As most of you know, I use quite a bit of red in my FX makeup. It goes on for just about any injury I can conjure up, along with making an appearance in classic lip colors to eye shadows (and yes, even blush.) Red has made its mark in makeup history right next to blue. It also happens to be the most frequently asked about color that I use in my designs, so why not give you guys some swatches of the products I use, along with some tips and tricks?
Working with red can be tricky, if used around the eyes with little intensity it can make you look sick, which in some cases works well with your design. However, if you’re not going for a diseased look, make sure the color pops by using a higher intensity red, like Ben Nye’s Soliel Red (See swatch below.) Before using a red around your eyes, make sure you read the label since most cream colors aren’t approved for use around the eye area by the FDA.
Red pigment (as well as fuchsia) can stain the skin slightly. To help combat this apply a primer before hand, or an unscented lotion or moisturizer to the neck and body. Should you still have some staining on your skin after washing it off, use Johnson and Johnson Baby shampoo and it will take the red right off. I read this once in a book from the 60s written by a man who had done a lot of work on the Twilight Zone, I don’t know why, but it works every time, so be sure to have some on hand when working with red pigments.
Now, on to my color swatches, below are the six most frequently used reds that I use. Not pictured is the Mehron’s Paradise line’s Red. I’ve used it before and I love it, however, I have yet to come across a company that stocks it as a single anymore. It is featured in the Tropical Pallet from Mehron, and, in my opinion, is a great pallet to have, so be sure to pick it up.
1. Mehron Fantasy FX Cream Makeup in Red
This, by far, is the truest red to photograph, though my swatch image is lit for staging you can see that it holds its own among my samples. There are a few drawback to using the Mehron Fantasy FX creams, however. These are generally meant for face painting, and don’t wear as well as my other options in my kit. Even when highly powdered and set, these creams tend to crack in areas that get a lot of movement, so when applied around the face, the forehead will show signs of wear early into the evening. I tend to use this product sparingly on the skin itself, but it’s my go to product for detailing latex and wax prosthetics.
2. Mehron Foundation / Grease Paint in Ruby Red
I absolutely love using this to color latex pieces before they are powdered. I also love that this product can go from sheer to exceptionally vibrant depending on how you layer the color. Before it is powdered, the cream will blend very well with other colors even outside of the Mehron brand. Once you’ve applied this, you will have to powder it liberally. I suggest using Translucent Coty Powder, as it doesn’t alter the color intensity of these creams. Not approved for the eye area.
3. Graftobian Disguise Stix in Mighty Maroon
I actually stumbled upon this brand while shopping for the perfect teal for my Miss Argentina costume, but quite frankly, I looked at its $3 price tag and thought to myself, no way will this give me the intensity that I want. Later, while shopping around again for my Jambi look, I picked one up to give it a try, and man was I impressed. These sticks are pretty nifty. The Graftobian Disguise stix are soap based and can be used to color skin and hair. You wet the color coated stick and either rub it directly onto your face or use a brush or sponge to apply the color. The intensity of the color depends on how much water you use, much like the Paradise colors from Mehron. It does have a tendency to feel a little stiff on the skin. I’m assuming that’s because of the soap base, but it doesn’t crack, need to be set with powder and won’t rub off once dry. Let me also mention, it is one of the products that is the easiest to clean off, you just use soap and water.
NOTE: Should you want to use it to temporarily color your hair, wipe the stick over your hair, and quickly run a fine toothed combed through to avoid any matting that can occur. It also can be used on dark hair, the teal and the red have both been combed through my black hair and stays vibrant, unlike most colored sprays and creams for the hair.
4. Ulta Pressed Shadow in Cherry Bomb
This color made its appearance in Ulta’s Carnival pallet. I, however, had picked it up before hand as a single just to give it a try. The color intensity, even with a primer underneath isn’t that bold. It goes on sheer and does have a pink sheen to it. I’ve generally used it to help blend a more intense color out on the eyes, but it has also crept its way into being used as the occasional blush.
5. NK Hi-Def Color #3039
I always suggest this line of shadows to people who want to go bold, but aren’t willing to spend a huge amount of cash. I think these cost around $3 to $5 per single depending on where you go. They’re usually found in beauty supply shops that aren’t chains. They are highly pigmented, however they don’t currently have a matte collection, so each color has a varying degree of sheen to it. Though this color is red, and will look red on your face under normal circumstances, and even stage lighting, it tends to photograph as a bright fuchsia.
6. Ben Nye Powder Rouge in Soliel Red
This is my absolute favorite of my red powders that float around in my kit. I generally use this to set any red creams I use, along with using it as a blush and an eye shadow. The color intensity changes depending on what brush you use. (Use a fluffier brush for lighter color.) This is a matte color and, even though it’s highly pigmented, blends well with all powders
Now, I know I didn’t cover red lipsticks, and that’s because there’s a myriad of options to choose from, and, quite frankly, I could do several posts on the classic red lip alone, so I just left it out. Plus, this was more about having fun with red outside of the lips and showing you other options.