Friday, May 30, 2008

The Red Plunge

Inspired by my dark vampy red nails a few weeks ago (I know, a look that has been around for maaaaaaaany years, but that I never felt inspired to do myself until recently), I now have the desire to try dark red lips!

I've never worn red lipstick unless it was for halloween or a theater production. It was simply not something I thought of as my style. But I'm ready to try it out!

Thankfully I know a thing or two about color theory and how to find a red that will suit your skintone and not make you look like a child who has gotten into mommy's makeup bag!

I know I am a Soft Summer, that I have cool/neutral muted coloring (light/medium olive skin, gray-blue-green mixed eyes, neutral/ash light brown hair), and that I look best in a red lipstick that has these same qualities. Basically a blue-based or true red that is more of a cranberry/merlot/ruby than tomato, brick or fire-engine red (all yellow-based).

The problem is, my lips do this weird changing thing to many red lipsticks that in theory should look good on me. They tend to turn magenta or look like candy-apple red if I'm not very careful about the color. I think this happens when the colors are too bright, as opposed to saturated/muted tones (even if they are the right basic hue).

With this in mind, I've done some obsessive internet research over the last two days, and have identified the red lipstick I think will work best on me: NARS Fire Down Below, a deep blood-red that seems to be good for people with medium, neutral coloring. I briefly considered Afghan Red (more of a berry-red) and a few others that I think would suit my coloring, but would likely not really turn out red on me. I'm still pondering the purchase for another day or so, but when it comes down to it either it will be a color that works on me, or it won't. There's only one way to find out!

Days like this I wish I were in the US so that I could go to Sephora with my mom and try on shade after shade of red lipstick. Alas, I am stuck with internet shopping, but I'm sure that worst-case scenario, I can always find a friend in Maputo who will look great in Fire Down Below if it doesn't work for me.


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Ali, I think you should be trying to find a red that works better with olive toned skin because that's kind of what comes through from your pics (you have a very "yellow" tone...I'm also a yellow-underbase).

Right now I'm using Laura Mercier's scarlet lip stain, which I like, but beware it's VERY dramatic.

I also think a lot of it is really dependent on the colour of your lips. My lips are naturally tinted purple-pink so I make a lot of reds look purple pink on my mouth no matter what colour they happen to be in the tube. It's strange.

I love lipstick! But people often tell me my mouth is very dramatic so I guess that feeds my addiction. My sis, otoh, with the big eyes, is way more addicted to eyeshadow.

Ali la Loca said...

~Monkey - Hmmmmm...this is always my dillema. For clothes and hair color, I definitely fall into a COOL, blue-undertone category. I look good in periwinkle, cadet blue, teal, rose pink, gray, berry red, etc. I look *terrible* in all yellow-based, warm colors - at least for clothes.

But with makeup, I always have a much harder time because of my skin tone. Most people classify olive as a warm tone - thus the yellow-based recommendations for lip color, etc. But I am never convinced they will work on me due to my experience with clothes!

I find it super interesting that you think I have a yellow undertone, Monkey. I wonder if it is my camera, or flash, or the computer monitor...or if I really do come across as much more yellow (read: neutral?) than I realize.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I do think in many of the pictures you've posted, especially where you're tanned, you seem to tan olive-ish. Maybe it's a trick of the camera. I always think you look Italian.

Ali la Loca said...

I defnitely tan olive, Monkey. And I am part Italian - my grandmother still lives there.

What is that site you talked about ages ago that you really like for makeup for South Asian women? I wonder if I can't find something nice on there...