Sunday, May 20, 2018

Red lipsticks are in — as long as you know your hue

First came the song Red Lipstick. Now, Rihanna's musical inspiration, and go-to-beauty-look, is resulting in a collaboration with MAC Cosmetics for her own red lipstick, reportedly to be called "RiRi Woo."

And if that's not enough of a reason to be officially wooed by red this season, perhaps the scarlet lips sauntering down spring 2013 runways of designers including Burberry, Prada, Oscar de la Renta and Jean Paul Gaultier will convince you.

Of course, you can also wait for the masses to declare that red lips are, once more, a haute spring "trend." Whatever the reason, it's time to ­either master or muster up the courage to try seeing red this spring.

Harper's Bazaar implores you to pick a hue of red lipstick that suits your age. In your 30s? Go for fire-engine red. 40s? Orange-based red, of course.

And then there is the always popular lipstick-based-on-skin-tone pack. According to Lauren Conrad, coral or orangey reds are best for light skin, while dark skin pairs well with blue-based reds, such as dark cherry.

All of the above may be right, but trust me, when it comes to this hip hue, nothing is more important than keeping red under control. Meaning that no matter your age, your skin tone, or which shade you choose, red lipstick that ends up on your teeth, your chin, or highlighting the vertical lip lines you've been trying to hide is a fashion faux pas.

Ready lips for every day, no matter what color lipstick you'll be wearing, by exfoliating lips to remove dry skin and moisturizing with an emollient lip balm. Swiping on a quick slick off balm before bed time is a great way to keep lips prepped and pretty for morning. I like Elite Therapeutics Lip Balm ($13 at It's super hydrating, thanks to Vitamin E and manuka honey, among other ingredients, and totally free of parabens and fragrances.

While I'm not sure that age should dictate the hue of your lipstick, I do know that, as we age, fine lines and hyper-pigmentation begin to show around the mouth.

Dermelect Cosmeceuticals makes a product called Smooth Upper Lip and Perioral Anti-Aging Treatment, which is, pun intended, a mouthful. The product aims to reduce all the signs of upper-lip aging, including softening vertical lines; get it for $38 at

In the morning, or anytime you are ready to apply lipstick, start by treating lips to a layer of foundation along with the rest of your face. Next, apply lipstick and blot it with a cotton ball dusted in face powder. Now, and only now, apply lip liner to the lip line and then fill in the remainder of lips. Apply lipstick again and you are, literally, set with red lips that would make even RiRi sing their praises.

— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.