Vintage beauty · vintage fashion

L is for Lipstick: the A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

A girl can never have too many lipsticks. Especially when she’s a vintage-loving girl with a passion for the 1940s and 1950s, when they loved a bold lip.

While red was almost everyone’s favourite colour during the 1940s (I’m reliably informed), in the 1950s, pinks, corals, and all manner of other lovely shades were becoming more popular. To learn more about popular make up shades of the 1940s and 1950s, head over to the lovelies at Glamour Daze, a website I have just discovered and plan to visit a LOT.

While my general style veers more towards the 1950s, I’m a massive fan of red lipsticks. But, it needs touching up a lot during the day, meaning I have to carry at least one around with me when I’m out and about. I recently had a clear-out of various handbags I don’t use any more, and came across six that I’d forgotten about. Which was a nice surprise.

This is just some of my collection. The only one of these I’m not hugely fond of is the Bourjois rouge edition velvet, as it’s more of a sheer wash of colour, and I like my colours a bit bolder.



L-R in this photo:

MAC – Von Teese

Chanel – Arthur

Charlotte Tilbury – So Marilyn

MAC – Russian Red

Avon – Red

NYX – Pure Red

Bourjois – Rouge Edition Velvet

MAC – Ruby Woo

Avon – Red Kiss

Maybelline – Red Alert


And here they are in the same order, to give an idea of colour.

I have a mix of matte and glossier lipsticks, although I must admit I prefer matte lipsticks, as I find they last longer (although that might be because most of my matte lipsticks are by MAC, which generally last longer than some of the cheaper brands).

And on a related note – if you’re going to use the Maybelline 24-hour lipstick in the photo above, be aware it really does last an awfully long time. Be prepared to scrub your lips at the end of the day to get rid of it all (and use the balm it comes with – it’s there for a reason and your lips will feel awfully dry without it).

The very first red lipstick I bought that wasn’t immediately thrown to the back of the drawer never to be seen again (my look used to be very ‘smokey eye, nude lip’) was MAC’s Ruby Woo, after I saw another blogger talk about it as a must-have for vintage loving girls. As soon as I put it on for the first time, I loved the look, and now I’m rarely seen without red lips (and when I don’t wear it, people ask what’s wrong/if I’m feeling ill, especially now my hair’s so much darker).

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My love is so well-known, that friends and family now buy me red lipstick as gifts. My Chanel is from my lovely friend Coco (I see what she did there), and I think of it as my good luck lipstick, as I wore it to all of my interviews for my current job.

My Charlotte Tilbury lipstick was a wedding gift from two lovely friends, Jacquie, and Candice from The Make Up Box, who you might remember from our Wedding Stress Goes Global post a while ago.

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Another great thing about my everyday make up is that it works rather well as an evening look too, so it’s nice and easy to head straight out after work if I need to. Which is rare nowadays, but still. It’s good to know!

So, as someone who wears an awful lot of red lipstick, here are my top five tips:

  1. Try before you buy – you might find a colour that looks great on your friend, but might hate it when you use it. If she won’t lend it to you, and you want to avoid throwing it in a drawer never to be seen again, try out a tester first.
  2. Use lipliner first. I have rather thin lips, and using lipliner helps me to see what I’m actually working with. It’ll also stop the colour bleeding into the skin around your lips.
  3. Experiment with different shades and textures – you might find something you love.
  4. Get used to husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends not wanting to kiss you when you’re wearing your lipstick. The Boy hates my red lipstick obsession, as it means he has to contend with either a very red mouth himself, or kissing me on the forehead. Which, I’ll be honest, feels a bit weird. This is after our pre-wedding photoshoot, where there was a LOT of smooching. Although he looks peeved, I can’t help but feel a little smug at how well my Ruby Woo lipstick stayed on.406
  5. And finally, if you’re still not sure red lipstick is for you, why not try mixing it with a bit of lip balm (or try the Bourjois lipstick above), to give you a hint of vintage-y goodness without going all out.




2 thoughts on “L is for Lipstick: the A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

  1. I tend to lean more towards darker reds (avoids the Joker look, since I also regularly wear waaaaay too much eyeliner) but I can’t argue with the power of a good lipstick! It can both finish an outfit, or just straight up make one!


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