Capsule Confidential: Red Lipstick

Post by CM

As much as I love sifting through Instagram and Pinterest boards, and feeling time pass me by, etching yet more wrinkles on my aging face (I’ve a birthday coming up, can you tell?) as I decide important points like what works better, a Breton top with jeans or with a skirt, I still find that the most effective means of drawing outfit and style inspiration is plain old people watching. 


I was wandering around Dublin recently, trying to navigate the nightmare that is crossing at College Green when in the midst of the crowd I spied a really cool woman. She was obviously an out-of-towner here on a visit; along with her trusty cream trenchcoat and wide brimmed hat she was wearing impeccably white trainers, the likes of which are usually purchased in anticipation of a load of site seeing. Anyway, she was bowing to sensible tourist fare which is probably not her usual style, but a nod to that came in the form of a great blow-dry and a flash of red lipstick on a backdrop of bare skin. Nothing sort of genius.

Red Lips 1

I’ve been trying to emulate that look – fairly ordinary but groomed everyday style uplifted by bright red lips – but my skin is far from perfect (the aforementioned wrinkles are complimented by pores the size of dinner-plates and discoloration from years of picking at spots), so so far I’ve only been able to pull off the full face glamour girl look. Which, in fairness, is something I’m totally in to too!

Red Lips 4

Red lipstick can elevate not only your outfit but your mood, and your confidence. There really is one to suit just about everyone, with MAC’s Ruby Woo currently ruling the roost in the makeup world. I go for the high street version with the supermodel approval, Kate Moss’s red collection for Rimmel, Her favourite is Shade No.1, so naturally that’s what I go for too (and it’s only €7.50!)

Red Lips 2

So, how to perfect the bare skin look when you’re a full-coverage devotee like I am, and how to keep that fire engine red staying put while you go about your daily business? I asked an expert – TM, with her hat on! – and she told me to try this:

  1. Prep your skin with a foundation setting mist or alternatively a primer (she recommends Smashbox but I like Catrisse)
  2. Buff loose powder on to your skin (helps fill in the holes maybe?)
  3.  Apply your base – for this look I’m going to try a tinted moisturiser and apply with a damp beauty blender, rather than my usual full-coverage foundation that I apply with a trowel.
  4. Brush on some more loose powder (a little goes a long way)
  5. Spritz on your setting mist ( I don’t have setting mist so I’m skipping this step)
  6. If it still looks a bit too matte, or done, try putting on a bit of highlighter on your cheeks.
  7. If you have lip primer smather that on before your lipstick and leave to set (TM likes MAC Prep and Prime Lip).
  8. If you don’t, this is what I do: Powder lips, apply lipstick, blot with tissue – repeat twice or thrice! It’s laborious but does work in keeping your lippy on for an extended time (you probably don’t need to do quite so many layers if you’re using a higher end, well pigmented product but if you’re a cheapo like me you could even repeat once more again!)
  9. Make sure your eyebrows are groomed – it helps if they’re either really strong or really faint, strangely enough.
  10. I came across this tip on another article earlier: black mascara on the top lashes and brown on the lower lashes helps to tone down and soften the look while making your eyes look nice and bright.
  11. I won’t be able to resist drawing a line of liquid eye-liner as well, just to finish it off.

Yep, it does take longer and more care to pretend you’re not wearing a full face of makeup than if you’re going full glamour puss, but when your friends tell you that you’re the spit of Alexa Chung it’ll all be worth it.

The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals

One Comment

  1. Marina

    I love this look. It’s pretty much the only one I ever wear, although I’ve only worn makeup a few times in the past year. I have eczema, and I still haven’t found makeup that’s okay for my skin. For now I have rosewater witch hazel spray and an eczema-specific moisturizer. There have been a few times when I have nearly sprayed organic bug repellent on my face by accident. :/

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