If you'd told me when I was 25 that I would get married wearing bright red lipstick, I would probably have laughed in your face… and then quickly reapplied my beloved pale pink lipgloss. I love, love, LOVE red lipsticks now, but I came to them relatively late in life: whilst I've been obsessed with make-up since I was a teenager, my younger self favoured emphasising my eyes with smoky shadows and keeping my lips ‘natural’.
In my twenties, you couldn't have wrestled me away from my trusty Nars Lip Lacquer in Chelsea Girls – a thick, peachy-pink, gloriously gloopy gloss in a cute little pot that I’d buy religiously from Harvey Nichols. But when, in my thirties (inspired, randomly, by Cheryl Cole’s fuchsia lips on The X Factor!), I started wearing more vibrant hues, I was hooked. The vivid, matte shades I was drawn to felt more grown-up, more sophisticated and more in line with the vintage glamour I love. Suddenly, all the super-shiny glosses I used to wear felt too sticky, too jammy and too teenage. Bright statement lips became – and have stayed – a key part of my look.
Nowadays, whilst I do flirt with pale, ’60s-style pinks and I’ll always have a soft spot for a flattering peach, I generally don’t feel like myself unless my lips are loud and proud in vampy reds or electric pinks. And as much as I love the pinks, my go-to for instant glamour, confidence and my signature look will always be red.
So, it’s no surprise that I’ve tried a lot of red lipsticks in the past decade. And whilst many of them haven’t worked for me (there are two particular shades that look AMAZING on my friends who wear them, but are total fails on me), there’s nothing quite like the joy of finding The One – that Holy Grail of a shade that seems to light up my face, bring out the blue in my eyes and make me instantly happier.
And the shades that really get my pulse racing? The bright, almost fluoro, orangey-reds.
Laura's favourite bright red lipsticks to wear on your wedding day
- MAC’s Lady Danger
- Laura Mercier Velour Extreme in On Point
- Smashbox Legendary Lipstick in Fireball
- Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Hot Orange
Out of all of them, MAC’s Lady Danger is the grande dame of my red-lipstick wardrobe. Even the name puts a smile on my face – it makes me feel like I’m in an Agatha Christie novel or a Hitchcock movie, even if I’m just on the 320 bus in Bromley! I discovered the shade in 2010, when I had my make-up done professionally for a photo shoot, and it’s been in my make-up bag ever since.
Whilst not exactly unheard of amongst modern brides (celebrities such as Gwen Stefani and Solange Knowles have blazed a trail with scarlet bridal pouts), red lipstick still isn’t the traditional choice – and yet I knew (even before I’d chosen my dress, or the venue) that it was non-negotiable for me. After all, as I kept stressing to anyone who’d listen (especially my poor hairdresser), I didn’t want to look like the proverbial princess – I wanted to channel ’50s movie-star glamour (on the day, I got a few ‘Snow White’ comments, so that’s close enough)!
True, my bridal beauty look wasn’t delicate or subtle or wistfully pretty or ethereal… but nor did I want it to be. Red lips make me feel like me – and who else would I want to be on my wedding day?