is similar to M.A.C Russian Red, if a little more on the rose side. Poppy says it “looks good on everyone night or day.” Ah, I can feel the entrepreneurial urge kicking in right now…
Day 11: E.l.f Royal Red
Want a bold color but not quite ready for stoplight red? I would try E.l.f. Royal Red. It’s surprising when you first open the cap—the lipstick is a gold color with just a little bit of burgundy. But once on, it’s a wine red with a gold sheen. And it’s pretty long-lasting; it hung in there through my lunch with co-workers. I had a margarita and cheese enchilada with mole sauce, and the shade stayed prettily without leaving that annoying ring around your mouth, which often happens when your lip color is wearing off.
Day 13: Lipstick Queen Medieval
Ultimate test of a lip stain? See if you can apply it on a jerking train without looking, and then have it look right when you check in a mirror. Lipstick Queen Medieval successfully passed this test—and New Jersey Transit trains are probably the jerkiest of the jerky. Medieval is the loveliest, lightest, most natural red stain; the color is as if you’ve been chewing on your lip—or sucking on a popsicle. And it feels moisturizing (courtesy of vitamin E), not sticky. Also, I put the stain on with just concealer and mascara and boom—instantly looked awake and ready for work. (FYI: I do recommend looking when putting on concealer and mascara.)
Day 13: Revlon ColorStay in Top Tomato
Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick says in its ads that it is “food-proof.” Today, I put that to the test, wearing Top Tomato, a nice brick red. It was a tough challenge, to say the least, right up there with a bowl of soup, and, say, kissing. It was my lunch: a bag of Cheetos. (That noise you hear? It’s the collective shudder of nutritionists around the world.) Yes, that powdery, nuclear orange snack has ruined many a made-up mouth, and ColorStay passed with flying, ahem, colors. The Cheetos simply flaked off, and my beautiful red shade stayed intact. Perhaps one day I’ll venture forth and test it on a better lunch: a salad?
Day 14: Kat Von D Hellbent
I admit it: I wore Kat Von D Hellbent Lipstick for the attention…while I was walking my dogs. The color is a more soft pink red than I expected from this edgy, rock ‘n’ roll tattooer. (It has a soft sheen, and fades to a nice fuchsia throughout the day.) But I still figured, it’s red enough for someone to notice it while I did this most mundane of chores. The lawn maintenance guys next door didn’t notice me while I strolled by with my pooches. People walking next to us? Nary a glance from them. My dogs? Nah, they were just doing their business. Dejected, I returned home, and stepped inside. Right away, my roommate looks at me coming in and says, “Ooooo, you look so pretty in that red!” Score! Mission accomplished!
Day 15: Guerlain Rouge G Geisha
When I ordered Rouge G de Guerlain Jewel Lipstick Compact in Geisha, I thought of subtle images: graceful creatures with elegant kimonos, porcelain skin, and perfect little bow mouths. Little did I know what I was in for when I opened the package: the Cadillac Escalade of lipstick cases! In other words, big, flashy, over-the-top…and fun! The large, hinged silver lid opens up to reveal the lipstick itself and not just one mirror, but two—the more to peer at your pucker with. And the shade? It delivers. The beautiful cherry red would fit in just fine in the geisha houses in Kyoto.
Day 16: Guerlain KissKiss Exces de Rouge
With its vintage-inspired packaging, Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick in Exces de Rouge (a berry red shade) wouldn’t look out of place on an antique dressing table with a gold-trimmed hand mirror and hairbrush set. And so, when I put the lipstick on, I wouldn’t have been surprised to look down and see I was wearing a negligee and marabou-trimmed high-heel slippers, rather than my T-shirt, jeans, and Converse. I wore the shade to Whole Foods, where I pulled aside an employee to ask where the spelt bread was. As she answered, she looked from my eyes to my mouth, and back again. Was she dazzled by the red color? Who knows? I just know I how I felt—like I was swanning down the aisles like Rita Hayworth.
Day 18: Chanel Passion
While testing these lipsticks, I’ve been putting test swatches on my hand for the past couple of weeks. On my commute home from Midtown Manhattan to New Jersey, I went into a bakery at Penn Station. I heard a voice say, "That one is definitely the best." Confused, I looked up, and the bakery counter girl was pointing at my mouth! She said she noticed the swatches and wanted to tell me the color I was wearing was the best one. Cool! (I was wearing Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick 14 Passion, a bright red with a touch of blue.)
Day 19: YSL Red Muse
On my way home from work, I was walking down Seventh Ave. toward Penn Station. A bicycle messenger suddenly skidded to a stop next to me and said, "Don't be scared, baby, but I just wanted to tell you you look fine in that red lipstick." Aaagh! Creepy…but I admit, I felt a small thrill about the lipstick compliment. What was I wearing? YSL Rouge Volupté Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick SPF 15, in shade 17 Red Muse. A wonderful deep fuchsia red with an extremely satiny and creamy texture. That messenger has taste!
Day 20: Clinique Ambrosia
Don’t be scared of Clinique Colour Surge Butter Shine Lipstick in Ambrosia when you first open the cap. You’ll see a sparkly orange that’s fit to wear to an ‘80s karaoke night and not much else. But I wanted to challenge myself with this color; I usually shy away from orange reds, and when an online description called this an orange with a touch of red, I jumped. I’m glad I did. Like the name, it does go on deliciously smooth. And the color? I picture a warm peachy sunset. Like buttah!
Day 21: Wet n Wild Red Hot
Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipstick Red Hot 519 A is the first red lipstick that made me feel like a ’50s sweater calendar girl. The color—a combo of a candy apple red and pink bubblegum—the girly fruity-licious smell, and the slick texture (it’s loaded with aloe) made me want to throw on a leopard-themed outfit, curl up on some pillows and pose—in a most ladylike way, of course. And at an amazing $1.29, you really can’t pass this up this opportunity to be a pinup.
BONUS! Day 22: CoverGirl in Really Red
CoverGirl Continuous Color Lipstick in Really Red 575 has been described on blogs as a “bright and hot” red. It is indeed really red—if you layer it up. It starts out as a more prim, sheer shade, with my lips showing through. The other day, wearing this color, I went out to dinner and drinks with friends. I was tempted to take a cue from my demure lipstick, and just order the lightest of white wines, or even a seltzer, and a salad. (I ended up with a beer and a cheeseburger. Oh well.) My friends said the shade lasted throughout the whole meal, but I didn’t believe them. I looked in the mirror, and there it was: It had faded, just a little, into a lovely—and prim—red pink.