I never used to be a bold red lip kinda gal, mainly because I could never find that perfect red lipstick. I used to be a neutral and nudes girl, and for the most part I still am…but every now and again I like to change it up with a bold lippie. You can check out this blog post to see my first red lip here on the blog (not my first EVER red lip but the first red lip where I actually felt comfortable enough to feature it on the blog) – I think it suits me and that red lippie inspired me to dedicate a blog post featuring my current favourite red products. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, don’t fret…these products are fab for any time of the year!
I have always been a fan of red nail polish, if you can find that special red…it will instantly glam up any outfit. You can wear a white tee and an old pair of jeans, but pair that with a red polish and it will immediately perk up your look. Better yet, add a slick of matte red lipstick to the mix and you’ll be turning heads for sure!
We’ll start with my current favourite red nail polishes…
Deck your nails with an OPI nail polish called I’m Not Really A Waitress (I love the naughty name), this is my all-time favourite red, and I’m not the only one…it’s apparently OPI’s best selling polish! It is THE perfect red and will suit any and all skin tones, it is a super opaque blue-based cherry red shade loaded with very subtle red & fuchsia shimmers. It completely transforms from a shimmery red, to a SUPER shimmery red in high light areas – I can’t help but stare at my nails whenever I wear this. R 160,00 at selected Clicks, Stuttafords and salon supply stores.
If you’re more into bright, warm-toned red polishes then Snap Happy from Essie is the one for you. Other polishes that are extremely similar are Fifth Avenue (another fave of mine) and Ole Caliente (both from Essie). Snap Happy is a cheerful orange-toned red creme polish, very bright and with a high gloss finish. And the best part? It’s a one coater – yep, you can get away with only applying one coat! The one you see in the first photo is a mini size I received in the Essie Winter 2012 collection kit. As mentioned above, though, Fifth Avenue and Ole Caliente are very similar in colour if you can’t find Snap Happy. Essie polishes retail for R 100,00 – R 140,00 each at selected Clicks, Dis-Chem & salon supply stores or online at Zando, Kalahari, Spree or Takealot.
The festive season is probably the only time when you don’t need an excuse to wear copious amounts of glitter. Chyna from Zoya is my best Christmassy polish because it can be worn as a matte-finish polish or a high shine polish. You see, Chyna is a PixieDust polish…so it is a textured polish (similar to the OPI Liquid Sand nail polishes) that can be worn with or without a top coat (the photo you see above is with a top coat). I really like PixieDust polishes as they look like coloured sugared sprinkles on your fingertips. Chyna is a gleaming dark red with fine red glitter that sparkles even when the polish dries matte…so you can imagine how the glitters pop when you add a glossy top coat (the photo above does not do it justice)! The formula of this polish is flawless – it requires only 2 coats and has a lifespan of about 4 days before it starts to chip around the tips. R 165,00 from Zoya SA.
I currently have 2 tried and true shower gel products that I absolutely adore for this time of the year. You only see one of them in the photo above because I’ve already finished the other one – boo! First up, and featured in the photo, we have the Earth Bound Desert Dune shower gel from Beauty Factory. This was my signature shower gel around this time last year because the scent is perfect for Christmas (or any other time of the year if you’re a fan of warm, spicy scents). Sweet & spicy, this shower gel contains a warming combination of Cinnamon and Myrr. R 89,95 at Beauty Factory stores (their online store is currently under construction).
And an honorary mention goes to the LUSH Hot Toddy shower gel, featured on the blog here. I have literally loved this shower gel to death, down to the very last drop! I used it as a shower gel, bubble bath and even as a shampoo once or twice. Hot Toddy is incredibly moisturising on the skin, whilst giving your senses a spicy punch…in my review blog post I described the scent as the perfect mix between fireballs and cola lollipops. Plus, the shower gel contains golden lustres – now if this whole combo doesn’t give you a holly jolly time in the shower, then I don’t know what will… R 75,00 (100g), R 135,00 (250g) or R 235,00 (500g) at LUSH stores (Cavendish, V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk and Gateway).
It’s not always easy to find that special red lipstick or lip gloss – the one that suits 1. your pocket; 2. your skin tone and 3. your teeth (warm-toned orangey reds can sometimes make your teeth look yellow). I have 3 rouge pout picks that won’t break the bank and will suite your specific needs…
L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Collection Exclusive Pure Reds Lipstick in J Lo’s Pure Red – this red has turned me into a red lip convert. Inspired and named after L’Oréal Paris’ muses – Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Laetitia Casta, Julianne Moore, Frieda Pinto, Liya Kebede and Doutzen Kroes, this collection consists of 8 unique matte reds all developed to give every woman the perfect shade. Rich in colour, matte in finish, and creamy in texture, these lipsticks will give you a pop of velvety colour without drying the lips as they contain Jojoba oil.
J Lo’s Pure Red is a ruby red shade, it leans neither cool, nor warm. This makes it the perfect lippie for all skin tones, plus it doesn’t make my teeth look yellow. Bonus! R 149,95 at selected Clicks, Dis-Chem, Edgars and Foschini stores.
If you’re looking for something a little more glossy and cool-toned (almost like a cherry red shade), then L’Oréal Paris Color Riche L’Extraordinaire Lip Color in Ruby Opera is for you. A luscious, bright blue-toned red, that feels comfortable on the lips and gives you a high gloss finish. Remember, cool-toned reds will always make your teeth look whiter than they actually are. R 169,95 at selected Clicks & Dis-Chem stores.
And for those of you who find it physically painful to spend time lining the lips with a pencil and then applying a red lipstick on top – I give you, the new Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Fab Orange. Not a very fitting name, since it leans more towards being a warm red. I haven’t seen these kohl lip pencils mentioned on a lot of blogs and for the life of me, I can’t imagine why…because they are bloomin’ amazing! They have been compared to the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils because they give the same high impact, matte (yet creamy) finish to the lips. The pencil form makes it easy to use (perfect for red lip newbies), plus a fuss-free & mess-free pout is always guaranteed because you can sharpen these pencils with a pencil sharpener. Staying power is relatively good (3+ hours) but what I love about this pencil is that it glides over the lips, gives amazing colour pay-off in one swipe, AND actually feels moisturising too. R 79,95 at Clicks stores (I haven’t seen these at any other stores yet i.e. Dis-Chem / Foschini).
TOP TIPS FOR RED LIPS:
♥ If you have fair skin and / or have pink undertones, opt for a cooler, blue-based red. If you have a more olive skin tone with yellow undertones, try a red lipstick that has an orange tone to it. If you have a dark skin tone blue-based reds will look best with your rich tone (think dark cherry tones and vampy berry tones).
♥ If you have very thin lips, avoid deep reds as they tend to make lips look smaller. I’m definitely not saying you can’t rock a red lip, but rather dab the lipstick on the lips to give them a stained effect.
♥ Matte lipsticks are multi-functional – they can be worn as-is with a matte finish or can be topped off with a clear lip gloss to transform them from flat matte to high shine.
♥ Pair a red lip with the lightest possible eye makeup. A heavy smoky eye and a bold red lip will be too much, trust me on this one… A light shimmery (or matte) lid shade, a matte warm brown crease shade and a black or brown liner on the upper lash line is all you need.
♥ If you struggle with getting that perfect edge around your lips, use a matching lip pencil to outline the lips before applying the lipstick. A lip pencil will not only give you a clean, crisp edge to work from (outline with the pencil and colour in with the lipstick), but it will also keep your lipstick from bleeding.
♥ For extra control, use a lip brush or apply the lipstick colour in the center of your lips and blend out using your pinky finger.
♥ And if you feel the edge around your lip line is still not perfect, use an angled eyeliner brush dipped in concealer to clean up around the edges. Not only will this keep the colour from bleeding, but it will also make bright colours pop even more!
♥ If you want to wear shimmer or glitter on the eyelids, go for a matte red lipstick (and vice versa). Too much gloss, shine and sparkles on the face will make you look like a disco ball or Christmas tree (or a lady of the night). You want to give your face a place where the light can go visually but you don’t want all the areas on the face to stand out all at once.
♥ Dry, cracked lips don’t hold colour for very long, plus flaky bits are always accentuated by bold colours. Exfoliate your lips before applying your bold lippie by gently rubbing a dampened face cloth over the lips or use a lip scrub like the LUSH Bubblegum Lip Scrub. You can also use an old toothbrush to remove dry flaky skin on the lips. After you have exfoliated, apply a moisturising lip balm. I always apply a lip balm before I apply my foundation primer, so by the time I get to the last step in my makeup routine i.e. applying a lip product, my lips are soft and moisturised.
So there you have it! My current favourite reds for the holiday / festive season. As mentioned before, I’ve never been one for bold red lips BUT since becoming a beauty blogger, I’ve had to push myself and move away from my comfort zone. It’s good to challenge yourself every now & again because you might just find something that makes it all worthwhile. And that goes for most things in life…