Lipstick colour facts

Lipstick colour: 5 facts that will make you think twice

We hardly need studies to tell us we choose our lipstick colour depending on how we feel. But at lük beautifood we were wondering: Do women really prefer bright colours over natural tones? On our research travels we found one scientific study that proved red lippy is the colour most likely to be worn when women are feeling happy. Another revealed only 7% of women regularly wear red lipstick to meetings and 8% choose it for interviews. While the jury is still out on red, scientists have shown lipstick shade – and scent – can have a powerful effect on our mood, making us feel more relaxed or excited.


Lipstick fact 1

You might think annual fashion shows drive seasonal lip colours, but a UK survey found that where people live appears to have a greater influence on their choice:
  • New Yorkers choose bright red lipstick
  • Londoners prefer caramel nude lips
  • Shanghai residents lean towards sheer coral, and
  • Dubliners go for bright orange red
Fashion designer Stella McCartney’s sporty theme graced the catwalks of 2016 Paris Fashion Week with models boasting †˜barely there’ beauty products. These neutral tones complement all and nude lipsticks are a great colour choice for every day.

Images: Courtesy of Stella McCartney

Lipstick fact 2

So what are the formulas for a perfectly painted pout? Pigments used for lipstick colour are classified as †˜organic’ (lakes & toners) or inorganic (metal oxides). But don’t be fooled - organic means †˜carbon-based’ - chemically refined from petroleum (ie synthetic) rather than the †˜healthy organic’ meaning we’re used to now.
  • Lake colours combine dyes with insoluble substances like alumina hydrate to create water-resistant cosmetics with intense translucent colour. But using these pigments means a product can never be classified as 100% natural.Metal oxides occur naturally as mineral deposits.
  • Metal oxide pigments are opaque, and though duller than organics, can provide longer-lasting colour due to their heat and light resistance.

Lipstick fact 3

Did you know a popular natural food and beauty colourant, Carmine (Red No.4), comes from crushed cochineal bugs that feed off cacti? And you can achieve fuller lips with an extract of chillies? While the insect idea may be a little off-putting, it is not as off-putting as absorbing the chemicals from synthetic dyes derived from coal or petroleum - such as Amaranth (Red No.2) and Allura Red (Red No.40). One study of the effects of synthetic red dyes found Red No. 2, Red No. 40, and Red No. 18 (also called Coccine) caused cell DNA damage at very low doses and called for a more extensive safety assessment of these dyes.

Lipstick fact 4

Lipstick colour and smell can stimulate our senses but be cautious of the word †˜fragrance’ on labels.
  • Manufacturers do not have to list individual ingredients so some enticing aromas could mask unwanted chemical nasties.
  • According to Dr David Suzuki most chemicals used in fragrances have not been tested for toxicity.
The upshot? Look for plant-based products with ingredients packed with food-active goodness to bring out your natural energy and beauty.

Lipstick fact 5

Professor Karen Pine, fashion psychologist and author of Mind What You Wear, The Psychology of Fashion says the lipstick colour you wear on a first date says a lot more about you than you may realise:
  • Red: "You’re a bold, confident woman and one in her sexual prime."
  • Fuchsia: †œYou’re expecting some stimulating conversation, someone out of the ordinary, and your date had better deliver."
  • Hot Pink: "Pink is the color of innocence, but you’ve added some heat too, signaling a mixed message of approach-avoidance."
  • Burgundy: †œSays you're strong but take a while to get to know you, so your date needs to be patient."
  • Coral: †œYou want to be noticed, know where you are going and may be in a hurry to get there. You're willing to have fun and just see where it goes."
  • Neutral tone: "You want to be taken seriously, have nothing to hide and a lot to give.†
SO! Now you know the facts. But what we'd like to know is: Do you prefer bright colours or natural tones?
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