The First (of many) Posts About Lipstick

It’s no secret that I love my lipstick. Most of the time I wear red, but I wear some shade of lipstick even on the days I am just not feeling like being so bold. My face is incomplete without adding a bit of oomph to my mouth.

And of course no vintage lady is complete without a swipe of lipstick!

It is true that finding the red for you can be a long and difficult journey. I am blessed with a complexion that turns everything very pink, so I have to be careful when picking my shade. Almost always, drugstore reds are way too pink on me, or are painfully bright, and they make me look like I’m trying too hard. I have searched long and hard for the red lipstick most flattering to me, and I always end up falling back on it. It’s the right depth of tone, is true blue enough, and is a gorgeous matte texture. I am so comfortable in it, it feels like me every time I put it on. Wondering which it is, yet? Oh yes, the tried-and-true Russian Red by MAC.

I discovered the amazingness that is Russian Red, while surfing the interwebs. I commented on a photograph of a modern pin-up woman whose colouring was similar to mine, asking about what lipstick she was using. To my surprise, she answered me, and told me her colour. And I haven’t turned back since.

Now of course, I know this particular shade is one of the most popular in the vintage circles. Both for colour and for texture. It is hard to find a good matte lipstick, or even one with enough pigment in it to be solidly opaque in one swipe.

For daytime, to help give me a bit of a more wearable shine, I usually top my layer of Russian Red with Maybelline’s Red Revival. It tends to bleed a bit when I wear it by itself, but it makes the matte undercoat more comfortable for all day wear.


If I feel like changing the tones a bit, I can; maybe I’m wearing a coral shirt, or I am headed to burlesque show and want to be a touch more vintage in the face. It’s easy enough to top Russian Red with some Coral Queen by Rimmel, or Retro Red by NYC to change the look but still maintain the flattering undertone.
The fun thing about red lipstick is that it instantly dresses up your look. Even if you are barely wearing any makeup at all, perfect bright red lips make it look like you really worked really hard to look so beautiful.

A coworker commented to me, a shirt while ago, very casually, how she’d like to try wearing red lipstick. It took everything I had not to start squealing at her excitedly, and to start spewing information on her. I tried to take it easy, and to just let her know I was available to go shopping with, should she desire. For I have a foolproof way to determine which shades look best on an individual’s skin tone. Really, it’s foolproof. No knowledge of skin undertones or brand names required!

Usually the makeup counters have the best selection of textures, when it comes to strong shades. Most of the time, drugstore lines reduce production costs by keeping pigment saturation low in their products. But there are lots of gems if you’re willing to look for them, and YES there is a red lipstick for you out there somewhere! You just need to get up the gumption to look for it. It is unlikely the perfect colour will just fall into your lap effortlessly.

max factor lipstick

First things first, to my Super Easy Red Lipstick Selection Technique; roll up your sleeve. Now, find your favourite shades and place a nice firm stroke of each of them up your arm. (Have a friend help keep track of which is which, or jot them down. Try reddish colours you wouldn’t normally be attracted to, like brownish ones or orangey ones. Very quickly, you’ll be able to see which lipsticks you like, and don’t like.  Because that’s really all that matters, in the end; whether or not YOU think it looks good on YOU.

2014-01-25 21.11.50

Left to Right: MAC Girl About Town, Rimmel Ballistic*, Rimmel Coral Queen, Maybelline Red Revival, MAC Russian Red

That’s all there is to it! Try a few different product lines, as some have preferable textures and intensities to others. And if you have a bad reaction to product, please do not be afraid to return it! Both makeup counters and drugstores usually have great return policies. When in doubt, ASK!