Valerie Monroe
Photo: Jonathan Skow
Q: My sister-in-law says older women shouldn't wear red lipstick. I like to wear it because it makes me happy. What do you think?

A: It makes you happy? Then here's what I think: The medical profession's oath, Primum non nocere (first do no harm), is a good bottom line for all beauty concerns, including this one. Are you hurting anyone by wearing red lipstick? I don't think so. So in the words of makeup artist Julie Hewett, "You go, girl. Get your red on!" (I would never talk like that, but I'm glad to let Julie do it.) Here are her ideas for making the most of your red lipstick experience:

Find the right shade. If you're fair, choose a blue-based, cool crimson; if your skin is olive, try an orange-based, fire-engine red; and if you're dark-complexioned, wear a deep, burgundy red.

Apply it right from the tube (instead of using a brush); to prevent the color from bleeding, use a lip pencil after you've applied the lipstick.

A red mouth looks most chic when you've evened out your complexion with foundation and you're sporting a couple of coats of black mascara.

Bottom line: You like it? You wear it!

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