Your Red Lipstick

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12 BLUEPRINTS Relocating

In the video below, I mention visiting a colour analyst to learn your Season. 

If you thought of visiting me, and I’d be delighted to meet you, you will soon find me in a new place.

Presently located in London, Ontario, Canada, 12 BLUEPRINTS is moving to Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, at the beginning of March.

Here is a map to the home of Anne of Green Gables, Cavendish Beach, Cow’s Ice Cream, Receiver Coffee, and many other awesome places the family can visit while we do colour.

The colour studio is temporarily closed, until a new location is found, which may be around May. 

The shop will close during the moving time and will reopen around March 10. A Store Vacation banner will appear soon.

The excellent news is that there will soon be a 12 BLUEPRINTS colour analyst announcing her business in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I’m already planning an event.

Your red lipstick…

might not be red at all. 

Could be, that’s why it’s been so hard to find. 

You got lipstick questions? We got answers.


The video is also here on YouTube. 

The Low-down on Lipstick

Your Season makes sense of lists like the one below. True red lips might never settle for you because your natural reds are not primary red. Let’s start you looking in the right place for your answers; no more looking all over for everybody’s answers. 

Some readers learn their Season and are itching to start trying on lipstick, comparing notes with other Season members, and comparing their own selfies. Others run the other way from those scenarios. When it comes to lipstick, everyone has to try the product directly on the face, for all ages, complexion colours, and Seasons. Mature women often look best in the brighter or darker colours for their Season. Young women may look perfect and plenty in the lighter or sheerer choices, or knock it out of the park in the deeper colours. A woman of darker skin colour may wear a softer colour than a woman of lighter complexion.

As any person who knows their colours has realized, the market is not divided evenly. Winter colours abound because they catch our attention, the same way that they do in media. In the real world, depending on where you live and work, softer colour is equally attractive, effective, vibrant, and impacting when worn by a person of soft colouring. 

As ever, opacity can often be adjusted with balm or clear gloss to meet your comfort level. Beautiful lip colour next to your skin is related to the pigments in the product, not transparency.

3 Howevers on transparency:
  • For some Seasons, ideal colour is hard to come by, so it’s worth looking at the neighbour Season colours, sheered out with a balm to widen the options.
  • For some types of colouring, transparency looks great, and better than opaque in any colour.
  • A woman’s essence or impression may influence lipstick formulation. A woman with a sculpted or curvaceous physical presence may wear opacity well in a Season where transparency looks better averaged over the group.
  • With some products, the pigments would be intense on any colouring. Lipstick is not coloured with hemoglobin the way we are and the pigments have different boundaries. Diluted down a bit, they may transform into gorgeousness.

Some colour suggestions below cross over into other groups. To create the Seasons, colours progress around the cycle, through the scales of warmth, darkness, and brightness, like Nature’s Seasons, or a crowd of muppets, take your pick. All 12 groups have a little travel on each scale, and some have a lot of flex on one or more scales. A light gold shimmer in a cool True Summer lipstick or fabric could be great if it’s the right kind of yellow. Because all 12 groups share certain properties and our colouring is over-simplified in a diagram, some of the crossovers may be with Seasons that are far away on a map.

Maps help us organize and show relationships.  Below, the 12 Season cycle:

The good news about lipstick

Lipstick has been figured out for you. Get your short list from your colour analyst or try a few in her studio. It helps so much to have someone impartial say too dark, meh, wow, dull, perfection, and overkill.

Go out there, choose broadly, and try a few.

Prices too steep? Swatch the colour on a piece of paper (1 inch square, heavy deposit) and match it in a brand you prefer. You have the ballpark in hand. 

We have come a long way, baby. These days, finding a truly great red lip can be a piece of cake, in the version of red that already lives in you.

Reds and Other Suggestions

I have my preferences for what I like to see, as does everyone else. I’m also curious about why things might work that logic talks us out of. Ever amazed at how colour can surprise us, I enjoy trying wide of the traditional targets and expanding a lipstick wardrobe, instead of buying the same lipstick or sweater or whatever 7 times. We sometimes grow into our best purchases.

Also surprising is how nothing new-to-me might catch my eye in Seasons that normally have a lot of choice, for example, Dark Winter in this list. I’ll work on that without delaying getting this post to you, adding as things turn up.

The colours below were swatched on paper, not humans. Don’t buy anything till you try it, right?

True Spring
.Shiseido Firecracker, and try Shock Wave when at the counter
.Dior Ultra 535, softer ‘natural’ look, also for Light Spring

Light Spring
.MUFE C306, nice base colour for adding balm or gloss, also for Bright Spring
.Lancome 122 Indecise, one for any of the 3 Springs, brighter on Light Spring

Bright Spring
.Shiseido Cherry Festival
.YSL Rouge Pur Couture #57, also one Light Summer should try
.Sephora Take A Bite, possibly better with balm or gloss on colouring where opacity may look chalky

True Summer
.YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in Stick #48, also for Soft Summer, sheer and light
.Givenchy Framboise Obscure, cool option for Soft Summer
.Clinique Love Pop, also for Soft Summer, the gold shimmer for a cool Season that doesn’t seem so bad with the palette, though I have not seen it on a person.

Light Summer
.Bobbi Brown Cherry, also a softer option with enough red for Bright Winter
.It Cosmetics Blurred Lines in Je Ne Sais Quoi, light and sheer 
. Chanel 165, bright option

Soft Summer
.YSL Rouge Pur Couture #9, also a soft choice for Dark Winter with enough darkness to define lips 

True Autumn
.Estee Lauder Slow Burn
.Buxom Evocative Petal
.Shiseido Liaison

Soft Autumn
.Lancome 124 Rose Petal
.Lancome Sienne Ultime
.Lancome 290 Poeme, also darker and warmer for Soft Summer

Dark Autumn
.Shiseido Toffee Apple
.Bare Minerals Hustler

True Winter
.Bare Minerals Alpha, mid-range fuchsia
.Dior Ultra 770, clear blued red also for Bright Winter
.Givenchy Rouge Interdit Vinyl in #12 Rouge Insomnie

Bright Winter
.Mercier Mon Cheri, nice colour, adding balm if the product’s opacity looks heavy or causes the colour to look darker
.Chanel 102, also possible for True Winter
.Shiseido Poppy, tending to the Bright Spring side, same notes as Mon Cheri above
.NARS Dragon Girl, pink-red, not too dark, very clear in colour and formulation
. Buxom Forbidden Berry, tending to True Winter

Dark Winter
.YSL Rouge Pur Couture #72, interesting but the yellows are strong, which may be great with eyes that have visible yellow or gold. As with all makeup and every recommendation, try before buying, especially given the price.
. MAC D for Danger
. NARS Under My Thumb
. MAC Party Line if you would like a lip with presence and harmony, and less intensity



15 Thoughts on Your Red Lipstick

  • Melina

    This is interesting, but can I ask which YSL line is referred to, in all those with “YSL #”, as the brand has so many different lipstick lines, and several different shades come up when googling YSL + any nr mentioned..?

  • Jan

    Thank you, Christine, for this fabulous list of lip colors.

  • Judy

    Thank you, Christine. This is so helpful and much appreciated. Most of the older lipstick lists and recommendations are outdated and essentially useless because so many of the recs are currently discontinued. I appreciated the information because it’s specific. Hope you can do another list for medium lipstick colors. Red and reddish colors are a bit dark for me—and probably for some others who follow your articles with great interest. Congrats on your new adventure !!

    • Christine Scaman

      Thank you for your comments.

      Melina, I’ve updated the post and will add more to complete it.

      Judy, I hear you about wanting medium colours. As an almost-60 Dark Winter, the colours the younger women wear to perfection, such as Urban Decay Gash, which I’ve seen and thought “Sister, if that’s not the most gorgeous and wearable lip for you, IDK what is.” are too much pigment for my face.
      There are a couple of things here, as I’m sure you read. First, play with the transparency.
      Second, if you have trouble with red, it may be that recognizable-near-primary red is not in your wheelhouse.
      Third, darkness is a different element again and red may be fine for you, but in a less-dark or less-bright or less-intensely-pigmented formulation, 3 different concepts. Two new colours for Dark Autumn are coming into the BLUEPRINTS shop that could answer this description.
      And fourth, women want to create different faces. A Dark Winter might want to ‘put a mouth on her face’ without a lot of impact, and may be happy in L’Oreal Plum Explosion, while another DW might find it too warm or soft and it would barely make it to ‘keep in purse for anytime’ status.
      We keep trying. We find it fun and annoying at the same time 🙂 We want the answer but we enjoy the game. Or I do. I like the quest for the great earrings, you know?
      Long answer, seems to be what I do, but just to say that I get it. The suggestions above are varied for these reasons. I’ll think on a “Medium Lip Colours” post.

  • Carol

    Thanks for another great article, Christine. You mentioned that mature women look better in the brighter or darker shade for their season. I can identify: I am over 60 and don’t wear pale lipstick anymore. However, I find that too dark or bright (in my season) doesn’t work well either. I look like an older woman trying to look hot. After reading your article, I checked out the YSL Rouge Pur Couture #9, suggested above for SS. Given that colors on monitors can always be misleading, it looked like a perfect color for me: not pale but not dark, with just enough rosiness and warmth. That being said, how do the current SS lipsticks in your store compare? Some of them look a bit dark on my monitor and I would not go darker than YSL #9. PS: looking forward to your new store opening!

  • Eunice Pang

    Hi Christine, been a fan of yours for the past year. I’ve self-analysed myself from Bright Winter to True Winter to Bright Spring. I am very happy where I am as a BS, and was waiting for a red lipstick update. I am able to wear clear true reds, reds that veer slightly warm and slightly cool (Stila Beso, ColourPop Saigon & Mac Ruby Woo), but they never feel like they were a part of me. Just that I was wearing red lipstick. I am glad to see your post on red lipsticks, and have tried both Shiseido Cherry Festival and bought Sephora Take a Bite (part of the lipstories range). I am saving the Shiseido lipstick for my future purchase.

    For those who are also BS, if you are not keen on too bright shades, I recommend the Shiseido lipstick. It is ever so slightly lighter than the Sephora lipstick, but with the same saturation and brightness we BS need. Hope everyone has a good day:)

    • Christine Scaman

      Carol, I’m exactly like you, too dark/bright in my Season looks forced, while not enough colour is draining. There are hundreds of colours that would work well for SSu, some better than others depending on each individual woman’s many colour characteristics and preferences. In Summer-influenced groups, graduations are slighter in a narrower lightest to darkest range and colours are mixed to achieve the softness. In the Winter-influenced groups, the light to dark span is wider, and pigments are less mixed and colours become more straight-up, pure, or concentrated, as if the colours begin to separate from one another and the jumps between them become bigger.
      This is just to say that there are several colours in the SSu BLUEPRINTS line and I could easily add 10 more, since the market offers so many. At the end of the day though, you’d have to try them. They look subtly different on each SSu woman, and sometimes unexpectedly so.
      If you liked the effect of the YSL, it may be worth the investment. Lipstick that is used right to the end is actually cheaper per wearing than a quarter-used less expensive colour. I do look in Sephora more because the staff doesn’t hover, but you could also match the colour in another brand if you liked.
      I’ll have a look at my colours and compare them once I have daylight and a little time, and come back to edit this post.

      Eunice, thank you for sharing your experience. It’s so valuable to hear how the suggestions work on real people, since I swatch them on paper only. Your description is so good, “never part of me”. Makeup in harmony with us appears to be in the skin, not on the skin. When it’s on the skin, it separates from us and seems to be floating near our face with no clear reason for being there.

      • Christine Scaman

        Comparisons of YSL Rouge Pur Couture #9 with BLUEPRINTS lipsticks for SSu, as requested.

        Ruby Slippers is darker, warmer, and more sheer. More flesh tone, less deep soft rose.
        Shag is very close, slightly warmer with a soft sheen, and slightly sheerer.
        Delicacy is very close, slightly darker.
        Barry is cooler, more blue-violet.
        Liason is similar in darkness to Delicacy, more matte-pigmented, and bluer.

  • Melina

    Thanks for adding the details of lipstick lines, Christine 🙂

  • Kate

    Really helpful and interesting article. Just tried Lancôme 122 Indecise as recommended – I’m lsp and find this to be a lovely colour, neither too warm not cool. Applied thickly it is very saturated, but it sheers out nicely due to the shine formula. Thanks for sharing!

    • Christine Scaman

      Glad to hear it worked out for you, Kate 🙂

  • Julia


    thank you a lot for your recommodations! I am a True spring, but quite pale and find ist sooo difficult to find a fitting lipstick. When I stumbled on this site I thought, well what‘s the worst that can happen and bought both recommendations for true spring: Shiseido firecraker and Shiseido Shockwave and I love them! Something happens to my face when I wear them, that i cannot explain! It‘s amazing! However sadly both shades are not exactly shades I can easily wear to work. That is why I would like to ask what exact Dior shade you mean? I found one with the number 535, it is called ‚CD-Dream‘ is that the one you mean? Or is there another everyday lipstick shade for True spring that you can recommand? (And it would be great if it is easily available, as I live in Europe). Thanks a lot!

    • Christine Scaman

      Julia, If the Dior colour looks like the Shiseido ones, the one I intended is probably Dream. I’m sorry I can’t be specific, I no longer live in a place where cosmetic brands are widely available and all the stores are closed at the moment. I also rarely swatch makeup these days and couldn’t be sure of a colour that still available, and in the EU. One solution is to wear the Shiseido colours as a base with balm or gloss over top; the lighter application might make them suitable for work. Another place to find many ideas is on Pinterest, type ‘True Spring makeup’ into the Search box, or try typing ‘True Spring makeup ideas Europe’ into Google. I hope one of these brings some new ideas.

  • Julia

    Thank you a lot! Yes, that is really helpful! Mostly I was unsure about the Dior colour and did not want to spend money and than be dissapointed. Thank you also for your swift answer!

  • Haru Ichiban

    Thank you for the recommendations! The Shiseido lipstick for Bright Spring looks really nice. My favorite red lips at this point is Revlon’s Ultra HD Lip Lacquer in Fire Opal, which I encourage other Bright Springs to try. It looks very orange and ultra shiny in the review pictures, but my coloring absorbs the orange and shine and leaves just a lively red with a wet finish instead (I only use one thin layer, though! Even lip gloss is “house paint” on me if applied with a heavy hand). My complexion is very pale and on top of that I have anemia, so I need vibrant coloring to give some health to my appearance.

    For the True Springs, there is a lipstick I wore many years almost successfully, but it yellowed my teeth and eyes, so since anything warmer than me must be a True warm, I believe it would be great for them: Elizabeth Arden Tropicoral.

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