Joy Fennell

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The red lip is my signature – like black is to a certain type of New Yorker and purple is to Prince.

Many, many moons ago in my B.R. (before red) period, after I experimented with nude lip glosses and other lipstick shades that were in style (but not my style) I put on my big girl panties and tried out my first red lipstick shade. The first one I experimented with was the most famous red lipstick of them all, Ruby Woo by MAC Cosmetics. It was a game-changer. While reds before had intimidated me, much like the first time I tried to overcome my fear of heights by swinging on a trapeze (which was a complete failure, btw), I began to like the way they made me look and feel.

Wearing red lipstick makes me feel glamorous. As a color fanatic, it allows me to add a pop of color to any outfit I’m wearing. And it helps me stick out my tongue–through glistening ruby red lips–at the idea that Black women shouldn’t wear red lipstick. (Because, yes, we absolutely should.) In short, red lipstick makes me happy, inside and out. And there is no going back.

From experience, I know putting on a red lip for the first time can be intimidating. A lot can go wrong! I still think you should push through whatever fears are holding you back and rock it. And I’m here to help you achieve your best red lipstick life by sharing a few of my favorite red lipstick products, tricks, and tips to help you discover your own signature red lip look:

My first red lip tip goes to all you nude lip wearers: once you’ve found a go-to red lipstick shade, try it on, and don’t take it off for a few hours. If you’re really serious about finding your signature red color, you must let it sit. Fight the urge to take it off! You’re so used to seeing yourself in a nude shade that any bright lipstick color is going to scare the bejesus out of you. But I promise if you let it marinate on you, like that gazpacho you have to leave in the fridge overnight to get the right taste, you’ll know in time if it’s your best red lipstick shade.

Red lip tip two is for everyone searching for their favorite red lipstick: find the right undertone for your skin tone. What does this mean? Here’s a brief explanation: 

Everyone is born with undertones right below their skin. Undertones can be warm (yellow or golden), cool (blue, pink or red) or neutral (a mix of everything or it matches your skin color). Once you pinpoint your undertone, then finding your perfect red lipstick will become way easier. For example, I tend to have neutral undertones which means that I can wear a variety of reds, but down deep, I love a blue-red lipstick. What does this mean? The undertone beneath the red lipstick is blue. It’s this whole color theory thing that will take a long time for me to explain (and I promise to do so in a follow-up post), but for now, this Sephora Collection will help you find the perfect shade. As mentioned in Tip 1, you have to just try a few to find what you like best. It’s personal! 

As for me, my absolute favorite red lipstick is called Sephora 01-Always Red Liquid Red Matte. This color is just right for me. It compliments my skin tone and lasts from sun up to sundown. Extra bonus, it dries down matte, too. 

My third red lip tip is to seek out professional help: not that kind, but sometimes a makeup counter consultation is just as good. They know all the tricks of the trade, so ask for a few red lipstick samples and try them out over the next few days (see Tip 1). Then really pay close attention to how they make you feel. Happy? Confident? Uncomfortable? Before I knew the Sephora Matte was the one for me, I had to–like dating–try out a lot to meet the one I would eventually fall in love with.


I mentioned the Sephora 001 Red Matte lipstick earlier, but here are a few more of my favorite red lipstick colors. If you try one, let me know in the comments below! And share a pic of you in your beautiful red lipstick here or on my Instagram @thejoyinbeauty using the hashtag #tjibfavred.

I mentioned the Sephora 001lipstick earlier but here are a few more reds that I really love. If you try one, let me know! Share a pic with me in your beautiful red!





Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink- Innovator $9.49

This is a highly pigmented red that’s meant to be long-lasting. It also comes with an arrow-shaped applicator. That’s really good to use for a precise application.








M.A.C. Ruby Woo – $19

A beautiful semi-matte formula. This iconic red is rocked by some major heavy hitters. This red glides on and compliments so many different skin tones.








Nars-Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl – $27

I love how the pencil allows for a perfect application. You can get into your lip corners really well. This red is bright and beautiful and the addition of a little pink really makes this color super sexy and sensual.






AJ Crimson-Crimson Rose – $20

This creamy, velvet matte is luscious and compliments every skin tone. This red is a knockout!









Do we really think that the Queen of makeup would make a red and miss? Of course not! Elson is a beautiful, hydrating matte red. It glides on and makes your lips pop!

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I’m Joy and I’m here to let you know that you are perfect and whole just the way you are. Come journey with me as we explore what beauty, true beauty, really means! Let’s lift each other while having fun and making new discoveries. Sounds like a good time to me so.. Let’s Stay in Touch! 

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