At the end of 2017, I had the pleasure of writing this piece for BeautyMatter.com. Enjoy.
Over 5,000 years ago, Ancient Egyptians were known to ambiguously draw on red lipstick as a sign of stature. Bugs were literally crushed and drained in order to drape the lips of queens and kings in alluring tones of blood red.
In 1927, the recently formed FDA was granted permission to regulate the beauty industry. The FDA noted that of 53,000 households surveyed, 58% owned one red lipstick despite a worldwide debt crisis.
In 1946 Max Factor created “Tru-color” red lipstick. That same year it was featured in one of the entertainment and beauty industry’s first cross-marketing campaigns with Brooklyn-born movie star Rita Hayworth.
Growing up in Brooklyn during the 1980s, I have fond memories of watching my mother, a trained opera singer and school teacher, wearing her favorite red Max Factor lipstick. I did not know it then but, as I watched her fill in her lips with her beloved product, I would one day own and sell what could arguably be the most timeless hero SKU. As beauty trends come and go, how has Red Lipstick stood the test of time?
It is a multi-million-dollar seller signaling a sign of strength and seduction by all who wear it. Psychologically the color red makes people feel confident; in many cultures it is a sign of deep passion or celebration. Many beauty brands aim to create that “one size fits all” tone but few have succeeded. Influencers, Pro Artists, and Brand Educators weighed in on what they think is the best Red to own:
Reyna Harvey, Account Specialist for NARS – “My favorite red lipstick is the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in the shade Cruella. This color is a rich shade of red that complements all skin tones beautifully. It is a sultry and attractive color that is great for every day or a special occasion. The long wear and smooth texture are also key benefits of this lovely formula.”
Nohea Metoyer, Account Executive, BECCA Cosmetics – “Stila Stay all Day Liquid Lipstick in ‘Fiery.’
It’s a beautiful deep red and has been my signature lip for the last 7 years. Although I do find the formula can be a bit drying, if I apply a thin layer of chapstick first, and then apply with a lip brush it wears comfortably all day.”
Nikki Isabelle Mixon, Arch Expert for Anastasia Beverly Hills – “My favorite red lipstick is Rituel de Fille in ‘Swarm’ because it smells like lavender and its blood-stained tone looks so effortless. This company is also cruelty free.”
Seventy years after Max Factor’s Tru-color red lipstick launched, Holiday 2017 will usher in Rihanna’s stab at a “True-Red” with her Fenty Beauty “Stunna” Lip Paint. In a clear pyramid-shaped dispenser adorned with a gold top, Stunna is forecasted to be the 2018 red lip go-to. It has a soft balm texture finishing in a metallic shine. Much like the songstress turned beauty maven, Rihanna, a proper red lipstick makes a strong, beautiful statement and will undoubtedly continue to stand the test of time.