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9th December 2013


The festive season is the perfect time to pile on the glam – but when it comes to make-up, how do you wear this winter’s sexy red lipsticks? LISA PIDDINGTON offers advice on how not to look like a pantomime dame.

From Cleopatra’s beetle-stained lips to Marilyn Monroe’s iconic pout, red lipstick has for centuries been associated with pure glamour. With the party season in full swing, there is never a better time to embrace one of fashion’s most alluring trends. However, while the perfect pucker guarantees a queue under the mistletoe, one false move and it’s more harlot than starlet.

Because red demands far more care and attention than your average day-today shade many women tend to shy away, but there is no excuse for not having a statement lipstick waiting in the wings of your make-up artillery for special occasions.

When choosing which red, consider you own complexion and test against the skin on your face rather than on the back of your hand. As a rule, the darker your skin tone the deeper the shade you can wear.

Those with medium tones should plump for reds with a golden sheen to bring a touch of warmth; while those on the pale and interesting side can go for pure drama with a true red or one with a pink tone. If a solid block of colour isn’t for you, opt for a tinted gloss or balm that will not only add a hint of this most fashionable colour but also act as a moisture surge.

A lip brush is a must to help ensure you achieve the perfect shape. After applying your lipstick take another brush, dip it into some powder and gently pat along the outer edges of the lips to “hold” the colour place.

Because red makes mistakes hard to hide, a pencil line in a co-ordinating colour is essential to keep the look focussed and classy, and stop it from bleeding.


1: Take the time to pick the right shade for your skin tone but don’t be afraid to experiment with something quite dramatic.

2: For warm skin tones go for golden or more orange reds, while pale tones should opt for pinkier reds that will pick out the rose colour in your cheeks and stop you looking washed out. Deep, brick reds can work well whatever your natural colouring.

3: Make sure you keep your pout in perfect condition with daily lip salve, especially through the winter, to keep dry and flaky lips at bay.

4: The trend for the season is statement lips combined with barely there eye make-up. Go for a bold lipstick and offset with black or dark brown mascara, a sweep of pale shadow and eye-liner on the top lid only to get the catwalk look.

5: Finally, red tends to bleed more than other colours and are very noticeable when they do. To combat this, apply a layer of foundation to your lips first as a base. Make sure you use a liner to contain the colour and brush the edges with powder.

All products pictured are available from Beyond Beauty and the Space.NK Apothecary at Harvey Nichols.