Men's Articles

The Red Scandal


In essence, red lips do not befit all women as much as it may be desired. It invites danger but hints the promise of a sensual adventure. In cosmetics, rouged lips are still the boldest statement of femininity. From the throwback of '50s sophisticated beauty to '80s outlandish punk, fiery red lips have weaned its way back into our hearts as well as onto our lover's lips and shirt collars.

Makeup artists love the old-fashioned glamour about it; its connotation of the 19505 golden era. It's a little dangerous and playful like Marilyn Monroe, but evermore so, it speaks the vulnerability of Audrey Hepburn, bewildering the opposite sex. "Pink will always be pink, but red can go from the Marilyn Monroe thing to a smoldering Betty Page look;" said Libby Cudmore of Manhattan's upscale Max Spa.

Red Is Power

Red lipstick is hardly a new concept because of its color. It is the most emotionally intense color a woman can ever wear on her lips. It is indicative of a strong-willed person and recognised as the color of courage, power, danger, as well as sensuality. Imagine wearing a bold red and biting on your lower lip, unintentionally licking it when you're eating and letting their plumpness rise when you stretch them into a smile. Can we say sexy?

Our predecessors have long known the power of red. As far back as the 19205, before the convenience of lipsticks, Chinese women have been blotting lips on red-colored paper to stain them a shade of crimson; a practice used to make them stand out in a crowd and thus attract the attention of potential husbands. In the Geisha community, lips were colored crimson. made from safflower extract and painted over with crystallised sugar to give it lustre.

In her first year, a maiko (geisha apprentice) paints only a tinge of crimson on her centre lower lip to emphasise delicacy and femininity. After her first year, she starts colouring her upper lip but never filling it out. When she finally becomes a geisha, her lips are drawn smaller. As her makeup becomes more distinct, she begins painting her lips in full.

Hollywood's "It" girls have always been known for painting their pouts crimson, making red lipstick a piece of Americana. In the 19405, screen siren Veronica Lake's cherry balms added provocation to her celebrated "peek-a-boo" hairstyle, which everyone tried to emulate back then. In the 19505, comedienne Lucille Ball of l Love Lucy fame was also known for her signature red lips and the glom continued in the 19605 with Tina Louise's character, Ginger, of the hit series, Gilligan's Island.

The power of red raged on in the 19705 thanks to Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman character. The allure was also evident in wide-eyed, innocent Betty Boop and the sexy vamp Jessica Rabbit. The trend lived on in the 19805, in stars like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl and countless video vixens, including Femme Fatale in 2002 starring Rebecca Romijn.

Red Is Raunchy Maturity

Red lips send an erotic message. "It's a classic up-to-no-good color. A girl with red lipstick is someone I'd want to hang out with at a bar, but wouldn't want to bring home to my-parents;" said Mordechai Rubinstein, a representative for men's fashion designer Jack Spade.

That's old-fashioned thinking as some style experts would say. The new red is more classy than trashy compared to two decades ago when the punk wave drowned the elegance of rouged pouts. Now it's getting a rebirth. We are going back to a more elegant time, where women want  to look like ladies but not the sweet dolly kind.

Wearing a red lipstick makes you feel special. It's a direct way of looking sexy without the revealing clothes or stilettos. It is about exerting your femininity. If anything, it signifies maturity-a girl who graduates into womanhood as literally as pink turning into red. Read the lips of young starlets such as Scarlett Johansson and Anne Hathaway who have recently been spotted speaking the message of maturity by walking the red line, making women everywhere re-addicted to red.

And why not? "All you have to do is put on red lipstick and it is totally revitalising. The [red-based] Kiss Kiss lipsticks are flying off the shelves," says Julia Sloan, a representative for Guerlain cosmetics in the US. "The color Sexy Tango, a reddish-brown, is doing phenomenally. People like it because it is so easy."

Scarlet Fever

What should be dramatic and sexy can look sloppy and sad when smeared, and there's nothing worse than a vein-y, migratory spread. Here's how to get it right, and make it stay.

  • Apply alight layer of foundation to your lips. Allow a few seconds to dry.
  • Dust the lips with a layer of powder.
  • Outline lips with lipliner if your lipstick tends to bleed at the edges. Be sure that the pencil matches your lip color.
  • Apply color (with a brush) to the centre of your lips first and then brush color out toward the edges. This little rule of thumb will prevent you from applying too much. With the intensity of the lip color, a thin wash of color is all that is needed.
  • Blot lips with tissue. Reapply a second layer of lipstick with your lip brush. The application of the second layer over a blotted first layer will ensure that your color lasts for hours.
 

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