Fifty Shades of Red (lips), or at least Five.

The stunning Miss Gene Tierney sporting resplendent red lips.

I may have retired my makeup artist hat, but the cosmetics lover in me has not gone to rest. One of my all time favorite looks is the 1940’s clean face with classic simple eyes (mascara, maybe thin liner, or perhaps even no eye makeup), a softly enhanced brow, and a red lip. The look is just so stunning and demure. I’ve decided I single handedly want to bring back this style of simple beauty. And what better time to discuss red lipsicks than right around Valentine’s Day? Perhaps you will be inspired…..

Valentine’s Day Red:

Oddly I always thought Valentine’s Day was actually connected to a massacre in Russia back as far as maybe the early 19th century. I could have SWORN my 10th grade European History teacher taught us something about that. And I assumed the popularity of “red” on that day was actually related to blood and murder and that the whole holiday was a scam devised by the American government as a way to rev up some rigamarole in the economy. I just looked it up and, according to Wikipedia, Valentine’s Day IS related to a massacre but, according to US history,  it was some shooting involving the infamous mobster Bugsy Malone c1929. If anyone finds anything about the former massacre, please by all means, tell me!

Digging deeper, my search revealed that the ACTUAL St. Valentine was a man who secretly helped young soldiers marry their loved ones. The head priest of the time was deterring marriages with fears that married soldiers didn’t fight as well because they would be afraid to die and leave their loves behind. In this notion, St. Valentine IS a romantic. An advocate of love and, apparently, monogamy. At least with this story the love on valentine’s day thing makes sense.

Why the history lesson? I was trying to figure out why the color red exemplifies love. I still believe its blood shed. Or perhaps its more connected to the blood that flows from your extremities to your heart and back?

All that aside,  for whatever reason, nothing says Valentine’s day more than the color red (or pink, or orange, or some other hue/value/intensity of the color) and I thought it would be fun to share my five favorite red lipsticks.

What the heck to wear for Valentine’s Day?

Why red lips of course! And, per your partner’s request, possibly nothing more or nothing less!

Pictured from Left to Right: Tom Ford Crimson Noir, Tom Ford Cassablanca,  Armani #403, Bessame Cherry Red, Chanel gloss Spark (in the front row, of course!)

Tom Ford 03 Cassablanca:

This is the most subtle of my reds. Not the greatest for Valentine’s day per se, but a nice shade for an every day look in fall/winter.

Tom Ford 11 Crimson Noir:

Loving this one that Danielle actually just introduced me to. A great classic red.

Armani  #403:

This is my go-to red. I’ve been using it for years. I love the color! Its just the right shade for most of my moods. It goes on so well and is dramatic without being overbearing. I also love that its a true long wear color without being drying.

Chanel Gloss 04 Spark:

LOVE! There’s nothing more to say. This is a fantastic color on its own or over any other lip color. It is a bit goopy though, as glosses tend to be.

Bessame c210 Cherry Red:

I discovered this lipstick at a costume store, of course. Its the closest I’ve ever come to finding a true 1940’s red. The lipstick itself is not very creamy. As a result its a very long-wear red (will last through a meal) but its  somewhat difficult to put on, and is also pretty drying. But I love the look of it, as in person it skews a bit vampy. Definitely a great choice for drama.

Speaking of drama….lets discuss the cupid’s bow.



Enhancing the Cupid’s Bow:

The Cupid’s bow is the V shaped area in the center of the upper lip directly beneath the nose. I just love that its called “cupid’s bow” and thought it would be fun to write about it for Valentine’s day.

This look was popular in the 20’s (shaping the lips like a heart) and then again in the 50’s (with more elongated outer edges). Over-drawing via use of the cupid’s bow is a great way to embellish a pouty lip or improve upon the fullness of a thinner lip.

Here’s my real-time attempt:

Drawing in the cupid’s bow is definitely easier with a lip pencil. Here I used the edge of the lipstick. Doable, but not great.
The end result. And me attempting to look sultry. Pictured here is the Bessame Cherry Red.

In case you want to try this at home, here’s directions on a more 50’s look:

Photo grabbed off Pinterest.

Interesting fact: In classical mythology,  cupid is the god of desire and erotic love. He is often portrayed as the son of Venus (goddess of love) and Mars (god of war).

Some people, actually MOST people, get all stuck on “what red looks good on me”. Honestly- they all do Huneys! Red is a bold statement. So if its an orange red, or a blue red, or even a black red….just pick the one you like for the mood your in and ROCK IT.

Time to go put on some red lips and kiss someone!









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