The Color of Passion: Wearing Red

Studio 5 Beauty and Style Contributor Holly Stone says it’s all in the balance!


The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. Red is in the top three of most popular food colors. Red is often used in restaurant decorating schemes because it is an appetite stimulant. Red cars are popular targets for thieves and are ticketed more frequently than any other color of car. It is also the color of love. Red is the symbol of life (blood) and, for this reason, it’s the color worn by brides in China. If you’re feeling powerful, wearing red lets everyone know you’re a force to be reckoned with. If you’re feeling just so-so, wearing it can transform your attitude. But can you be comfortable in so rash a color? And how do you wear this color? It’s all in the balance!

Choosing the Right Shade

There are 2 different undertones in the color red: blue and orange. Blue-red is more cool and orange-red is more warm. A general visual: Cool colors are those you would see at Easter time, warm colors are seen at Thanksgiving. To identify which color temperature would look the best on you, examine your personal coloring. Your personal coloring is made up of your hair color, your skin tone, and your eye color. If 2 of those 3 traits are dominant towards warm/cool, that color temperature will be most flattering on you. If you are still unsure of which red to wear, hold both a blue-red and an orange-red up to your face and go with the one YOU are most comfortable wearing.

If you feel a solid display of red (blue-red is considered “true” red), try wearing red as an accent: a scarf, shoes, a purse, jewelry, hair jewelry, a belt or a shirt/sweater. Also break away from the traditional paring of red and black. Try wearing red with chocolate, navy, and camel.

Too much red can be intimidating. Red can also appear confrontational – think of matadors – so avoid red when carrying out negotiations, as it may work against you. It can also make the wearer appear heavier. To soften the look of a dominant red, add another neutral:

• Your best metallic

• White, ivory, or pearls

• For business, charcoal gray or camel

Can Redheads wear Red?

You CAN wear red! In most cases (though not all) “red” hair is more orange than red and these two colors (red and orange) work beautifully together. It will not clash if you follow your personal coloring to determine if you can wear cool red or warm red. Different shades of red can be complimentary and add interest.

Red lipstick can look great on a redhead; the trick is to get one with the same tone as your hair. If you have orangey red hair, go with the same lipstick; if you have darker red hair, go with the blue based red. You can tell the difference by comparing different reds, side by side.

A redhead can look stunning in the right shade of red! So if you’re a redhead and you love red, wear it with conviction and expect to be noticed.

10 Tips to wearing Crimson Lips

1. Match your skin tone

You must first determine if you are cool or warm. Blue reds work best on a pale face, while olive skin calls for orange/brown red shades. If your teeth are yellow, a red lipstick with blue undertones will make them look whiter.

2. Test the color

Test the color on your actual lips. Most women try out lipstick by putting it on their hands. Your hands are often a different shade than your face and can be misleading.

3. Trust your intuition

If you don’t know where to start when choosing a red, trust the shades you are first attracted to. We are often drawn to the colors that look best on us. Still unsure? I recommend Kevyn Aucoin’s Sheer Red ( as a shade almost anyone can wear.

4. Determine your shine level

Glossy or matte? A moister lip looks more modern (Try L’Oreal for moisturizing lipstick). A matte formula stays on your lips longer and won’t feather (MAC Dubonnet-Nordstrom or Experiment to find the right one for you.

5. Ease into it

Too timid to go for all-out red? Try a more subtle gloss or stain. I suggest Vincent Longo’s Liquid Kiss or Tarte’s Rhett & Scarlett ((

6. Give yourself time

Give yourself time to get used to it. If red lipstick is a huge departure from your normal look, make an effort to glance at yourself in the mirror as often as you can on the first day you wear this color. This will help your eyes adjust to seeing yourself that way.

7. Use a neutral linerAlthough using a lip liner in a different shade than your lipstick sounds counterintuitive it gives you the freedom to fill out thin lips. Choose a shade that is close to your natural lip color.

8. Apply it correctly

Line and fill in lips with liner. Apply lipstick from the tube or using a lip brush (which eases color into tiny lip lines) over the liner.

9. Keep other makeup subtle

While smoky eyes and crimson lips look great for a fancy, evening event, everyday red lips should be accompanied by a subtle, natural-looking face.

10. Be brave!

Wear the “eternally chic” look of red lips matched with red nails.


Holly Stone is no stranger to business and the beauty industry. Starting as a model at the age of 14 she decided that she preferred to be behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera. She choreographed fashion shows, selected models for events and assisted her agency with make-up.

Her skill for make-up artistry quickly became recognized and the demand for her talent launched a career that would take her all over the country. She received a bachelor’s degree, and took a position as VP of Merchandising for There she learned the business skills of resourcing, buying, marketing, and negotiating. She moved on to train in Los Angeles at AWARD, a leading make-up artist school in the west.

Today, with her business skills and her passion for the art of make-up, she manages a successful career as an educator and a veteran make-up artist of 16 years. She works in various media with actors/actresses, models, brides, and photographers. She is a consultant to several cosmetic distributors, spas, and salons where she teaches application and technique. She is a nationally recognized educator of cosmetic application and is a personal image consultant to people ranging from high position corporate figures to the every day woman.

Holly is the owner of Re-Creation Studio, School of Media Make-up Artistry and a regular contributor on Studio 5. For information about her classes, visit

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