To Boldly Go... - une femme d'un certain âge

To Boldly Go…

Betty from AMC’s “Mad Men” with classic early 1960’s red lips.
I swoon over her riding outfit too, but you’d never wear a fancy coat
like that around horses if you’ve even been sneezed on by one.

When I was young, red lipstick was a marker of Adult Womanhood. Painting on a persimmon pout, donning a pair of pointy-toed heels…I looked forward to the day when I would step through that threshold.

Then the 60’s happened (and then everything in between). By the end of that decade, only my grandmother still wore red lipstick. I came of age during the Frosted Pink times, and the red lip became dissonant with my demographic.

But I’ve never lost the emotional association of red lipstick with a certain kind of polished, grown-up, elegant style. Periodically, I give it another whirl, but it has yet to “take.” After watching this video of Lisa Eldridge suggesting some colors and demonstrating application of red lipstick, I’ve taken up my quest again. I love the idea of wearing it in a “throwaway” way with more casual attire as she describes.

It’s long, but well worth watching just for her recommendations alone.

I started first with one of the sheer reds she recommends, Dior Addict Extreme “Fireworks.” I acquiesced to a bit of professional application at the Dior counter, and liked it well enough that I’ve picked up a tube and will practice at home a bit. So far I haven’t frightened the dogs, which I take as a good sign.

Here’s how it looked after the visiting Dior makeup artist applied (with a brush).

Trés dramatique. The lighting is awful too.

And here’s how it looks with a lighter-handed “at home” application, and in natural light. I think I may keep looking for something a bit more orangey red, but this one is quite daytime-wearable.

Do you wear red lipstick?  What are your favorite colors?

Be sure and check out Visible Monday over at Not Dead Yet Style.  And don’t forget to come back Wednesday and link up to Une femme’s Brooch Party!

Disclosure: actions taken from some links in this post may generate commissions for

All original content property of

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. November 19, 2012 / 12:39 pm

    That lipstick looks terrific on you!

    I wear red tinted lip balm most of the time and occasionally wear red lipstick. (It’s occasional only because I never remember to put on lipstick.)

  2. November 19, 2012 / 1:09 pm

    I keep trying, I suit the orange reds more, but even then it can look awfully harsh on me.

  3. November 19, 2012 / 1:23 pm

    That lipstick is astonishingly well-applied, and with the highly pigmented colours, it requires that: the primer, the pencil,the multiple apps with the brush. You can;t just whomp it on from the tube without a mirror.

    The colour is not right for you, or is not photographing right- it’s too blue. Look for a tomato red.

    I’m always looking for “red, but sheer” and have not found it yet… may be an oxymoron.

    • Kathy
      November 19, 2012 / 2:13 pm

      Have you tried Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine in Rebelle? A sheer, but great red.

  4. Beautifuldreamer1066
    November 19, 2012 / 2:44 pm

    Actually, I think that shade of red suits your coloring. The blue undertones highlight the warmer shades of your hair without competing with it but it’s difficult to tell in a photo. I have a small wardrobe of red lipsticks with each shade having a specific job. Clinique’s Angel Red is my go-to color for those days I need a softer, more muted red for work. As I understand it, this is an undertone neutral shade that works on all skin tones. For a bolder, more classic matte lipped pin up girl look, I use Mac’s Russian Red or for a satin look, Mac Red. YMMV however, as my coloring is very ruddy and works with those blue undertones.

  5. November 19, 2012 / 3:20 pm

    Hi Pseu —

    You’re still feeling the “Light Summer” seasonal typing works for you, right? I think this lipstick color looks good on you, though I have a feeling it’s looking a little bluer in the natural light photo than in real life. Obviously the store lighting makes it look warmer but overall you look good there, too.

    As Mette mentioned, I wouldn’t go too much warmer — a clear or watermelon red would be beautiful on you. Good luck finding one that works with your body chemistry to *stay* or arrive at the shade you want! [/pet peeve]

  6. November 19, 2012 / 4:10 pm

    I have a new red by Revlon the shea butter lip gloss/stick and I love it!
    #40 red velvet.
    I like how you’ve applied it a bit lighter for daytime but the heavier application and those new red shoes will take you out for a date night anytime!

  7. November 19, 2012 / 5:40 pm

    I love Lisa Eldrige’s make-up videos — I caught this one last week and was inspired to go red the next day. Got lots of positive feedback, too!

    My reddest-red is a cheapie, and I can’t even remember where I got it. It’s a little on the dry side, but because of it, it lasts forever. I’ve also got a sheer red from Sephora that I like because it feels like lip gloss and it’s a little lower-maintenance.

    I may try out La Roche Posay’s Novalip Duo in #198 when I get a little more dosh to play with. I’ve got a pink/brown shade that is flattering and moisturizing and highly recommend the line.

  8. November 19, 2012 / 5:57 pm

    Russian Red used to be my go to lipstick…before the lines around my mouth started to wick it up.
    It can look so “hard” on me now if I’m not careful.
    Yours looks terrific. I am so pale that dark pinks look like red against my complexion. Great video. I think I’ll give the Dior Addict a try.

  9. November 19, 2012 / 6:26 pm

    Red lipstick reminds me of the classic movie stars of yesteryears. It looks classy on you!
    I don’t wear lipstick, just my trusty chapstick. I tried but it looks strange on me, no matter what color. Maybe I’m just not used to it. Who knows, maybe I’ll try for the holidays. 😀

  10. November 19, 2012 / 6:56 pm

    The red is fabulous on you! (I can’t do it, but I love it on those who can. I think you should go for it and enjoy it.)

  11. RoseAG
    November 19, 2012 / 11:06 am

    You are a brave woman! I took a picture of my lips one time and had to quick delete off my camera. Smile on, you look perfect.

  12. November 19, 2012 / 7:16 pm

    I love the way the polish of the professional application on you, but am not sure of the color from the photos.

    I have trouble finding reds for me. The closest I have come is a soft watermelon. I feel most reds are too bright, and the rich ones look to harsh when I do the full-on application, or like I wasn’t trying when I go for something lighter.

  13. LynneinNC
    November 19, 2012 / 11:19 am

    Yes, I wear red lipstick. I had a touch up done at Estee Lauder recently and she suggested “Forbidden Apple”. It is more bold than I usually wear, but defintely a rich red. It makes my teeth look whiter, too.

  14. Nicolene Richards
    November 19, 2012 / 11:59 am

    Absolutely, red lipstick is in my survival kit. Love the post, very refreshing, and inspirational.

  15. November 19, 2012 / 8:50 pm

    Lovely red! Some days I really fancy red lips but forget to do them, a great reminder & to use a brush! Xx

  16. Pam @ over50feeling40
    November 19, 2012 / 1:54 pm

    It looks so pretty on you…I wish it looked that good on me!! At the blogger event I attended yesterday, they asked each model to describe her style in three or less words. One said that she is Casually Bold! I love that! Today….you are casually bold and fabulous!

  17. November 19, 2012 / 9:56 pm

    You look great with red lipstick. I am back to wearing red lipstick,
    Revlon Berry Rich# 510. When I’m in a quiet mood I wear Clinique Flirty Honey.

  18. MC
    November 19, 2012 / 2:03 pm

    I’ve started trying out red lipstick recently, myself. I love it, but it does take a certain amount of self-confidence to stray from the world of pinks and nudes! I have cool-toned skin, so I look for blue-based reds. So far I really love Revlon’s ColorBurst Lip Butter in Red Velvet, which can be light and sheer or built up to be more opaque. In braver moments I love their pinky-red classic, Cherries in the Snow — a definite Betty Draper color!

  19. Ms. M
    November 19, 2012 / 2:15 pm

    I think you are one of the lucky ones that can pull off a red lip! It goes really well with your whole look, and especially your hair. I do prefer the lighter touch in your second picture.

    I wore berry shades for most of my adult life, but never a true red. For some reason, they just never seemed to suit me. Nowadays, my “red” is actually a rosy shade. It’s just a little bit warmer-toned than my natural lips. It comes across as reddish, but not particularly bold.

  20. Kathy
    November 19, 2012 / 2:15 pm

    I like you in the red, but I do think it has too much blue in it for you. Have you tried Nars Jungle Red? That’s the color I’m wearing in my photo, and it’s a great red, with more orange. It’s matte, so I often wear Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy, over it. Tones it down just a touch as well.

    • November 20, 2012 / 3:22 pm

      I totally agree that an orange red for Pseu’s coloring would be better. I find that orange reds that stay that color on me are difficult to find, they tend to turn blue after a few minutes. I’ll give your combo a try.

  21. Anonymous
    November 19, 2012 / 10:35 pm

    I ventured into red this season. Chanel’s PASSION is my choice. I wore my vintage Dior red cashmere cardigan to get a good match. Love it.

  22. mette
    November 19, 2012 / 2:40 pm

    If you are a ” summer “, then orange is not for you. I vote for the bluish hues. Then again, your hair color and the colors in your clothes count, so I´m not saying anything.
    I did a major ” red hunt ” some time ago, ending up with a bluish red from YSL and tinted by a shine from Chanel for special occasions.
    It sure was a tiresome hunt.

  23. Adrienne Shubin
    November 19, 2012 / 2:46 pm

    Wow! You look fantastic in red lipstick! I like that shade of red on you.
    I try to wear it, I really do. But it looks weird on me. Maybe I haven’t found the right shade yet.
    My stepdaughter who is blonde with fair skin and dark blue eyes looks incredible in red lipstick….maybe that’s the problem: my coloring isn’t suited for red?

  24. Kathy
    November 19, 2012 / 3:09 pm

    Also, Shanghai Express by Nars is a great brick red, which I like for wintery clothes.

  25. Sheila
    November 19, 2012 / 3:50 pm

    I love wearing red lipstick once in a while when I want to amp up my look. My current favourite red is “Lasting Finish by Kate” (as in Kate Moss) by Rimmel – colour is Rosetto (number 10).

    I like the first look, but yes, a warmer red would be more suited to you, I think. Wonderful!

  26. freeda
    November 19, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    I was just watching Mad Men this weekend, and enjoying Betty’s scarf under the mock turtleneck!

    I have been working with red lipstick for the last week. I find that it turns pink on me very fast, unless I use a red gloss on top (currently Revlon 160 “Firecracker”).

    I need something deeper… more velvety looking? I never know what the right words are for what I want. All the talk of “undertones” just makes my eyes cross.

    We’re on this quest together!

  27. Sulky Kitten
    November 19, 2012 / 4:13 pm

    I’ve always been a pink shades girl – saving the red for my shoes! I just wear a pinkish lip gloss these days,I’m very fair and it’s more flattering. If I’m prowling around at night,I wear lipstick and then top it up with gloss.

  28. November 20, 2012 / 12:24 am

    I just can’t pull of the red lips. It looks great on you, though.
    Love Betty Draper’s style and that cape is a dream.

  29. November 20, 2012 / 12:37 am

    Do I wear red lipstick? Hmmm… let me think about that 😉

    I love red on you and firmly believe there’s a red to anyone. It’s all about whether someone is ready to stand out or not!

  30. Chicatanyage
    November 19, 2012 / 5:47 pm

    I too watched the video and am on the hunt for a flattering red lipstick. I will check out the Dior you suggest this week.

  31. Marla
    November 19, 2012 / 5:53 pm

    I love red lipstick on others but I always drift back to nude colors on myself. When I was younger I wore red more often. As I’ve gotten older I try to tone down my lip area.

  32. November 20, 2012 / 3:22 am

    Medieval Queen! Very light. Blueish. I think I’m going to like you in a perfect red lip.

  33. November 20, 2012 / 3:35 am

    I love red lipstick. I am a big fan of Chanel reds and their lipstick pencils are the best. I love it with just a bit of eye shadow and mascara for daytime.

  34. November 20, 2012 / 4:35 am

    I think you look beautiful in the red lipstick. I purchased a sheer red this past spring, and I’ve been loving it. It’s so much fun to experiment. I’m going to watch the video and see you at the brooch party.

  35. Mrs. Jenner
    November 19, 2012 / 9:46 pm

    I have so many reds but almost never wear them. My absolute favorite for color and wear (no running) is Nars Jungle Red (not the pencil of the same name though – too pink). A great neutral red is Estee Fig (again, not the lip pencil named fig which is a neutral pink). I love the red on you!


  36. Anonymous
    November 20, 2012 / 10:02 am

    That red Dior lipstick looks GOOD on you. And I look at red lips with quite a critical eye! I vote for your wearing it the way you applied it at home.

  37. Anonymous
    November 20, 2012 / 10:05 am

    Oh, I meant to suggest NYC Sheer Red if you want to have an expensive one you can just throw on when you don’t want to put a lot of effort into the look. That red seems to work for a lot of people.

  38. November 20, 2012 / 10:20 am

    Your lips are bringing more beauty to this lipstick, I will try this and say my feedback

  39. Val Sparkle
    November 20, 2012 / 3:19 am

    I tried red when I was younger, but my lips are too thin to wear anything dark – I look like The Joker.

  40. pinkazalea
    November 20, 2012 / 3:44 am

    Yes I love red lipstick. I have silvery hair and fair skin so a bright lipstick feels right. I am not quite sure if I am sallow or not, but the orangey reds to neutral reds are the ones I like My newest is Chantecaille Lip Chic in Amaryllis. It’s like a combination of a lipstick and a gloss and has a really nice texture. Be bold and go for it – I think you look pretty in red. When I was a young girl, I thought red lipstick, dark sunglasses, and gold leather sandals were about it! Oh – and for a nice reddish coral I like Lancome Rouge in Love in #146.

  41. November 20, 2012 / 1:01 pm

    There is a red for everyone. I normally wear magenta..I have dark hair so the magenta works for me…I think the red look great on you.

  42. November 20, 2012 / 3:32 pm

    Love the lip stick. Looks fab!

    best wishes, Aex

  43. November 20, 2012 / 6:40 pm

    I’ve never worn red lipstick, it’s just not my thing but I do really like the Dior on you – especially the trés dramatique first pic. Formidable!

  44. November 20, 2012 / 7:18 pm

    I like the red on you! Not sure I could pull it off. 🙂 In other news I somehow needed to share, has the coveted scarf I’ve been looking for that I saw on your blog: A walk in the park. BUT it is waaay over my price range and definitely more than the usual I had said I’d Go For It no matter the price. But $600 is really more than I can justify for a single item! Le Sigh.

  45. Anonymous
    November 20, 2012 / 9:14 pm

    I happened upon your comment re: horses sneezing. I know this is an off-topic comment but healthy horses do not sneeze, especially not with discharge. To avoid heart break, please skip your ride that day and take your sneezing horse to a vet.

    • November 20, 2012 / 9:37 pm

      Hi Anonymous, that isn’t always true. Horses will sometimes sneeze from dust just like we do, and if you’re out riding on a dusty trail for several hours, the “effluvia” isn’t pretty. 😉 Coughing, that’s another matter.

  46. Viktoria
    November 20, 2012 / 2:50 pm

    I love lipstick, and you look great in it.

    I came of age in the early 80´s and we did a lot of lipstick. My favourite was a Dior (I seem to still remember it was 832, a darker kind of red) stick, but then I became totally allergic to everything and had to stop. I miss it. Lipstick is so much about that little extra finish, that little extra womanliness.

  47. Libby Ingram
    November 20, 2012 / 3:32 pm

    I love your glasses!

  48. November 21, 2012 / 7:32 am

    Love red… I wear it often… especially if I am on the go or tired… always makes me feel better and look more put together…
    Wear it more often… it looks fabulous… xv

  49. Erika
    November 21, 2012 / 1:23 am

    Lip colour is a vexed topic for me. I like it, but have to be careful what I use (mineral oils are so not good for my skin). So it’s normally a gloss from the health food shop. BUT I rocked up to the Napoleon Perdis stand and said I want My Perfect Red and it can’t have these ingredients. Bless the lass, she found me Eros in the Devine Goddess range of lipsticks. It’s a solid, slightly pink red which Beloved Spouse says makes me look very rockabilly. Definitely a great red for me. So far, I’ve worn it twice and probably reapply as often as gloss/balm, and I have to remember to take a small pocket mirror. But I do love it!

    And yes, horse snot is so not a good look. Somehow mine always smegged all over me when he’d just taken his head out of the feed bucket. Nothing’s changed – our bull terrier is very fond of giving us a “nose print” in order to claim ownership. And most clothes have to be proof against wolfhound and bullmastiff drool. Thank heavens for clothes that go through the washing machine!

  50. Gretchen
    November 21, 2012 / 1:32 am

    I think red lips, either “full-on” or sheer, are stunning. And I have over half a dozen tubes of various reds, threw out at least a half dozen more, and have a group of glosses, balms, and whatnot I various shades of red, berry, and blue-based or orange-based. Enough to choke a horse (provided I dress appropriately for the snot and such). But here’s the thing. I have very thin lips, and in middle age, they aren’t getting any fuller. So wearing red just looks like I am trying too hard, and it just ain’t working. So I can keep pretending that I have lips, and wear my delightful colors that I like but make me look like a dork, or go w a neutral. Boring. So I wear lots of really good, excruciatingly expensive perfume and nice shoes to console myself. You, my dear? You have lips. Go for the bold!

  51. Anonymous
    November 21, 2012 / 4:59 pm

    I just love red lipstick and have worn it throughout my adult life. In fact, I can track my life through my favorite (and always sadly discontinued) red of the time. I am talking about you, Flame Sauvage.

    Wearing red on an aging mouth presents problems that caused me to give up on red for a couple of years. Those fine, vertical lines around the mouth can be a sponge for dark and bright lipsticks. My quest became the perfect lip pencil.

    Finding the perfect lip pencil was challenging. I found that many of my lip pencils bled into the lines no differently than the lipsticks they were supposed to contain. My quest ended last year with the discovery of Estee Lauder Doublewear Stay in Place Red. It does not bleed.

    I have always favored bright, matte reds. They worked with my youthful dark brown hair, they looked lovely with my variously colored hair of my forties, and now they look great with my silver hair.

    My current favorites are: NARS Jungle Red, NARS Red Lizard, and Estee Lauder Matte Velvet Red (sadly a limited color, but don’t mourn for me. I stocked up.)

    Red always makes me feel put together. True confession: sometimes I wear it at home on a day when I have no intention of going out at all. It is that special for me.


  52. Anonymous
    November 22, 2012 / 6:17 am

    Une femme, you certainly know lipstick in French is called “rouge à lèvre” -litterally “red for lips”- or for short only “rouge” (red).

    A trick I use when I feel a more subdued look is more appropriate -think hot summer days and pastel flowy outfits- is to dab the red with the tip of my finger on my lips, leaving only a hint of the pigmented cream on them. I go over once or twice if I want the color more pronounced. Then I apply lipbalm on top of it, that’s right, lipbalm not lip gloss for a “femme d’un certain âge” 😉 The effect is lovely. When done with care with the right shade, people think your lips have that lovely color naturally.

    Speaking of lipbalm, it never goes on *before* the lipstick. Even waiting for it to “sink” in or be absorbed by the skin won’t prevent it from causing the lipstick to kind of slide off of your lips after a short while, forcing you to touch up soon and often.

    A lipbalm contains occlusive oils that leave a film on the lips and which molecules are too big to be absorbed by the skin. Depending on the formula it can be beeswax, candelila wax or other vegetal waxes, petroleum jelly, cocoa butter…

    Anyway, their purpose is to coat the lips to prevent moisture from evaporating. If you apply lipbalm *after* you applied your lipstick, it’ll still fulfull its purpose without interfering with the staying power of your lovely pigmented rouge.

    The best way to use lipbalm is 1) buy only if made with vegetal ingredients like beeswax, cocoa butter, vegetal oils -see your health food store- and 2) apply it every night before bed like you do your hand cream. I put lipbalm on during the day only in the highest heat of summer or really bitter cold days of our canadian winter, all together maybe 10 to 20 days in a year maximum.

    I do lip pencil differently too for a good reason too. Lip pencils are formulated with hard waxes and they just wont stick on top of the creamy formula of a lipstick. Try it, you’ll see. All you will end-up doing is moving around the pigmented film of the lipstick pigmented cream around on your lips. The pigmented waxes of the pencil won’t have a clean surface with enough friction for its waxes to adhere.

    So the way I do it, especially for red lipstick which need to look pristine, I begin by contouring my lips with a lip pencil in matching color so I have a neat definition, correcting the natural shape where necessary. Then I apply the same pencil on the entire suface of my lips. Finally I apply the lipstick. The reason for applying the pencil on the entire surface is it allows me to rarely have to touch up before I have lunch. If some lipstick comes off when drinking a coffee or something, the harder waxes pigmented in the same shade will stay put and prevent that unsightly and sloppy “half-lip made” effect.

    I too have been wearing red lipstick for 25 years. I wear it every day except few odd times when I have a cold, or I’ll go swimming or I have an appointment to the dentist… If I go to a very serious meeting or when I had job interviews or a funeral to attend, any kind of event asking for a more discrete, subdued appearance, I wear a caramel/toffee shade.

    Red lipstick is very trendy now. But during all these years before it became au goût du jour, boy did I have some odd looks and/or negative comments. Red lipstick when not in trend does make some people look at you like you are out and about in your underwear.

    I’m blessed with very well defined, very plump lips (african heritage) on a small mouth (asian heritage) and red lipstick enhances this feature of mine beautifully. I almost never wear eye-shadow. I restrict my eyes make-up to eyeliner and mascara only. I go light on the blush to avoid the overdone or vulgar look.

    Oh wow. That is the longest comment I ever wrote. See how red lipstick gets me going on and on…


  53. Anonymous
    November 22, 2012 / 3:58 pm

    I wear the classics–Revlon’s Fire and Ice, and Love that Red. I have a Greta Garbo mouth (thin lips) and it still looks good on me. I have been doing what commenter Anisse recommends–dab it on, then put on lip balm–when I want a subdued look. When going for a more ‘formal’ red lipstick look, I use a lip pencil first, using Annise’s technique (I learned about it from a makeup person). Because the red lippie is the focus, I keep the rest of my makeup very subdued when I wear red lipstick.


  54. Anonymous
    November 22, 2012 / 4:52 pm

    Elizabeth, we must have learned make-up from the same school of make-up artists.

    Greta Garbo had very classical in shape, elegant lips. I have more of an ethnic-looking, atypic ones. It’s probably safe to say red lipstick, when in the right shade for the skin tone and properly applied looks good on everybody.

    I’m sure that once the basics are covered (shade, application) what makes or breaks a red lipstik is the same thing that makes or breaks a daring style, and that is how confidently it’s sported by the wearer.


  55. Anonymous
    November 22, 2012 / 5:44 pm

    I promise after this last comment I’ll disapear…

    I have so many red lipstick I love to wear, I won’t list them. But there’s a p.h.e.n.o.m.e.n.a.l one I discovered at the end of this summer. This one is not even expensive or high-end but you have to try it, it’s just gorgeous! And a creamy, luscious, highly pigmented formula too.

    It’s Rimmel Kate Moss 01. Google-image it to see it on few lips. I personnaly prefer to reserve this one for evenings out or when classically dressed (pencil skirt suit, heels, scarf and nice handbag).

    I’m not affiliated with Revlon in any way. I have no loyalty what so ever to commercial brands. I reserve that for the family owned butcher shop or bakery I shop in.


    • November 22, 2012 / 9:22 pm

      Anisse, thanks for all of the helpful tips! I’ll definitely be trying these soon.

  56. Picturetalk321
    November 22, 2012 / 11:05 pm

    That video is so fabulous. I love watching that woman explain and demonstrate (is she famous?). I thought that red is for the younger gals only but this seems to suggest that hey, no, everyone can give it a go.

  57. Highland Fashionista
    November 24, 2012 / 2:47 pm

    Ooooh, nicely done! And I like your glasses as well!

  58. poodletail
    November 29, 2012 / 2:29 am

    I love red lipstick and there’s not a shade, blue or orange, that I’d shun. However, don’t forget the timeless Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. It has red, blue, and brown in it and is very sheer. I have one in every purse and pocket because you can apply it sans mirror to wear alone or to refresh any other red lips you’re wearing.

  59. November 30, 2012 / 5:48 pm

    Poodletail, I too love the Clinique Black Honey. it’s wonderful. And I’m not really a lipstick wearing gal.

  60. December 19, 2012 / 11:49 pm

    You look great in red lipstick!

    I adore red lipstick but still don’t know how to keep it on. It wears off in like two seconds. Have you ever done a post on how to apply lipstick so that it stays on? Hopefully it doesn’t involve spray paint :).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

- powered by chloédigital