Wednesday, August 3, 2011


 Today I thought it would be fun to discuss something never before discussed on this blog;  makeup, more specifically, red lipstick.  You really can't talk about the "look" of Moulin Rouge (Parisian brothel circa 1899) without going into the importance of the makeup.  Put the incredible wardrobe aside and what you have left is endless red curls and lots and lots of face paint.
 The next time you have 5 or 6 hours to kill try googling "how to wear red lipstick."  I'm not kidding, there is soo much (read tooo much) written on this subject.  The question I naturally asked myself is what can I possibly bring that is new to this conversation?  The answer; experience.  Lot's of experience.

I began wearing makeup when I went to college, where I wore it on special night, parties, parents weekend.  After college I got married and spent a brief period being terribly sophisticated (as young married women tend to be, ha ha) and wearing makeup daily.   Soon enough along came baby number one, soon followed by baby number two, and I considered myself heroic if I managed to shower and brush my hair. Once the girls got older I went back to work and ta-da was a sophisticated makeup wearer once again.

  My life at the moment does not require me to look any particular - no pants - shoes -'s all good and acceptable (sort of).  Yet, I wear makeup everyday now!  Yes, everyday.  Makeup makes me look better which in turn makes me feel better.  While makeup is not essential  to my self esteem, it helps.  Sorry if that was all too much information - just wanted to say that I actually know what I'm talking about here.
Back to Moulin Rouge....of course you've noticed that Nicole Kidman wears red lipstick in almost every scene.  Red lipstick is synonymous with french chic, prostitutes, and sex, all of which play rather prominently in this  movie. 
One of the things I learned by reading some of the red lipstick chatter on the net, is that there are rules people!  Lots and lots of rules.  Let's discuss a few.......
  • There is a perfect shade of red for everyone.  Well, in my considerable experience this is true in theory, yet, I've never quite found MY perfect shade of red.  I've learned that some qualities are better suited for my skin color (vampiric white) than others.  I tend to look better in pinkish red and will run away when faced with a orangy or brownish red, but the PERFECT  shade, I'm still waiting.
  • Red ages you.  On this one, I must reluctantly agree.  Yes, we've all seen pictures of Helen Mirren rocking the red lipstick, but remember she probably has hers professionally applied , not to mention perfect lighting.  Plus, our lips tend to get smaller as we age, and red just accentuates this sad fact.
  • Red lipstick tends to bleed.  Again, true.  Here's where my personal experience might help you.  Most "experts" suggest you use a lip liner when wearing red.  I really have an aversion to lip liner (more on this later) so I take a fluffy makeup brush, dip into a face powder that matches my skin tone, and brush around my lip area.  I have found that the powder will stop the lipstick bleed in it's tracks.
  • Red makes your teeth look discolored.  Experience to the rescue all depends on the shade you choose.  A bluish or pinkish red will help, orangey or brownish red does pull out the yellow tones in your teeth.  This may also be why bold red tends to look best on those under 35.
  • Never accent your lips and eyes at the same time.  Either choose red lips or smoky eyes, never both.   Who says you can't wear bold lips and bold eyes at the same time?  Try telling that to Dita Von Teese, the late Elizabeth Taylor, or anyone named Kardashian! There is something about the word "never" that just makes me cranky.

This is exactly why I don't like lip liner.  The liner tends to last all day, while lipstick only lasts until your next cup of coffee, so at some point you look like this.....not all.
 Here are some modern beauties who get the whole lipstick thing right....and a few who don't.

With her pale hair and complexion I believe la Kidman looks best in this more natural makeup....pinkish lips.....less dramatic eyes.

This is certainly a bold look to pull off, and most of us shouldn't even attempt it.  Dita makes it work because of her strong coloring, and her attitude, plus, she is in fact a burlesque dancer!    How she manages to look both sweet and slutty at the same time must be an art. 
Are you frightened?  I am.

Yes, she's a beautiful woman, but I think the red lips make her look tired, or perhaps it's the six kids, either way, this woman needs a nap. 
 Again, a truly bold look.  Pale skin, pale hair, shocking red lips, soft but noticeable eye makeup.  In my opinion she owns this looks. 
 I have no idea who this is, but she appears young and pretty and not too made up and age appropriate.  Well done you.
 This strikes me as a wee bit scary.  I generally love Gwen here, but I think this would look so much better with Moulin Rouge hair....long and soft, not the severe updo she has here.
 Rule Breaker!   She's wearing bold lips and eyes at the same time.  Her coloring helps her pull this off, I think she looks great.
The peachy red lips works with her skin coloring.  Taylor Swift nails it.
I can't believe I had so much to say about lipstick!  Thanks for sticking with me.
Do you wear red lipstick?  Do you follow the rules?  Was this helpful?
Have a beautiful day.

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