Seeing Red

3 years ago by

I remember using makeup for the first time… It was my grandmother’s lipstick. The packaging was quite an atrocity – neon green plastic, adorned with golden roses that would disintegrate after a week of use.

But, inside this bizarre casing was a miracle worker. The lipstick itself was clear with a slight pistachio undertone. But, once applied, it would turn bright red in seconds! And just like that, I, an ugly-5-year-old-duckling, would turn into a soon-to-be-femme-fatale.

I’m kidding here, surely I was cute!

But, the thrill of said transformation left me wistful with questions. What kind of chemicals did they use to make the lipstick turn red? How did the lipstick recognize that it was applied on the lips and ready to be re-colored?? Were chameleons unknown ancestors of makeup??? And most importantly, why did I feel so womanly, so pretty, when I caught this silly, little, red-lipped face of mine in the mirror?

"If I had to teach someone just one thing about lip color, it would be this: Find a lipstick that looks good on your face when you are wearing absolutely no makeup." - Bobbi Brown

Ever since getting over my panda-eye, cat-eye, mega-brow stages of yore, I don’t use makeup much anymore. And, I always encourage our models to strip their faces naked for our shoots, taking inspiration from women who never put a touch of mascara on, even for special occasions. Nothing screams confidence more than zero makeup.

Except for maybe a red lip, for which I will always have a special place in my heart. It’s simultaneously ultra-feminine and takes balls to wear.

Reminiscing on all things sex this month, I wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to this iconic sexy style, and play around with a few variations, all while keeping the face as bare as possible…

"Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together." - Elizabeth Taylor

"Flowers in the city are like lipstick on a woman -- it just makes you look better to have a little color." - Lady Bird Johnson

red makeup atelier dore beauty


Add yours
  • Supposed to be a heart and not a question mark and now I’m making this about me and it should be about Bogdana’s beautiful article goodbye.

  • What blush is on the models cheeks in the first pic?

  • Hey Tracy,

    I believe Katsia used the same product for all three looks, and that would be NARS
    Velvet Lip Glide that we have in the widget. But I’ll double check with her.

    Cheers! xx

  • Katsia D February, 7 2019, 5:06

    Hi Tracy,
    I have used NARS Velvet Lip Glide in “La Palace”. It is a high pigmented product so it stays good and because of its texture it brings glowing effect.

  • My grandma had a very similar lipstick! Only the packaging was gold and the stick itself was green (also with in undertone of pistachio!). I remember asking myself the same questions about how it could turn red, etc. Also, it was nearly imossible to wipe out. Which got me in trouble a few times with my parents and once at school. Growing pains ?

  • How funny!

    I’m pretty sure we’re talking about the same lipstick. Still mystified about the reasoning behind this green -> red transition :)

  • What color is on her lips in the last two photos? Thanks.

  • Hi Anne,
    It’s model’s natural lip color with a bit of transparent gloss on top.

  • Hi,

    Beautiful minimalist make up that brings out natural beauty. Has the red lip look also been done with NARS “La Palace”?


  • Hi Ina,

    Yes, that’s the color Katsia used for the red-lip look :)

  • Looks awesome this is very nice products thank you for sharing with us.

From the Archives

  • Friends!
  • Holiday Gifting
  • This or That
  • Happy Holidays!
  • #AtelierDoreDoes
Holiday Gift Guide, For Your Girlfriends

Holiday Gift Guide, For Your Girlfriends

Magogodi Makhene, Wayétu Moore, female friendship, dore

How to Make Grown Woman Friendships—A Conversation with Wayétu Moore

Curating Copenhagen’s Art Scene: Kunstsalonen

Curating Copenhagen’s Art Scene: Kunstsalonen

atelier dore clothing renewal

Clothing Renewal

Carte Blanche: Turning a Creative Passion into a Business - Clare Vivier, Tina Frey and Ellen Marie Bennett garance dore pardon my french

Carte Blanche: Turning a Creative Passion into a Business

A Weekend With Disposable Magazine

A Weekend With Disposable Magazine

atelier dore 6 designers on creativity moodboard

7 Designers on When They Feel Most Creative

Sophie On Tour

Sophie On Tour

atelier dore studio visit streicher sisters striiike beauty

Three Sisters on Creative Entrepreneurship