The Hunt For That Perfect Shade Of Red

I've never shied away from a red lip. In fact one of my standbys since I was High School is a Revlon classic, Wine With Everything #525. It's a wonderful bright red-brown shade on me and I still wear it to this day.

For the last 2 years, however, I've been going through a crazy stage where I felt that maybe I should tone it down a bit on the red lipstick and I found myself wearing more softer neutrals. I figured, as a 40-something, maybe a bold lip wasn't "age-appropriate" anymore. Crazy, right?

By mid-2017 I had, had enough of this plain look and I started thinking about reds again. This time though I wanted to move out of the brownish and pinkish reds and move more toward the tomato-y and orange-ish reds.

After thinking about this for a couple of months and trying to use what I had in my makeup kit to try and concoct the colour I was looking for, I started to shop around.  What really spurred me on was a purchase I made in November. It was the Surratt Lip Slique in the shade Lady Bug:

Surratt Lip Slique in Lady Bug available online at (click)

This is marketed as a "warm coral" and it changed my views on reds. I never really like these coral shades before but this confirmed it--they seem to do wonders for my skin tone and complexion. They're the perfect red for me at this stage of my life. Although I adore this shade, it doesn't really have the full-coverage and longevity I was looking for.

So, I continued to search for that perfect shade of red and had a doozy of a time finding it!

I had been recently purchasing lip colours that use a wand applicator and loving them so, of course, these were the first ones I went for.


1 / Initially I went with NYX Liquid Suade in the shade Kitten Heels. On me, it translated to a more burgundy red so not the colour I was looking for. I also wasn't sure about the whole "matte" thing either but it was quite long-wearing so that was a bonus.

2/ Still on the hunt I went with Body Shop's Matte Lip Liquid in the shade Sydney Amaryllis. Again, nice shade but not 'the' shade. On me it just translated to a more pink-red. I also decided here that a matte was not what I wanted. Although the colour had longevity, it made my lips feel as dry as a desert. Not at all what I wanted.

3/ At this point I was getting annoyed so I went the extreme opposite. I went for the NYX Butter Gloss in the shade Peach Cobbler. So, essentially an orange gloss. Shockingly, even though this was orange, it translated to a 100% pink gloss on my lips. Like pop pink! This was when I realized that the pH in my lips is going to play a factor in me finding that orangy-red I'm looking for. I also realized that a simple gloss was not at all what I wanted.

After spending a lot of money and realizing that I did not want a matte, I did not want a gloss, I wanted full coverage, and I needed to pay attention to my pH balance, I decided to turn to the brand I trust the most, L'ancôme, and ask a professional to help me.

*the sound of angels singing*


Enter L'ancôme's L'absolu Rouge in the shade Rouge Flamboyant. This was IT. This was exactly the shade I was looking for! It's creamy, it's full-coverage, it's got good longevity, and it works with my pH to give me the exact shade I had dreamed about!


The main lesson I learned here was that you cannot trust a shade on the back of your hand. You need to try it on otherwise you are 100% wasting your hard-earned money. Go to the counter, ask the person working in the cosmetics department if they can apply the colour for you. They will clean up the sample with alcohol and apply it for you with a cleaned lip brush. From there you'll immediately know if it's what you want or not. Also, if there is no sample, then walk away. Do not assume that just because it looks like the colour you want on the paper swatch, that it's what you're looking for.

I also learned that my pH balance is not something to be messed with. I had no idea that my body's pH would mean that orange = pink on me. I mean, wow!

I also learned that I don't mind matte but that a cream lip colour is what I really like.

So what about you? Do you have a favorite shade? Have you thought about changing up your lip colour as you got older? Well, if so, here's a quote to inspire you:

"During my 40s, I thought I couldn't wear red lipstick. I thought it was just too much and I couldn't do it anymore. I don't know why. But now, I'm going to wear red lipstick for as long as I want."
~Andie MacDowell
All the best.png