From Applying to Buying, Everything About the Perfect French Red Lipstick

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Perhaps there is no bigger cliche about Parisian women than a nude, dewily natural face, with air-dried hair, and, of course, the essential: red lips. Le rouge à lèvres, as they call it, is the most seductive yet mysterious final touch to any look, complementing every skin color, every age.  As Diane von Furstenberg once said, “lipstick is to the face as punctuation is to a sentence.” And the French couldn’t agree more. It’s the one key element that turns every woman into a superwoman. With unique personalized shades and forms of wearing red, the statement lip is just fierce and feminine enough, ready to take on the world. From the days of Brigitte Bardot to today’s style, like that of fashion designer and businesswoman, Jeanne Damas, the red lip is a true veteran in the cosmetics department.

In the age of masking and Zoom meetings, the red lip has gained a new meaning: both a personal and a public one. Town and Country reported in December of 2020 that women were still wearing red lipstick,  despite having to slap a mask over it. One woman said in that article, ” When you put on lipstick, it’s the opposite of putting on sweatpants. It makes you feel empowered, ready to conquer.”

Others are sporting a red lip on Zoom meetings, giving themselves and their images a little colorful lip on screen. Whatever be the case, the red lip is still very much in style. To wear red lipstick as the expert femmes françaises do, it’s important not to overdo it and wear it as if you do so casually every day.

Here’s everything you need to know about applying lipstick and some buying options as well.

How to wear le rouge à lèvres:

Red lipstick requires minimal effort. Dewy skin and bare eyes are often the way to go, maybe with a touch of mascara. Parisian women never put heavy makeup on both their eyes and lips.

How to apply le rouge à lèvres:

If you opt to bring attention to the lip, dab the lipstick onto your lips and press them together. Feel free to fill in the lines to the tips of your lips for an edgier look, or simply tap some red in the center for a look as if you’ve just been kissed or ate a yummy croissant. You can also apply lipstick with the tips of your fingers for a casual, more natural effect.

French-approved rouge à lèvres:

Ilia Colorblock Lipstick in Grenadine, $28: Ilia’s brand ethos is focused on mindful cosmetics and natural ingredients  This option is formulated with castor seed oil, mango seed butter and apricot oil to plump and soften the lips. Its velvety texture seamlessly glides on and sets to a creamy finish.

red lip

La Bouche Rouge FOLIE, $37: This new French brand has entered the market with sustainable and clean beauty in mind. In fact, it puts lipsticks into a refillable leather case to avoid plastic packaging, making it entirely reusable with other shades of lipsticks available from the brand. Lipstick cases are also customizable to make them truly your own. While there are tons of red options from this brand, folie is the red really what you!

Vapour Beauty Velvet Gloss in Reckless, $26: This plant-derived brand has created an ward-winning, natural-looking tint for your lips. Infused with rosehip seed oil and nourishing, antioxidant-rich organic green tea, this beautiful tint also features notes of plum, apricot and fig.

vapour beauty red

Tom Ford SCARLET LEATHER, $55: Tom Ford knows sexy and he also knows the perfect shade of seductive red. This lipstick has a matte finish that a glass of wine definitely can’t wash off.

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet No.5, $38: A red Chanel lipstick is like your little black dress. Always in style and always classy.

Dior Addict Lip Maximizer in Cherry, $35: When you want to avoid matte and go for a glossy shine DIOR’s got your lips. The hydrating formula offers an additional plumping effect as well.

red lip dior

Revlon FIRE & ICE, $8.49: With a smooth application and silky look, Revlon was a favorite of everyone from Frida Kahlo to model Ashley Graham.

Estée Lauder DROP DEAD RED, $32: French, voluminous and lustrous, this red will have you ready for any occasion.

CODE 8 Glazé Lip Lacquer in Gala, $35: This vegan and paraben-free French lip gloss is enriched with vitamins to keep your lips healthy and hydrated. Gala is the brand’s cult favorite tint, a universally flattering red with blue undertones which suits all complexions and creates the illusion of whiter teeth.

code8 red lip

Clarins JOLI ROUGE, $30: A moisturizing formula with a satin finish, this lipstick with make your lips look comfortable and sexy.

Clé de Peau Beauté, Radiant Lip Gloss in Fire Ruby 8, $38: This Japanese, French-inspired brand, is Martha Stewart approved. Their lipgloss is formulated with a unique blend of oils and powders that create the illusion of a plumper pout.

red lip gloss

Yves Saint Laurent ROUGE PUR, $38: This limited-edition lipstick is sleek and just a real red-red. No pink or dark undertones, it’s just the perfect red.

Rouje JEANNE, 25€: Jeanne Damas, the french designer and founder of the label Rouje, knows everything to be a parisienne and her newly launched line of lipsticks is further proof that she knows and struts her stuff!

Featured image credit: Stock Photos from PearlWinchester/Shutterstock

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