Refined beauty: Ready in Red

8176242017_f39733ca5b_bRefined Beauty by Raegan

Capturing the perfect red pout should be such a simple task. But as a woman with brown skin and full lips, I found myself often shying away from sporting a crimson lip.  Personally, I felt red lips were uncomplimentary for my skin tone and full features. However, the number one rule of beauty is that there are no limitations. I would soon step outside of my comfort zone, disregard my own insecurities, and work to achieve the perfect red lip for myself.  Here’s how I did it!

My thoughts around embracing this look began to change last year when a popular rapper randomly made a controversial statement about women in red lipstick. He stated that darker women did not look appropriate in red lipstick, and only fair women should wear it. The corrective backlash he received from the beauty community, especially from minorities, was abundant and quite encouraging to say the least.  I then realized that although I was highly upset with his statement, my reasons for not wearing red lips yielded a bit of truth to what he said.

With a bit of research and self-inspired makeup tutorials, I found that red lipstick can be an alluring, timeless, and compatible color that works on any skin tone. Part of the key to finding my perfect shade of red was to truly discern the undertones in my skin.

color-complexAlthough I was previously familiar with how to determine undertones, it’s not as easy for everyone. Most of us are a combination of several different skin complexions, making the undertones hard to pinpoint. Perhaps the easiest way to discern this is to check the color of your veins. If your veins look blue, you have a cool undertone, if they look green you have a warm undertone and if you can’t tell, you’re neutral. Cool undertones work best with blue based or darker red lipsticks. Warm undertones work best with yellow, brown or brick based lipsticks. Finally, neutral or olive undertones work well with primarily gold based lipsticks and some orange based reds as well.

Although this was a great start to finding my perfect ruby shade, I learned that red lipstick is not always about undertones. Instead, I found it to be more about how intense the color is against the skin.  For example, I found that although I have warm undertones, a red color with a blue undertone blended easily with my skin without appearing too overpowering.

8236375711_2fcff23c0c_bNow it was time to apply!! Some tips that helped with my application included finding a great liner as a base.  I chose Makeup Forever Lip Liner in 8C to fill in my moisturized lips prior to applying the lipstick. I also found that a matte red lip was best for my full lips. Matte colors are void of shine or gloss, drawing less attention to the mouth.  I opted to use a lip brush when applying the red lipstick, which I found gave me a more clean and even finish. Finally, I applied the different reds with makeup already on. Red can be quite overpowering, especially with a plain face.  A little foundation, eyeliner and mascara helped me to make the right decision on hue of red that I wanted.

I finalized one of my decisions on the ever popular MAC Ruby Woo.  It has the perfect distribution of orange and blue undertones, with a classic matte finish.  It is a true red, and adapts easily to most complexions.  I also indulged with Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Cream Lipstick in Devil. This was also a blue based red with a creamy and elegant finish. It  wasn’t too boisterous, making it a great daytime look. It also felt luxurious on the lips.

dolce-gabbana-lipstick-devil-enFinally, I experimented with more affordable reds at my local Ulta store. I developed a custom color by combining Covergirl Tempt Seduction, and Covergirl Entwined. The result was a beautiful mix of a bright, rich red with a bit of shine. Because this combination was a bit glossier, I blotted my lips and used a small concealer brush to gently clean up the lip line.  Not only had I achieved the perfect red lip, I had found numerous options in the process!

My personal journey reminded me that beauty is about:

1)      Freedom of expression and fearlessness!

2)      Personal makeup choices that should move you, and cause you to have a positive emotional reaction – regardless of whether or not it is considered 100%“acceptable” in the eyes of the majority.

3)      Customizing your look by combining colors, experimenting, and personalizing to make it your own.

Images courtesy of –; www.;;; Syrita M (Flickr); Red Lips, Edna Bojorquez (Flickr) and Stuart Gaskin (Flickr)


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