Code Red: How to pick the perfect shade for your lips

Red lips don’t just look glamourous, they also have a teeth-whitening effect that we all love.


Amna Hashmi July 09, 2013
If you’ve always wanted to try out this lip colour but been too afraid, have no fear. PHOTO: FILE



Red: the colour of passion and a longstanding fashion favourite! Red lips don’t just look glamourous, they also have a teeth-whitening effect that we all love. If you’ve always wanted to try out this lip colour but been too afraid, have no fear. Ms.T did some homework to help you find the Shade best suited to your skin tone. Get ready to look glam!


Fair: If you have naturally fair skin, matte and warm reds and almost-oranges are most likely to liven up your look. Mahira Khan wears it best. ‘Red Lizard’ by Nars works great with porcelain skin.

Dark: Dusky beauties like international supermodel Iman can use matte oranges or warm, almost-maroon shades of red for a brighter complexion. Ms.T recommends Mac’s ‘Viva La Glam’ for this skin tone.

Medium: Bronzed-babes like Sanam Saeed look best in shiny, pinkish-orange hues that accentuate their healthy glow and brings out the eyes. Revlon’s Colourburst in ‘Coral’ should do the trick.

The number one rule for wearing red lipstick is: 

1. Make sure you have a soft, smooth pout! This means exfoliating and moisturising your lips and applying lip balm regularly. Matt red lipstick in particular accentuates your mouth and you don’t want to draw attention to dry, flaky lips.

2. The colour is unforgiving to mistakes in application so you have to take your time to put on red lipstick. Make sure you use a good-quality lip liner and give your mouth the sensual shape we see on celebrities (to prevent the lipstick from bleeding). Don’t try picking a liner in a matching shade of red — you’re better off lining your lips in a shade that’s closest to your natural lip colour. Apply concealer in the corners of your mouth so that the colour doesn’t budge later on. Then apply the lipstick. Blotting and layering now will ensure that the colour lasts.

3. If you are wearing red lipstick, your mouth should remain the centre of attention so make sure you go light on the eye make-up and blush. A bright blush with a red lipstick is a sure-fire way to look like a clown. Skip the eyeliner and just dab some beige eye shadow; add a coat or two of mascara and you’re done. It’s the quickest way to get ready for a night out! Our advice would be to avoid colourful clothing to make your mouth stand out: black and white clothes look super classy with red lips.

4. If you are afraid of the heavy look of red lipstick, simply stain your lips for a lighter look. Use your finger tip to apply lipstick to the center of your pout then blend outward. Alternatively, you can use the many lip markers or sheer-textured lipsticks that are available in the market.

5. Still not ready to go red? Try a rich berry with a blue undertone which will still give you the ‘dressed up’ look of red and make your teeth appear whiter.

While we believe red lipstick looks great on everyone, there are a lot of people who feel otherwise! Surprised? Here is what some people had to say about this daring look.

Mishal, 45: “Thing is, red lips look great on those who can pull them off but they tend to be associated with a ‘sharp’ personality so I wouldn’t advise anyone to wear it too much.”

Sarkhail, 22: “Only if the person wearing it 18+.”

Sundas, 24:  “Love it! So bold and edgy, why would anyone not like it?”

Warning: Those with thin lips should avoid deep red shades since they make the mouth appear even harsher

Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, July 7th, 2013.

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