Seeing Red

Poppy King

As my regular readers know, I love to play with make-up though I really don’t wear much at all. My usual routine is moisturizer with a sunscreen, a brush to the brows, and a sheer, neutral lipstick. When I have a party or special occasion I might add mascara, and a more brightly colored lipstick. As much as I like the idea of eye-shadow, I don’t think it’s flattering on me. I’ve never worn eyeliner and at my age, the risk of poking myself in the eye is real. Foundation is too much work as is blusher. I’m low maintenance, much to an old boss’s chagrin. “You need to wear more make-up.” Jerk. But that was Houston in the 1980s.

I do like a bright lipstick at the holidays and through the grey of winter. The past few months I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect red. What I’m looking for is a true red. Alas, what looks red in the tube turns fuchsia on me within an hour. Ugh.

I’ve learned to try red lipstick on at the department store counter and wear it for at least 30 minutes before I commit to buying it. Otherwise, I’ll just have one more fuchsia lipstick that I won’t wear. Some of the sales clerks tell me a lip liner will help, but it hasn’t worked for me. One suggested putting foundation on my lips first, which would mean I’d have to buy foundation. Eh, no.

Mac Viva Glam 1


M.A.C.’s Viva Glam has been around since 1994; its first spokesperson was RuPaul. The company donates all profits from their Viva Glam line to their AIDS charity, M.A.C AIDs Fund. I actually bought this one. The color is beautiful in the tube. It turns fuchsia-ish on me.

Chanel’s Rouge Allure Velvet La Fascinante


I was so excited to try this because in the tube, and on the salesclerk, it was a pretty, deep red. Alas, after about 20 minutes, it looked fuschia. It’s just as well because it wasn’t cheap.

Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in 60 Excès.

This gloss is a nice color for day. There’s no glitter, just shiny gloss that isn’t too pink on me. It’s smooth, has a slight, unobtrusive fragrance, and lasts for a couple of hours. It’s shiny but not gummy or sticky in the least. This photo from Chanel makes it seem more saturated than it really is.

Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense 21

Guru Makeup Emporium

This lipstick is very pigmented and intense, with some mica (frost? glitter?) in it. It turned very fuchsia very quickly, and just made me look like a clown.

Anna Sui Sui Rouge G 501

I bought this in the Taipei duty free shop. The shape of the lipstick case is beautiful, which is part of why I bought it. It’s fairly sheer, and I like it, though it does start looking deep pink on me. I don’t like the perfume-y smell.

Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani (401)


I finally did some research and for some people, red lipstick just turns fuschia. It’s a chemical reaction, apparently. I decided to go for something oranger, and this lipstick actually works! It goes on very smoothly, and lasts for hours. And it never turned fuchsia. I tried it twice before plunking down more than a lipstick should ever cost, but I’ll actually wear it, and won’t just fling it aside once I see what a pinko it is.

You might also like Can A Feminist Wear Lipstick?

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