Fall lip color boasts lovely shades of scarlet

Pass the word: Red will be on every woman’s lips this fall. Fueled by the 1960s retro ambience of TV’s Mad Men and classic glamour of the era’s icons (such as Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren), the color trend is hitting the streets in head-turning dresses and accessories, as well as bold lip color.

The right red plays up the strengths of its wearer, whether powerful, sexy or sophisticated. It also simplifies the makeup process, forcing down other features with pale blush and just a bit of eye liner and mascara. But be aware of the downside of red. The wrong hue can sap the color from your face, thin your lips and cause you to look older than your years.

The perfect red commands such loyalty that some are known to scour the Internet looking for their one true red long after it’s been discontinued.

There’s no need for such trepidation or clinging to old stock. In choosing the right red, some basic color rules apply. First, know your skin tone. Those with a yellow undertone are served best with warm orange-reds. Those with pale skin can handle reds bearing traces of blue, while those with olive complexions can pull off a full range of reds, from sunny to classic to deep maroons.

Don’t hesitate to sample the many hues available at cosmetics counters, and don’t be afraid to go to the experts for advice.

At Giorgio Armani Beauty, I’ve never met a red I haven’t liked, and there’s reason for that.

“Mr. Armani loves red,” says Tim Quinn, celebrity makeup artist for the brand. “It’s his signature. He understands it and we mirror his runway and technology.”

That technology has resulted in saturated, sophisticated colors in textures that feel like silk against wearers’ lips, and a look that appears natural, not painted on.

The line features everything from coppery to fiery reds that suit Armani’s approach to beauty and style.

“Elegance isn’t about being remembered for your red lipstick,” Quinn says. “When people look at you, we want them to see (you) and say, ‘You look beautiful’ or ‘You look amazing,’ not ‘That’s a nice lipstick.’ The right red shouldn’t take away; it should be complementary.”

And the reds are about to get better. This month, Giorgio Armani Beauty debuts its Rouge d’ Armani, delivering four new reds that introduce the company’s patented Color Fil technology. The formula allows for eight-hour, satin-lacquered shine and moisturizing, without feathering.

It may be difficult to make the leap to red after years of nude and natural colors, and for these individuals, Quinn suggests easing into the color with sheer red gloss, such as Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Volupte Gloss No. 3 in Cherry Red, or sheer red lipstick, such as Giorgio Armani’s Sheer Lipstick No. 6.

Giorgio Armani Beauty is exclusive in Hawaii to Neiman Marcus.