Red Lipsticks are not all the Same Colour – this is Why

red lipsticks aren't all the same colour

It’s a question asked by many people; mostly males, aren’t all red lipsticks really just the same colour?

In short, the answer is no. Every red lipstick is in-fact completely different from the next. Whether they are cherry red, dark red, light red, tomato red or an odd shade of red. Each red lipstick stands alone and is in-fact completely different from the next.

When I first started my journey to becoming a beauty writer, I had never put much thought into the many varying shades of red lipsticks. And, it got me thinking, why aren’t all red lipsticks really the same colour? And are they all truly different shades?

I remember my first day as a writer for Bondi Beauty when the founder Renae Leith-Manos explained to us a good beauty writer will be able to write a story about six different red lipsticks and why they are all different.

Of course, at the time I was hardly even thinking about writing a piece on red lipsticks. I mean, I didn’t even wear red lipsticks and still don’t. But, as my journey continued and my knowledge on beauty expanded, I am finally at a stage where I can write about red lipsticks. Well, sort of.

According to varying beauty brands, ranging from luxe brands like Sisley, Chanel and Shiseido to your everyday Loreal, Maybelline and The Body Shop, with lipstick names like Ginza Red, True Red and Flame, they all declare each red shade they create for their lipsticks are unique, one of a kind and like none other. But are they really?

If you were to take a popular shade of tomato red from a variety of different brands and line them all up one by one together, would they be the same colour, or would you be able to spot the differences?

It reminds me of the movie Devil Wear Prada. You know that famous scene when Anne Hathaway’s character snorts at a group of designers all huddled around Miranda (Meryl Streep’s character), unable to make a decision on the right type of brown belt to go with a dress being modeled for a photoshoot, and Anne’s character is under the assumption all three belts look the same shade of brown.

I wonder how many lipstick shade designers would scoff at me and my quesiton; are all tomato red lipstick shades the same shade after all?

A good place to start would be to look at the ingredients of some of your favourite brands. And, not the organic or natural brands who are now releasing their own version of a naturally coloured red lipstick using berries or beetroot to colour them.

I mean your mainstream Loreal and Estee Lauder shades, where traditionally they are all coloured using Carmine. And if you don’t know what Carmine is, it’s created from crushed bugs which produce a stunning red colour, and has been used as the base for creating red lipsticks.

For many centuries Carmine was used by the acient Romans and Egyptians as a way of colouring the lips and cheeks.

So, if all these brands are colouring their red lipsticks with the same ingredients, wouldn’t that make all those tomato red lipsticks exactly the same shade? Many hours of research and a few conversations with industry experts later, I have the answer for you.

No, they are not all the same shade of red. They make look like it to the naked eye, but in fact, they are all completely different. Even if they share the most common ingredients in the making of the lipstick. And here’s why.

Depending on the amount of Carmine, natural-based minerals (yes, even in brands like Lancome and Loreal they still use natural oils and minerals in their lipsticks), and what type of botanical or oil is used to create the lipstick, different ingredients affect the final resulting shade of red for the lipstick.

It may only alter it a mere point of a degree either on the lighter or the darker side, but it still changes the colour, making each red lipstick shade absolutely individual and its own unique colour compared with other brands.

For example, avocado oil adds a tone of green to the red and although you can’t see the green tone in the red, it slightly alters the shade to a deeper tone of red. Should a brand decide to use coconut oil in their lipstick blend, the shade of red will lighten ever so slightly as the base colour of coconut oil is white.

Of course, other varying ingredients such as whether a brand uses beeswax, soy wax, Shea butter or Cocoa butter can also affect the final shade as each wax has its own tone which can either darken or lighten the red shade of lipstick.

So, there you have it, each red shade of lipsticks available are actually all different shades and none are the same as the other. Turns out Miranda from Devil Wears Prada was right, not all the brown belts are the same after all.

My Favourite Beauty Product of The Week:

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick RRP $28 in shade: Berlin Warm Rose

As far as red lipsticks go, although I don’t lean towards wearing many red shades, on occasion I will vamp up my look of an evening with a warmer shade of red, to suit my very pink skin tone. Berlin Warm Rose is a deep purple toned red. And, as a vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand lover, I never can go past a good Kat Von D lipstick to include into your arsenal of beauty products.

This liquid lipstick is easy to wear and doesn’t crack and dry like many other liquid lipstick brands. It is a matt finish and will stain the lips, and I recommend you wear a good coating of your favourite clear lip balm underneath to ensure lips stay hydrated and assist with the removal of this liquid lipstick at the end of the night.

The texture of this liquid lipstick is smooth and easy to apply. You won’t need to re-apply for at least six hours (yes even after eating and drinking) which is outstanding and I love how quickly the lipstick dried after applying one coat.

Rebecca Wilkinson

Beauty Editor

Rebecca is a freelance content creator and beauty editor for Bondi Beauty. She is a pescatarian, who may yet become vegan. She loves all things beauty, health & travel, has a weakness for coffee and is obsessed with cats and yoga. If she's not answering her mobile - it's probably because she's trying out the latest beauty trend, like massaging crushed pearls into her skin for the ultimate collagen and vitamin boost to skin cells.

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