The Classic Red Lip: Not for Every Woman

There’s a red lipstick for every skin tone and every woman. For many, it’s a choice of warm or cool and the intensity that makes it work or not. For me, it’s also a matter of focus.

I love Red Lipstick because it’s just so chic.

But here’s why I seldom wear it.

The lighting is the same for all photographs. I take no responsibility for looking like a deer in the headlights 🙂


The Classic Red Lip: Not for Every Woman
me with no lipstick – the focus is on my eyes

I have very soft, muted coloring with very little contrast between my hair, eyes, and skin.

The Classic Red Lip: Not for Every Woman
pale blush-pink lipstick – the focus is balanced between my eyes and lips

This pale lipstick simply balances my eye makeup, and adds no contrast.


The Classic Red Lip: Not for Every Woman
deep rose lipstick – the focus is on my lips

This rose lipstick is just a bit darker and brings the focus down to my lips.


The Classic Red lip: Not For Every Woman
red lipstick – Eyes? What eyes? All attention is on my lips.

This red adds more contrast and begins to overpower my coloring.

The woman over 50 needs to use an objective eye when choosing lip color. As we age, our lips thin, and a red lip can begin to look like an angry slash across the face. If you want to wear a red lip, try a softer red, and one with less pigment. Beware of red gloss because it can wick up those fun lines around our mouth.

So while I can wear Red Lipstick, I generally choose not to.

Do you wear red lipstick?




  1. Jennifer, I think you look gorgeous in red lipstick–it lights up your face! I used to think “women of a certain age” shouldn’t wear red lipstick. But, a makeup artist at Chanel in NYC convinced me otherwise. She said with my coloring (light blonde hair, blue eyes) red would look amazing. I was doubtful that at 60 I could pull it off, but she chose a beautiful red that I still wear today–it’s Chanel Rouge Allure in Fatale #61. It’s shiny, without being glossy, and with the matching lip pencil, it really does suit me. Besides, this is an age where we get to do as we please and, for me, this red lipstick makes me happy. That I get compliments when I wear it is just a nice bonus!

    1. Shiny, not glossy is really important for me because of the lines around my lips. I recently had a makeup artist do my makeup and he chose a deep red, which he loved, but after wearing it around for an hour I realized it was too dark. Perhaps I just need to find a clear, pale red. The hunt continues:) If it makes you happy, go for it!! We do deserve to enjoy this ride!

  2. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. Years ago I used a lip gloss by shishedo that was perfect for my fair skin golden blonde coloring, they quit making it and for years I tried to find a good red for me, and I mean YEARS. I found two that I love, one is Revlons color burst, candy apple #35 the other is Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie game changer, a little goes a long way and I use a wax eyebrow pencil around my lips to keep it from seeping into my lines, Yes I have lines at 65 and genetics I am blessed!! 😉

  3. Oh, this is so right on the money! I love red lipstick, and have a drawer full of beautiful shades! But often when I wear red, I do feel like it overpowers my whole face! I’m definitely on board for the softer, warmer colors – and many of them have just enough color without screaming RED!

    I do have to mention, the ONE red I like and use is Stilla Beso. It’s actually a lip stain, so you have to be careful applying it, but once on, it stays all day.

  4. What a great visual. You and I have very similar coloring and I have found myself shying away from reds over the last several years. Now, I have to constantly remind myself to put on lipstick. Even if I choose not to wear any other make-up, putting on lipstick can help me fell ready for the world.

  5. Love your comments….as an aging (but very young!) 64 year old, I love the way you present to us why we can’t follow all the beauty trends. Keep up the great work….we really appreciate it!

  6. Jennifer you look gorgeous in all shades! You know, I rarely ever wore lipstick, period. Just a gloss now and again. My mom used to give me such a bad time and always wanted me to have color on my lips. Now, I love a red-orange color by Bobbi Brown which amazes me. If I go too pale, I look like I haven’t stepped in the sun for years (which I hadn’t!!). My mom would have be so proud of me now!

    Have a lovely weekend ahead 🙂 Deb

  7. You look fabulous Jennifer…I can’t wear a red lip anymore I’m always in a nude; I look quite frightening in a red lipstick although maybe as you say, there is one out there for me 🙂 My new blog with blips is up, if you have time please pop across it would be lovely to hear from you 🙂
    Happy Weekend xx

    1. It’s such an individual call. I just don’t like how I look in red, because I think my eyes are a better feature to highlight than my mouth. For many women, it’s the opposite. Excited to see your new site!!

  8. Hi Jennifer, I am brunette (at this point anyway) so I can wear a red occasionally; however I even stay to the rosy hues most of the time!

    Have a great weekend!
    The Arts by Karena

  9. Hi Jennifer. What a great post as it really sets out why red lipstick is no good for certain skin tones. I’m really pale, always have been, and a red lipstick was always too much. A deep red was always better on brunettes, I think. Also I was a red-head so I used to wear corals and orange tones, now I’m in my 60s and my skin tone and hair is even lighter it’s a pale to (maybe) a slightly deeper pink/rose lippy. Although eye makeup is what I concentrate on more than the lips.

    1. I think it’s all about contrast for me. Brunette and certain skin tones just look stunning in red. Not me. And never really has been. I’ve always loved it on others, but know my best look at my age.

  10. The deep rose looks absolutely sublime on you. I do wear red lipstick, but with my pale, ivory skin and auburn hair, I look best in a peachy/coral red. I’ll send you a picture to show you what I mean. Basically, it’s bright coral for daytime and coral red for evening with a bit of shimmer.

    Cheers, M-T

  11. I, too, have very fair coloring, and blonde hair/eyebrows. I tried different shades of red lipstick and it was too overpowering for me to wear, so I chose a rose color which looks much better on me. I think you look great in the rose color!

  12. Red lipstick is harsh, aging and makes a woman of a certain age look older. Ditto for nude lips…a richer, not deeper shade works every time. Muddy brown undertones in lips are just wrong for almost everyone. Rosy pinks look wonderful and light up the face.

  13. I think you look lovely no matter the lip color, but I do like you in red. I am a big lipstick fan, and have loved wearing red lipstick for years. I think most women can pull it off and everyone should try it, especially for a dress up occasion or when you just want to brighten your mood.

    1. Thanks Karen 🙂 Dress up occasions are a different kettle of fish, in my mind. The lighting is different and our clothing is so much dressier. In these instances nudes can be washed out. Again, depending on skin tone and desired “look”!

  14. I totally agree. As a younger woman I loved and looked great in deep rich colors and red lips. Now at 65 my coloring and contrast have drastically changed and if I wear those they enter the room before I do It is another instance that everything changes. You are your very best with the lighter colors. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    1. I’m glad you liked it Anne. Almost everythung has changed about me!! Things have shifted and slid south, but my coloring has softened dramatically. So rather than fight it, I’m morphing my makeup.

  15. For years I shied away from red lipstick. I have a lot of color in my loops and when I wear a lighter color it makes me look washed out. This year I started wearing a red lip and mascara only. I love the look. I can go lighter during the day and darker at night. I just make sure I use a liner so it doesn’t seep into the fine lines.

    1. Laura Mercier makes a great clear, wax pencil that goes outside the lip line and prevents bleeding. You may surprised to learn that “nude” lipstick bleeds I got those lip lines too! Argh!!!!!

  16. Great demonstration of the power of lipcolor, Jennifer. I’m like you, though I can wear a bold lip I often choose not too. I have fairly full lips and I end up feeling like I’m all lip when I go bold. Your idea of balance is perfect. A shade that equalizes lips, eyes and hair color is where I want to go. I tend towards nudes and rose shades myself pretty lady.
    Looking forward to our Lifestyle Linkup tomorrow at 8 am. Can you believe this is our 5th in the series??
    Happy weekend!
    xx, Heather

  17. I agree with Miss Lisa…excellent demonstration! Not everyone should wear red. You and I have about the same coloring. Love the pale blush-pink lipstick. BTW, you do have lovely eyes.

  18. This was great for me because I think we have very similar coloring. The Rose really was the nicest. It brought out your pretty eyes. I always wondered why I look so wrong in red lipstick.

    1. Glad I could help. Sometime’s I keep trying things long after I’ve decided they don’t work. Simply because they’re so flattering on others. This one I know not to push:)

  19. I have your same coloring, very low contrast. I’m team rose/ pink lippy, all the way. Clothing falls into the same category, can’t do red.

    1. Same with me. I can wear a red scarf if it’s muted and mixed with other colors that are flattering on me. But I always have to amp up my makeup so it doesn’t over power my coloring.

  20. I have naturally dark hair and eyes with a pale complexion (pink undertones). Wearing pale lipstick makes me look washed out. I wear a cranberry colored lipstain close to my natural lip color. I’ve tried nude and paler colors, not me.

    1. Your natural coloring is high contrast, so you would look washed out in pale lips. Lucky you. I’ve always wanted to have dramatic coloring!

  21. Your point about red lipstick and photo demo really help. You can wear the soft muted colors so well as it brings out your eyes. I would look pale and washed out without color. I love a red lip but feel a bit self conscious wearing it. It’s so classic tho! I tend to migrate to the deep rose colors. xx Karen

    1. Deep Rose is a great alternative to Red. In fact deep rose looks red on me! It can look just as classic and dramatic. Just be sure you choose the correct tone (warm vs cool).

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