From the Beauty Closet

What’s that red?

8 years ago by

Okay, I’m going to come out there and say it…

I’ve found the perfect red. I know, I know, this is a really bold statement to make but I feel confident in it (and if I ever tell you I’ve found something better, just remind me of this post). I took a new red for a test drive, NARS Mysterious Red, (one of those amaze matte lip pencils) and I have never ever in my life been stopped or complimented so many times (even though I like to think that my entire face is really stop-you-in-your-tracks-beautiful, I’m pretty sure it was just my lipstick).

Now listen, I own a LOT of red lipstick. I have shades for summer, for winter, for spring, for fall, for night, for day (I’m bound to be on an episode of Hoarders one of these days). But I really think this is the one. It’s timeless, it’s rich, it’s bold.

I wore it to a beauty event, and when other beauty people are complimenting your lip color, you really know you’ve hit the lipstick jackpot.

I know this is a debate for the ages, so go ahead, tell me your perfect red!

PS: We are going to talk more about red lips & how to make them perfect soon!


Add yours
  • Oooh. I want to see how this compares to the NARS matte lip pencil Red Square now!

  • i love chanel lipsticks: they always have a new cooool shade! :)

  • Yes please! Let’s talk about red lips! I’ve been sticking to the same lipstick from M.A.C. because everything else is a disaster.. You have to be careful what red you chose if you don’t wanna look like a clown, ladies you know what I’m talking about!

    Xoxo! Cory

  • It’s great when you find THE one, isn’t it?

    I’ve found mine in the super cool Ellis Faas brand: it’s “milky lips L201”, it’s inspired by the color of blood (!!!?!), and it’s just the perfect red for my complexion.
    I thought I couldn’t sport red lips, but I am a convert now. There is no better color in the world!!!!

  • Hey there fellow Minnesotan gal! I use to wear Russian Red from MAC every single day but now I am lovin’ Rouge Dior Zinnia Red #743. I can wear it with anything and it stays put ;)

  • Rah trop bien je vais le tenter car j’ai plutôt tendance à accumuler les 100 fautes (ahha petit jeu de mot…), j’en achète pleins pour chaque saison pour finir toujours à ma crème nivéa (oui oui…).
    Donc merci Garance, parfait :)


  • C’est vrai qu’il est sublime ce rouge…
    et ça me fait bizarre de faire partie des premiers à commenter ton article, d’habitude je dois descendre un amas de commentaires pour poster le mien! ;)

  • Ohlala, il faut que je l’essaie! Mat, en plus, j’adore!

  • This one looks good Alex, I’m curious as how it looks on your lips!
    I mostly wear Rose Mythique from Dior, it’s a warm pink colour that just give my lips an extra little oompf, but remains discreet and suits pale skin very well (do you have it in your lipstick collection?)

    She Wears: Fashion Illustration Blog

  • let’s see it on your face! pics please.

  • Un rouge mat que tu décris comme idéal !? Ok, je dois tester ça :)


  • Ok c’est bon, j’achète!

  • C’est vrais que ton rouge est sublime, c’est lui qui m’a accroché avant que je te hèle.

  • Red lips and red nails are the best thing that can happen to a woman. Its fashionable, stylish, sexy, intelligent; everything you want to be, you can become when you have those two or either one.
    My favorite shade of red is one that is subtle. I love the tone of a chapped lip; almost the color you get when you can’t kissing your boyfriend. That is my shade. red but natural.
    I have a new post on my blog: visit me! :)

  • Super sympa, ce rouge.
    En revanche, je ne sais pas s’il m’irait. J’ai souvent l’impression d’être grimée en clown.
    Je suis brune avec un teint plutôt matte, mais avec la grisaille parisienne, le teint devient vite terne.

    Cela dit, j’ai tout récemment trouvé le rouge qui me va et avec lequel je me sens bien, et non ridicule. C’est le Chanel Allure Velvet Matte – couleur La Somptueuse (39). Il coûte relativement cher, mais en même temps, il ne bouge pas ! Pas besoin de remettre du rouge après chaque gorgée d’eau, etc. Tu en as pour ton argent.

  • I think mine’s YSL Glossy Stain in #9 Rouge Laque… One of the first reds I ever purchased!

  • Love Nars!!!!!!
    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

  • would love to try the nars lip pencils! unforntunately we don´t have them here in germany. But congrats of finding the perfect red ;) I currently really love the rouge cancan from Givenchy! it is pretty darn close to perfect for me. has anyone tried it?

  • oh, on a side note, how cool would it be to see the entire Garance Doré Team wearing their favorite red lipstick? I know Garance always looks great with a bold red lip! That would be awesome ;)

  • I second that! I’d love to see everyone wearing their favorite reds, where to buy them, why they chose each on, etc…

  • Nars makes some damn good reds indeed. I actually had heard about this new one and been curious, but you’ve made me much more than that. Might have to run out tomorrow and check it out. One of my favorite reds is actually Nars Heat Wave, a little bright and orange-y, but that’s what makes it so damn fun. It was my all time favorite red, but recently I’ve discovered Maybelline Red Revival which is a deeper classic red, and that’s becoming a favorite too.

  • Wearing red lips is one of my favorite things about being a girl!

  • I must try this one. Nars is incredible make-up. My favorite red is Nars Manhunt…it’s not too dark and thin-lip inducing, it’s not too shiny, not too matte, and kind of just the right brightness.

  • Alex, is it hard to use that lip pencil/stick? In terms of neatness?

    Also I agree with other commenters, please can we see it on our lovely face!


  • I know about Garance photography work and I am a fan but I only started reading this blog last week. Crazy, right? Anyways, I am glad I got myself to follow the blog but I digress.

    I haven´t tried any NARS cosmetics yet until now that I read your post about this pencil. I love red lipstick but I haven´t found the perfect red matte so I will definitely give it a try. xx

  • il a l’air joli mais je suis sure qu’en bonne rouge à lèvres addict tu vas te lasser et tu voudras en changer régulièrement :-)
    sinon moi quand je mets un rouge rouge j’ai l’impression que tout le monde me regarde, c’est un peu too much. D’ailleurs je ne vois jamais personne dans la rue ou le métro avec du rouge. où etes vous toutes ces rouge addicts ?

  • J’ai bien envie de tenter ce rouge à lèvres mat !
    Le mien (contrairement à toi je n’en ai qu’un seul) est aussi un rouge mat, le 201 Yves Saint Laurent, c’est une très belle couleur !
    merci pour ces post beauté : )

  • The perfect red has to have a bit of blue in it. It makes your teeth look whiter!

  • Serge Lutens no2 Expensive, but refillable). Nars Afghan Red is also good

  • I have such a love-hate relationship with red lipstick-I love how it looks, when you just have red lipstick and no other make up on, you know, that whole non-chalance thing. But then if you do that, it has to be applied and reapplied perfectly…something i CANNot do!
    xoxo Alex

  • My favorite red is another Nars lip pencil in the color Ecuador, but of course it’s discontinued. Now I have to be super selective when I use my one favorite lip pencil (much like Elaine on Seinfeld judging if a guy is “sponge-worthy”). But after this, I will head to Sephora and see if this shade works for me.

  • Il a l’air génial! J’aimerais l’essayer! Tu devrais poster une photo de toi avec le rouge sur les lèvres pour qu’on puisse voir avant d’acheter (car oui, je suis très tentée!)

    Sandrine x

  • I adore reds! my all yime classic favourite is the MAC ‘Russian Red’

  • Try the giorgio armani lip pencil, it s a very very crazy one as well!

  • We want to see this beauty on your lips !!!
    Right now, mine is a new one from this fall-winter season : YSL Rouge Couture Rouge néon n°50. Best formula, beautiful orangey-red.

    I also adore a more blue-toned red lipstick : still YSL but rouge the mats the 203 (named rouge rock!). and it’s true Rouge Rocks !

  • i am pretty sure that i have more red lipstick than anyone living on this planet….seriously…it is a problem. i just purchased the nars one you are talking about and i agree it is fabulous….other favorites are ruby woo…lady danger…try mixing those two for the best color!!! xoxoxo

  • I say what you are saying every time I discover “the best red”. I love the Nars matte pencils in Cruella & Dragon Girl and they are probably up there in my top five, but the one that I am absolutely LOVING right now is Armani Rouge Ecstasy in 400. It is just like the original 400, but it stains the lips like a matte but has a little moisture to it. It stays on for hours, don’t get the dreaded “lip ring” from long wear. And the tube is the magnetic like their black tube, but in the most gorgeous red. Love to take it out of my bag.

  • Ladybug by MAC is my favorite daytime red – a bit sheer, not too in-your-face. For night it’s Armani Lip Maestro in 400. Perfection.

  • Le Royale plum de Clarins et le hangUp de MAC, je préfère les couleurs plus framboise (très foncé) que rouge, parfois difficile à porter ! mais je testerais bien le Nars dans une autre couleur !

  • So funny – I just bought one 2 days ago and wore it today for the first time. THE PERFECT RED. Merci Alex.

  • Can you show us the result on you ? Picture required! :)

  • Hi Alex, how does the colour compare to NARS Heat Wave? It looks similar in your photo.

  • I like that one!!! I think I am bit too fair for it though… my favorite is Chanel’s Rouge Allure Velvet (40 la sensuelle). It totally got me through fall fashion week… I put a post up about it and would love for you to check it out if you have time!!!

  • Yes a picture of you wearing it!

    there are sooooo many reds — I look forward to your blog on application because I have a cupid’s bow and it makes so many reds look “aggressive.” I need to learn to apply better.

  • My big Red is Sephora’s cream lip stain, “Always Red.” It’s bold and looks good on various skin tones, I’ve found– I’ve had many of my friends to try it, with success. Stays put for hours, even when eating/drinking…

  • My favourite intense reds are retina-detaching bright: the insanely matte orange Nars Heatwave and the mega-moisturising siren red of Bare Minerals Moxie in Live It Up.

    It’s great how a strong red allows us the rest of our faces to go practically makeup-free (except for a light wash of Nars Orgasm Illuminating Fluid all over – easy peasy), and dispenses with the need even for blusher or mascara.

    We don’t have to actually worry about making it a “perfect lip”, as we’ve perhaps previously – mistakenly – thought.

    Recently, I’ve discovered that the best way for me to wear these two very strong colours are as follows:
    (1) apply lipstick directly from the tube, patting firmly into my lips to deepen the staining process – no lip liner!
    (2) rub your lips together – go on – don’t be shy, just massage that colour into your lips!
    (3) blot lips
    (4) repeat steps (1) to (3) and then finally
    (5) smudge very gently all around the outer edges, so there are no wonky lines or sharp edges – just an intense smudge of colour that stays true all day (no need to re-apply). Or, use a clean cotton-bud to smudge into any hard edges, as per one of the magazine tips I read yesterday

    Applying a strong colour in this way looks like you’ve worn the lipstick all day – except you start off in the morning looking like that. And, because there are no hard lines anywhere, it’s so flattering for any shape of mouth – full, fine, cupid’s bow or not, and won’t age us as nearly as much as a clearly outlined mouth does.

    So, you’ll lose that Cruella de Ville look – unless you’re specifically chasing that look – and instead, have a soft version of a strong red-lip look that never looks worn-out (tired!)…….. only worn-in and a bit loved-up (!) – a bit like the morning-after-mascara look, only for your lips, I guess.

  • Oh – and I forgot to add, if you find the right shade of warm-red and cool-red for you, you will be able to wear just those lipsticks everyday with everything.

    I wear only two shades of red (and another two shades of shocking pink) in all seasons and for all occasions, night and day (in between my lip-balm days… no in-between shades for me).

    It’s saved me from buying so much makeup – although I did buy so much before I finally figured out what really suited me…. why does so much of what we try in the make-up chair that seems to be “The tne”, turn out to be otherwise when we get home?

  • Hello Alex! I want to see your photos, you everyday looks.

  • Alex, that is a great red, now I must try it.

    I’ve been on a quest for the perfect red is never-ending, but I’ve settled on some good ones:

    “Daily” red: “Code Red” gloss by Senna Cosmetics.
    “Black tie” red: “YSL Rouge Pur Couture #20”
    Most Complimented red: “Rouge in Love #181”, Lancome

    I agree with other posters who mentioned that some reds look really aggressive. It’s tough to master a true bold red with a casual outfit without looking like you’re trying too hard.

  • Red lips are great – but Nars isn’t available in every country. Oh and if you’re the kind who wears a bold red lip only occasionally, a more affordable version is called for. Rimmel Lasting Finish in ‘Alarm’ 170 is a bold, long wearing, matte (but not drying!) lipstick that first timers could try! Rimmel products are easier to get hold of in Europe I believe… Not all of us have access to the YSL, Chanel products…!

  • I am sorry, but I do not share your lipstick obsession, and especially red one I find especially unattractive and aging. Nothing or a little of natural pink lip gloss works best for me.

  • pink dessert September, 26 2013, 4:57 / Reply

    Mon rouge à lèvre parfait c’est celui que je me suis fait confectionné sur mesure ici:

  • Gniii I love it so much, I bought it maybe a month ago because I had the purple one and I wanted it in red !! I agree with you everybody is giving compliments when I’m wearing it/them !! They have really beautiful colours and the texture is just perfect ! You don’t feel like you are going to make marks everywhere ! And my Boyfriend is happy about it because I don’t mark is face anymore with my lipstick !!

  • Bobbi Brown’s Burnt Red is fab for me. It goes on smoothly, makes the lips feel moisturized, and best of all, when it starts to fade (after a good few hours) it still looks great!

  • Now is RIMMEL KATE MOSS N° 111 the matt one..I have followed the suggestion of Katherine Walsh of Coty….see her interview on INTOTHEGLOSS..ohhhh..I would talk for hours about red lispstick…

  • Super ce rouge il a l’air vraiment très beau !

    Moi je prend soit celui de make up forever soit celui de yves saint laurent ! ils sont géniaux et tiennent vraiment longtemps !

    Bisous à toi !

  • I love MAC Ruby Woo.

  • Definitely my fav recently! A retro matte red

  • I love the NARS lip pencils (and their soft touch shadow pencil)! They mean even an idiot like myself can apply lipstick and eyeliner and not look like a clown! :-)

    I’ve been using the NARS Satin Lip pencil in Luxembourg this summer (strong watermelon red).

  • Bernadette September, 26 2013, 12:54 / Reply

    I like “Ravishing Rouge” by Maybelline, Superstay. It is matte, but it doesn’t dry out my lips, what matte lipsticks definitely tend to do. The colour is great, it’s easy to apply, it doesn’t smudge and it it not expensive. So you can try it out without spending a fortune…
    Another choice would be “L’Absolu Rouge” by Lancôme (the Kate Winslet edition), but beware – this one is fierce!!! And you have to be super careful not to smudge it.

  • For me, I love Dr Hauschka lipstick in red quartz. It’s sheer so it’s a no brainier. I don’t worry about it being too much. I prefer natural brands for lipsticks because I know most of it get eaten!!!

  • j’aime le Vendôme de chez Chanel!

  • My fave summer coral red is Stila’s Valentina. It’s so pretty.

  • OMG, Nars pencil lipsticks are crazy. I bought one of them this summer (color Mexican rose) and it’s amazing, almost indelible. I love it, and I would like to buy more colors. You definitively comfort me in my idea! By the way, I don’t know if you experience the same thing with this lipstick (the indelible characteristic) and if you have tips to remove it properly, but I would like to know if it’s the case!

  • I have this red pencil. Yes it’s amazing. And I have Lady Danger by Mac. I get TONS of compliments in that color. Garance that’s better than the Nars color. Pls try it if you haven’t already!

  • My red is MAC’s Russian Red. Classic. But if I want dark, I also do Gash by Urban Decay.


  • J’utilise les crayons Clinique dont je suis déjà très contente mais j’essaierais bien ceux de Nars …

  • MAC Spice It Up forever.

  • pour moi c’est NARS Luxembourg :)

  • Je porte Dragon girl de la même collection depuis 6 mois
    résultat ? on m’arrête dans la rue pour me demander et je ne me maquille quasiment plus ….. car il fait tout !

    ps = j’ai 47 ans !

  • Le Red-y To Wear de chez Clinique est une merveille aussi!!! Sinon, le crayon à lèvres rouge 8 D de chez Sephora est super pour le quotidien et passe-partout… ;)

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