Lovely Look: Red… Delicious

by Sonja on January 22, 2009

“Wear red lipstick with minimal other make up. That makes it look fresh and modern rather than with a full face of make up. The right shade will light all your features, the wrong red won’t. You will be able to see the difference.” ~Poppy King

Red lipstick is such a classic. To wear it with minimal makeup really makes a strong statement. It’s especially good this time of year when our faces are a bit paler (starved of sun in winter months). That contrast and pop of color is gorgeous. I don’t do red lips everyday, but I definitely go for red when I want more drama.

Many Coveted readers, including my fabulous sister, and beloved Coveted blogger Jennine, love the look of red lips, so I thought it only apropos to write about this lovely look.

I found the perfect person to share some insights with us. Poppy King rocks the red. And she helps the rest of us do the same with her brilliant line Lipstick Queen and its unique, decadent, pigment-rich lip colors. I started wearing her lipsticks fifteen years ago when she had the brand simply known as Poppy.

She was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about this look and share some fantastic tips. Check out the interview and some recommended reds, including a stunning matte…

Wearing a strong red lip is a distinct statement. What do you think it says about a woman?
Poppy: It says that you are here on this earth and willing to be seen and to see others. It an immediate symbol of being willing to participate in the world.

Why do you choose to wear red? Would you say this is your signature color?
Poppy: For all the reasons above. It makes me feel capable beyond my limitations and ready. It is my signature that I use to encourage women to share in the power of red lipstick.

Keeping a red lip looking great can be a bit of a technical challenge with the color wearing off, the possibility of bleeding, and such and so forth. Do you have any tips for maintaining the look?
Poppy: Apply a red lipstick once, blot to set and then apply another light coat. You can use some concealer around the edges of your lips to stop bleeding. I also have an Invisible liner, which is totally transparent lip liner that stops any bleeding.

What recommendations do you have for creating the perfect red lip and for choosing the right shade?
Poppy: Wear red lipstick with minimal other make up. That makes it look fresh and modern rather than with a full face of make up. The right shade will light all your features, the wrong red won’t. You will be able to see the difference.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Poppy: If you aren’t used to wearing a red lipstick then wear it around the house a bit to get used to it. As you would new shoes!

What’s next for Lipstick Queen? What can we expect in 2009?
Poppy: Next up is something I call “Illusion Gloss” which I have designed to make your lips look fuller……and then there is even more after that, so stay tuned!

Recommended Reds

Red Sinner. I received samples of two gorgeous reds that I instantly fell for. One is Red Sinner (awesome name) from her Sinner collection. No need to repent or throw stones at these sinners. These are heavenly matte lipsticks with loads of pigment. Unlike most mattes, they have an unusually creamy texture, are comfortable to wear, and non-drying. And instead of a dull look, they manage to have a luminosity, looking sort of lit from within. Red Sinner is a total sexy, “pinup” red – all Betty Page and Marilyn Monroe. The color is very opaque and rich. It seems to have a neutral undertone, neither blue- or orange-based so it should work with most any skin tone. There are nine more Sinners, including a coral, pinks, berries, and nudes. $18 each.

Tinted Treatment. The other red I tried has a completely different formula and look. It’s her Tinted Treatment that comes in one universal shade and is vitamin-E based so it’s very moisturizing. It has much less pigment but enough to make a statement. It’s a sheer wash of sensual color that stains the lips a sultry red, like what women created in the day when they used lemons to stimulate and stain their lips – but without the discomfort I would imagine that would involve. I like that this is on the subtle side but still very sexy. It makes you look like you just took a bite of forbidden fruit. $20.

Coming Up

Illusion Gloss comes out next month. It’s a lip plumper that promises not to sting and to have the right balance of shine and shimmer. I haven’t tried this but I definitely want to, because it looks really different from most plumpers on the market. Everything’s available at Barney’s and on Poppy’s site.

Do Tell

So do tell. Do you love to make a statement with red lipstick? What shades do you love? Got any tips to share?

P.S. Check out our new, regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some fantastic beauty deals, from companies like Benefit,, and Origins.

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Retro Chick January 22, 2009 at 2:51 am

I’ve still never really managed to find a red that suits me. I love the look and just wish I could find one!

I also have red hair right now and I’m never sure if I can make red lipstick work with red hair!

Vixel January 22, 2009 at 3:29 am

I have decided I’m going red lipstick shopping this weekend, I have a few but none of them are perfect, I intend to find the perfect red before Saturday is over!

Laurie January 22, 2009 at 5:43 am

I searched long and hard for a decent red lipstick. I love the Mac one in ‘Russian Red’. It recently ran out and now I armed with Nars ‘Red Lizard’.

I find wearing a red lippie cheers me up these days :)

Frankie - Swell Vintage January 22, 2009 at 5:51 am

You can’t beat a good red - instantly makes you feel sexier and more glamorous! x

Ashe Mischief January 22, 2009 at 6:40 am

Like many of the ladies, I have had a hard time with red lipsticks. Finding a good shade isn’t necessarily the problem, but often I don’t want the work required of lipstick itself (I’m more of a gloss lady).

A vibrant red lip gloss is very difficult to find! The closest I have found is Stila’s lip glaze in Cranberry, which is beautiful, though a bit darker than the cherry red I want…

jennine January 22, 2009 at 7:26 am

oh my… i couldn’t wait to wear red lipstick… i’d always borrow my mom’s when she wasn’t looking, then when i was finally allowed to wear makeup, the first thing i bought was red lipstick.

i find that once you go red, it seems that no other lipstick is easier… it sounds strange, but my reds tend to stay on better than the more neutral colors.

i really love lipstick queen packaging, though i’ve never tried it. i’ll have to get my hands on a tube, becuase this sounds like a great brand.

Birdie January 22, 2009 at 8:59 am

I may have to get my hands on the tinted treatment and try that out. I feel like stains (and like Ashe said, glosses) are always appropriate!

meligrosa January 22, 2009 at 10:05 am

Im so used to the bold eyes-nude lipstick. I love it, because Irather do more eye details than lips, but once in a while, Ill tone down the eyes and wear a super fuschia pink or red, at least once a year. smooch!! nice post I’d def love to try it out♥

Tami January 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I LOVE the shu uemura rouge unlimited crystal shine in RD 174, but that one isn’t classic matte red, as it’s a bit shimmery. I’ve had a hard time finding reds for my skin tone, so this is my best match. I also like their red lip glosses too. Their bestseller seems to be the RD 165 (universal red).

Sonja January 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm

❤ Retro Chick, finding the right red can involve a lot of testing out colors. It’s best to do it in person with an experienced makeup artist to help sort through the shades with you. I’m not sure how it would work with your red hair. I would guess that it would depend on how bright the shade is. Julianne Moore has red hair and wears red lips very well, especially since she has such fair skin.
❤ Vixel, I’m glad to see that we’ve spurred you into action. Have fun shopping! Let us know how the hunt turns out.
❤ Laurie, you’re right. Mac and Nars have a wonderful selection of excellent reds. And I agree that wearing red is a real picker upper.
❤ Frankie, I couldn’t agree with you more!
❤ Ashe Mischief, try the Lip Treatment. It’s a total cherry red and easier to wear than lipstick. My challenge is that red lipstick wears off for me, because I have a terrible lip-licking habit (I need to go to Lip Lickers Anonymous). The Lip Treatment is nice, because even after I’ve inevitably and unintentionally licked it off, it still leaves a vibrant red behind since it stains the lips.
❤ Jennine, what a great story! I was way more timid when I first started wearing makeup and got more bold as time went on. That’s funny about your experience with wearability. It often wears off for me and then I look really pale, because I’ve kept my other makeup minimal. So I tend to wear red more when I have the time to properly apply it, like Poppy recommends, in a couple coats with blotting in between.
❤ Birdie, the Tinted Treatment is very cool. It’s more subtle but still bold.
❤ Meligrosa, I usually do the same thing (bold eyes-nude lip) so I’m also writing about that as well. But yes, I do love to shake things up with a bold lipstick, because I love variety. :)

SOS! January 22, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I’ve never heard of this brand, but seems cool! I’ll try it out if I ever stumble upon it.

I’m a huge fan of redlipstick, it really does make a statement, and I think it suits everyone. It’s just a matter of feeling confident to carry it off.

I’m also a MACaholic hehe. I have a massive collection of lipsticks here from MAC! The red musts from MAC that I swear by are Russian Red, Ruby Woo, & MAC red.

xx-LJ from SOS!

Sonja January 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm

❤ Tami, thanks for the tip! I haven’t used Shu Uemura for a long time. I’m gonna have to see what’s they’ve got these days.
❤ LJ from SOS!, Lipstick Queen is great – harder to find since it’s only at Barney’s stores and her website. But it’s worth a trip to check it out. Barney’s has a lot of amazing makeup that you can’t find elsewhere. Thanks for sharing your Mac loves!

violetville January 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm

I am constantly thinking that a partnership between Tina Poppy and Poppy King could not go wrong in any way.

p.s. LAURIE, i too am addicted to NARS ‘red lizard’

and also to Laura Mercier’s “Poppy” :)

Sonja January 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm

❤ Hey, Violetville! I’d never heard of Tina Poppy until you mentioned her. I just took a listen and I think you’re onto something there.

jennine January 23, 2009 at 1:26 am

heehee, violeteveille IS tina poppy! personally, i had to do a doubletake because tina and poppy king look a lot alike, i thought it was ms. violetville for a moment.


AnNa January 23, 2009 at 1:42 am

i LOVE red lipstick - easy to put and yet some style in a minute!

i am going for natural, biological ones - and even they are not that expensive and stay on very long time. the brand is SANTE (deep red), but coming from Germany, I don’t know if it exists somewhere else. the only thing about it: you need to have very smooth lips before putting on the red… I put on honey during the night to get them smooth. and you?

p.s.: I love the site, I regularly take a look and love outfit and beauty tips!

Sonja January 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

❤ Jennine, I feel like such a boob. I had no idea. That’s so cool!
❤ AnNa, I haven’t tried Sante but the name sounds familiar. I’ll have to give it a try next time I’m at a health food store. I haven’t tried honey on the lips. I’d never heard of that. I’m afraid it would never have a chance to work on me, because I’d just lick it off! I really like Sara Happ’s Lip Scrub, which is a sugar scrub. But I’ll have to try the honey and see if I can keep it on long enough to see if it does any good.

lisa January 24, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Great interview! I remember reading about Poppy lipsticks in Seventeen magazine back in elementary school (wow, that’s going way back!).

violetville January 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm

- SONJA, did you actually find me singing online? amazing. it was like another life!! i even dyed my hair black back then!! :)
- JENNINE, hee hee, we do look alike! sweet.

Sonja January 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm

❤ Thanks, Lisa! But stop it with the the Seventeen mag in grade school! You’re making me feel old! ha!ha!
❤ Violetville, I Googled you and found some sample tracks I could play. They’re great! Are you still singing?

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