Red lipstick is the best example of a double-edged sword in the makeup world: use it well, and everyone will remember your iconic look; fail to utilise it, and no one will forget how badly you pulled it off. Its fearsome reputation makes it a product that most people fear using.
Does that mean we should just avoid red lipstick to prevent a potential disaster? Of course not!
We spoke to Anton, leading shu uemura atelier artist in Taiwan, when he was in Singapore to promote shu uemura’s latest launch of RD163, the ultimate red lipstick shade for Asian skin tones, and got him to shed some light on common questions about red lippies. Read on to find out the answers to all your questions!
Can everyone pull off red lipstick? Are certain skin tones better suited for red lips?
The one and only reason we devised RD163 is because it’s meant to be the red that fits all Asian skin tones, so no matter whether you are on the fair side or the tan side, RD163 is meant to fit all these people.
We actually did a study over 3,000 Asian women and from that study we carefully calibrated the perfect balance of blue and yellow undertones. So with RD163, the problem is solved, and everyone can pull off red lipstick because it’s really meant to be the one red that fits Asian skin.
How do we choose a red lipstick that suits us?
First, it’s important to understand your own skin undertones, whether it’s more on the cool side or the warm side.
Let’s say if you have a yellow undertone, the last digit that you pick from shu uemura should be from 0 to 4. If your skin has cool undertones, you should choose digits 5 to 9.
Will your skin condition at that time affect what kind of red suits you?
No, your skin condition at the time doesn’t affect the kind of red that suits you. It really depends (only) on your skin undertone.
What about the texture of the red lipstick?
There are two major factors affecting the type of red lipstick that you choose. The first is the latest lipstick trend: if you are following the latest trend, it’s currently matte lipsticks. The second factor is your underlying lip condition: if it is dry, then you should pick a more moisturising texture.
Having acne or dry patches of skin on your face should, however, not affect the texture of the red lipstick that you choose. that is because before you put on lipstick, you should always apply foundation first. Without a good base, a good foundation, it is not very appropriate to pull off a red lipstick look.
This also reveals another insight when it comes to buying red lipstick. There are some people who have yellow undertones, but prefer buying foundation that is very fair, fairer than their original skin colour. In that case, you should use your go-to foundation as a basis to choose your lipstick shade from, instead of using your base undertone, because you always apply foundation on top of your base undertone.
Any tips on swatching lipstick shades to make sure it is a good match for us?
I actually recommend not to swatch on your hand, because your hand is inherently fairer than your lips. Also, the skin on the arm and the lips are different, and lips already come with a base colour.
My advice is to just directly test on the lips and see in the mirror if the colour fits you.
What if we have concerns that applying testers on our lips is not very hygienic?
Sure, it’s actually not that big an issue if you choose to swatch on your hand.
What you can do is to select 2 of your favourite red lipsticks based on your undertone. Then how you further fine tune is to choose the hue of the red lipstick, if you prefer a more saturated colour or more transparent colour. Based on that, if you still don’t like both shades, you can choose the middle shade and then pick a hue that you like.
If we apply red lipstick, is it better to apply light eye makeup? Or do you recommend that we create a bold look all the way?
It depends on the nature of your job. Let’s say if you are in the arts or beauty industry, then of course you can go bold with your choice of eye makeup with red eyeshadow to pair your red lipstick.
However, there is no restriction on the type of eyeshadow that you can use. Most people nowadays prefer to stick to nude, neutral shades for eyeshadow. You can still use those shades, and pair with graphic red eyeliner for a bold look.
If you work in a more conservative industry, you can actually use nude eyeshadows for the base, and a red eyeshadow shade as an accent at the end of your eyes. Together with a red lipstick, this would be a more appropriate look.
Which is your personal favourite Rouge Unlimited shade?
My personal favourite shade is RD163, and that’s not because it’s the one that we are promoting at the moment. I genuinely like RD163, especially in the matte texture.
You can play up this shade in different ways through the application methods. For example, if the person I am applying makeup on cannot accept a lip colour that is so bright – I can use different tools to show different lip looks. It also doesn’t matter whether the person has warm or cool undertones, because this red fits all.
Another great thing about this lipstick shade is that no matter the condition of the skin and teeth, this shade of red brightens up your complexion, and even gives you whiter teeth. It’s only this colour that can create such a magical effect!
Are there any other shades that you also like?
I also like RD197. The number 9 in the middle means that it is a deeply-saturated colour, and the number 7 is for cool undertones. The combination of a dark and a cool red makes it appealing for me.
What kind of looks can you create with RD197? What kind of occasions would this be best pulled off at?
RD197 is suitable to be worn at important events such as evening galas, where the indoor lighting is more yellow and can be balanced out with the cool tone of RD197.
If you choose another yellow lip tone under yellow lighting, your lipstick cannot be a focal point in your makeup, and you will just end up blending in.
If you are outside with bright, natural light, I will recommend shades that have the last number between 0 to 4. It is still deeply saturated, but it has warmer tones.
Although the digits are similar (193 and 197), you can see the difference in tones:
Anton’s journey as a makeup artist began at age 13 when he came across a makeup artist’s kit filled with shu uemura products. He then registered to be a participant at the shu uemura makeup competition, that he won, that is how his career started with the brand. He grew fascinated with how infinite shades of colour have the power to bring out the beauty in each woman. He believes art has three qualities: truth, kindness and beauty.
“The technique must have truth. The purpose must be kind. And the result must be beautiful.” As the leading
shu uemura atelier artist in Taiwan today, Anton remains devoted to his passion for makeup artistry. His favourite makeup tip is to use cleansing oil to clean the face before applying makeup. “After all,” he says, “beautiful skin starts with cleansing and ends with cleansing.”