Crimson lips are being touted as one of 2009's biggest beauty trends, and I've been a long-time fan of a classic red lip done right. Here's how to get the look, plus my roundup of the best (and worst) red lipsticks on the market.
Red lips demand attention so starting with a smooth canvas is a must. Ban pesky lip bits with Aveda's Botanical Kinetics Liquid Exfoliant ($19 for 5 oz. at select Aveda salons and spas). Apply generously to a cotton ball and then swipe over lips. Next, for a perfectly smooth pucker, moisturize lips by swiping on lip balm and then blotting lips with a tissue.
While some beauty experts recommend certain shades of this hue based on skin tone, I've found that trial and error is the true test. Thankfully, I've done some of the work for you, pre-screening nearly 70 red lipsticks to round up a few of the darlings (and the duds).
Love it! Prescriptives Colorscope Lipcolor in Racecar Red
You've undoubtedly heard of fire engine red, but Prescriptives kicks it up a notch with their Colorscope Lipcolor in "Racecar Red," a juicy apple red available in your choice of cream, shimmer or sparkle finishes. The moist formula goes on smooth but boasts a surprising level of staying power; $17.50 at prescriptives.com or at your local Macy's.
Leave it: NYX Black Label Lipstick in Cherry
I'm a fan of the NYX collection, so the Black Label collection lipstick in "Cherry" ($7) appeared to be a winner at first glance. Unfortunately, this "silky smooth" lipstick went on slick, and didn't stay put, leaving me red-faced rather than pucker perfect.
Love it! Rimmel's 1000 Kisses Stay On Lip Liner Pencil in Red Dynamite and Lasting Finish Lipstick in Alarm ($5.26 for the pair)
For about two bucks, I fell in love with Rimmel's 1000 Kisses Stay On Lip Liner Pencil (on sale now for $2.09 at Walgreens) because it glides on easily and keeps its commitment to stay on my lips without straying. Paired with Rimmel's Lasting Finish Lipstick in "Alarm" (on sale now for $3.17 at Walgreens), this glamorous duo aims to prove that style can be a steal.
Leave it: Milani's Glitzy Glamour Gloss in All About Me
Take it from me, ladies, avoid red lip gloss at all costs … especially this one. Perhaps as punishment for straying from red lipsticks into red gloss, "All About Me" ($6.99) ended up all over me; and the hue that had looked so beguiling in the drugstore left me looking more foolish than fashionable. As a side note, I still live and die by Milani's Easy Lipliner Retractable Pencil ($4.99 at local drugstores or at milanicosmetics.com) in "Cherry Pie," hands down the best bargain-priced red lip liner that I've ever reviewed.
Love it! VMV Hypoallergenics' Lipped Creme in Cranberry Cobbler
Color me yummy, thanks to VMV Hypoallergenics' long-lasting and hydrating red, "Cranberry Cobbler." This just-right red with a hint of pink is universally flattering, hypoallergenic and packed with Vitamin E. Get it for $21 at vmvhypoallergenics.com.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.