From Candy Apple to Brick: Black Girls CAN Wear Red Lips!

"Are You Red-dy" by Maybelline. My favorite red lippie right now.


So, this whole “Red Lipstick For Black Girls” has been an issue for me for a little while. OK, for a long while. Mainly because wearing red lipstick is allegedly yet another thing that Black Girls aren’t supposed to do. A few weeks ago, I asked around the Internet to see what other people knew about the racial & gender-based sin of wearing red lipstick. Here’s what I was told by those who chose to respond to my question “Why is it that Black Girls aren’t supposed to wear red lipstick??”

  • It’s trashy
  • It’s whorish
  • It’s for “loose” and “fast” women
  • Black Girls’ lips are too big
  • Everything ain’t for everybody
  • Black Girls’ Black is too black
  • Define “red”

You see how MOST of that has to do with alleged sexual promiscuity and hypersexualization of Black women? Sprinkle in a bit of classism, colorism and self-hate and you get a bunch of B.S. notions on what’s good for Black Girls. A lot of these answers extended to the wearing of red clothing and even wearing red nail polish.

Now, my Wise & Beautiful Mother was the first to bring up the hurtful imagery of the Lil’ Black Sambo stereotype as a reason why some Black women probably shy away from wearing red lipstick.

This isn't even the worst picture that came up in the Google Image Search.

Just looking at how we’ve historically been  presented to the world in such an ignorant manner is painful. Now this right here [coupled with the aforementioned bullet pointed bullshyt] I can see causing a Black Girl to believe that red lipstick isn’t for her. All of this is painful, ugly and most of all, UNTRUE.

I’ve learned in my lifetime of playing in makeup, that the key to wearing it well is that you have to find out what works for you. I don’t care what race you are, if you don’t know that then you’re pretty much screwed in the Face Painting game. That goes for foundation, eyeshadows, blushes and RED LIPSTICK. It is my sincere belief that ANYBODY can wear red lipstick, but especially a Black Girl. Most colors look good on us anyway, thanks to having so much melanin in our skin. All you have to do is find the shade of red that works for you. Some of us can rock a candy apple shade, others look best with brick red. Still others may need something even deeper…or not. Just be brave and try some on. I got my first red lipstick from Sephora years ago and I’ve been in love with that color on my lips ever since.

Need some tips on how to rock your red lippie? Check out this post, “5 Foolproof Ways To Wear Red Lipstick” from contributor Sherry Blossom on, one of my favorite beauty blogs.

I asked for the Black ladies who read this blog and/or follow me on Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr to submit pictures of themselves wearing their red lipsticks to show just how damn well we wear the red and I was overwhelmed by the response! This slideshow is the result of the  30-plus gorgeous pictures I received:


Yeah, I tossed a pic or three of myself in there…#YouLikeIt. And if you like “I Only Have Eyes For You” from Rahsaan Patterson’s newest album “Bleuphoria”, click here to cop it. 

Don’t let what some other fearful and misinformed person has to say about how our lips look and what the color “red” means overall scare you away from embracing such a beautiful and rich color as red. Believe in your own beauty, no matter what color you rock! Nobody gets to tell Black Girls what colors ain’t for us…ALL the colors are in us! We look good in red and the proof is right here before your eyes.

  • Do you wear red lipstick? Why or Why Not?
  • What have you heard in regards to Black Girls and red lipstick?
  • If you do wear red lips, what’s your favorite red lippie?





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  • K Parker

    ahem. RED is my favorite color! (and it leaves a mark) heehee.

  • K Parker

    oh. i kill ‘em loudly with MACRed.

  • Rebecca

    I haven’t worn red lipstick in years, and I wore a deep red when I did. After watching this vid, I am going to go out and buy a bold red color! You ladies are beautiful!

  • Cheryl Breuer

    Wow, great post. I admit I hadn’t heard this about red lipstick before.

  • Keonte’ Smith

    I wear red lipstick all the time. Sometimes, it’s the only make-up I wear without adding anything else. It adds a spark to my day.

    I like color and shimmering glosses. My lips are full, so I light to highlight them. ;-)

  • Cleo

    I admit, I used to say “I can’t wear red lipstick.” I thought my complexion was too yellow “/ .. But this summer I went on a quest to find the perfect shade(s) of red lipstick and have since fell in love! It helps that I have friends (other brown girls) who advocated their love of red lips.

    I also felt the same way about red nails, because my grandma always said, “red nails are for whores..” I laugh now because I love me some red (and black-which was also shunned ) nail polishes.

  • DJStylus

    I support this.

  • Ichoosethesun

    Love the sideshow! Let me go pull out my red lippie ;-)

  • BAnjeeB

    The red lip rocks! I wear it as often possible and for no particular reason other than I like it. I think my dad may have said something equating red lipstick to loose women, but once I saw how it looked against my skin I never turned back.

  • chunk

    This is such an awesome post. It gave me courage to consider lipstick again. All I can think of is that Trey Songz Red Lips song lol.

  • Machinko!

    Love it! :)

    • The Pretty Brown Girl

      Thanks for sending in your picture!

  • L Boogie

    I’ve never really worn lipstick (or makeup for that matter) in my life, BUT I’m inspired to try! I’ll send you a pic when I do! :-)

  • Rayona

    I have never worn red, because my daddy always told me that wearing red was ‘too grown’.  Of course, that was when I was was a preteen, but it has always just stuck with me…so I’ve stuck to neutral tones, browns, even as far as gold.  My latest lip crush is STILL MAC/Afrobella’s All Of My Purple Life (my first real venture out into the world of color).  Even as an actress, I have been able to stay away from reds.  But now, Daddy has passed, and after watching this video, I am feeling gutsy, and inspired.  How would I go about finding the right red for me, though?

    • The Pretty Brown Girl

      Go to Sephora and swatch, swatch, SWATCH! Get one of the pros to help you. That’s what I did. You would look absolutely gorgeous with a red lippie. Take a look at a few celebs/random Tumblr ladies that share your skin tone. See how they look with a red lip. My favorite reds have been basic drugstore brands or even NYX. You can do it!

    • The Pretty Brown Girl

      Yonna, this is how you’d look with a red lip.

  • OG

    I just started wearing red lips again I hadn’t since my teenage year.That was over 20 years ago… I didn’t really have a reason other than I like pinks & nudes on me more. My favorite reds right now are NARS red lizard lipstick and Mac lip glass blogger collection Nitrolicious.  I love rocking a red lip and have been more & more lately. Its almost my go to for every day.  


  • Jade

    Red lips are so sexy! just need to find the right shade

  • L281173

    I an NW45 who loves to rock of bold, bright fierce lip.

  • Only Mally

    I LOVE MAC’s Ruby Woo. with Brick liner.  a must have….

  • Only Mally

    Not to mention I don’t normally wear colored lips because I have such full lips, but I received a great response when I tried it on so I had to purchase it.  Still getting a great response.

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