In Defense of Red Lipstick: Yes, You Can Wear This Too!

red lipstick

Growing up, I was always told that red lipstick wasn’t for everyone. Only some women could wear such a bold, flamboyant color and it certainly was not *moi*. So for years, I steered clear of any kind of red and settled for boring plums, unappetizing browns and the occasional nude lip gloss.

Then one day I had revelation: I. wanted. to. wear. RED!

Now this revelation wasn’t shouted from roof tops or plastered across my social media feed. No, I dare not tell the world I wanted to wear such a forbidden color. I remembered the horrible reds I saw on the women my mother tsked at, and the jokes people in my social circle made about women who wore a bright red lipstick that was obviously so very wrong for them to wear. So like some dastardly fiend evading the gumshoe in a film noir, I snuck away in secret to a make-up party, fully prepared to be disappointed and told that, yes, red was out of my reach. Yet, as I sat in that chair and watched a gorgeous red as it was applied, I saw that not only was red within my greedy little grasp, but that I looked fabulous in it! I was blown away by how the color took my drab look and made it sexy and alluring without being over the top.

I realized that it wasn’t the color that was so wrong for so many women but the *hue*. Red lipstick spans the color spectrum, going from a dark, visceral red to a nearly bright candy pink. Often a person’s undertone determines the hue that can be worn, with yellow undertones going well with a darker, warmer red and those with bluish undertones faring better in reds that were cooler and brighter. Very pale women with cool undertones like Angelina Jolie can rock a bright red that has a blue base, and women like Lupita Nyong’o with dark skin and warm undertones can look amazing in warm reds that have an orange base.


Red lipstick is a great component to any look, and the old adage that red was only for a lucky few just isn’t true. In fact, red pairs well with so many colors and can add a spark to an otherwise boring ensemble. Red lipstick should no longer be relegated to the dark, forgotten areas of your make-up case or sit forlornly atop your vanity. Wear your red with confidence and most importantly, once you find a shade that works for you, don’t be afraid to play with your look. Mix it up with a smoky eye or a cool, metallic gold or silver. However, the one thing that you must absolutely do to rock a red lip is to take care of your lips and moisturize. A beautiful pout that is well moisturized and hydrated will go a long way in making your red lips look irresistible.

Red lipstick is no longer as taboo as before, and many stars in recent years have been donning this audacious color. Actress Scarlett Johannsen wears it fabulously as does vintage maven and burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese. These women prove that you can do red wonderfully while actually accentuating the glamour or sophistication of a look rather than sacrificing it.

So the next time you are perusing the cosmetics counter and are thinking of picking up a fantastic red lipstick, but don’t know if you should try it, just remember that red is indeed, a color anyone can wear.


Until next time, go forth and be fashionable!

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Kenya Evans

by Kenya Evans

Special Contributor. Kenya has been a writer for as long as she could remember. A fashionista with a love of the arts, Kenya’s background in social justice inspires her to help make the world a better place, one written word at a time. When not writing, she can be seen on underground stages across Chicago as a tribal belly dancer and classical Indian dance student of Bharatnatyam.