The power of red lips

By Gabriela Marichal, intern

The color red is often associated with passion, love and power. When worn on the lips, it’s a statement to what we want to feel like – and portray – to the world. 

Red lipstick holds up to more than a beauty standard, its history and significance transforms it into a statement. Cleopatra, ruler of ancient Egypt, used crushed up insects to paint her lips a crimson hue. The coloring material, called cochineal, is still used by makeup brands to this day. For the Egyptian ruler, this meant she held the power. 

Throughout history, red lipstick has become an iconic element in figures of power, both in real life and in fictional depictions. See, for example, Betty Boop, the cartoon character that became a sexual symbol. Elizabeth Taylor, on the other hand, used red lipstick to give herself a little boost of confidence; “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together”, she once said. There’s countless iconic moments involving red lipstick. It’s influence on femininity, and poise in general, is undeniable. 

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

In a way, wearing red lipstick means owning up to the power we are capable of having within our circumstances. It’s recognizing what we’re capable of. When it comes to confidence, it’s seizing the power of our own sexuality. A sexuality that, mostly for women, has been taken away from us in so many instances.

“Name an archetype of femininity, and it’s likely associated with red lipstick”, said beauty director Laura Regensdorf, in an article for Vogue. For many women, and men, wearing red on the lips is a leap of conviction. It looks pretty, sure, but it’s an affirmation within ourselves that everything is possible. It can make us feel unstoppable. 

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Classic red lipsticks 

  1. MAC – Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo
Saks Fifth Avenue

b. Chanel – Rogue Coco Lip Colour in Gabrielle

Saks Fifth Avenue

c. Fenty Beauty – Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored

Fenty Beauty

d. Lancome – L’Absolu Rogue Lipstick in Isabella


e. Lime Crime – Velvetines Lipstick in Red Velvet

Lime Crime

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