How to find the perfect red lipstick, according to Shu Uemura's International Atelier Artist Michael Ying

How to find the perfect red lipstick, according to Shu Uemura's International Atelier Artist Michael Ying

Seeing red

Text: Wei Yeen Loh

Image: Shu Uemura

A few inventive ways to create dimension to your red lip this #CNY

What's the easiest way to elevate your look from weekend casual to CNY-red-dy? Wear a traffic-stopping red lipstick before you leave the house, of course. If your festive beauty arsenal is already sorted out for next weekend, here are a few good ideas on how you can elevate your lip look without breaking into a sweat.

We sat down with Shu Uemura International Atelier Artist Michael Ying to find out how to create a head-turning look with the brand's new, limited-edition red lipsticks that come in glitter and holographic finishes. The Shanghai-based makeup pro shares the right way to test a lipstick before buying one, and why you shouldn't only wear colours that suit your skin tone:

How do we pick the right red lipstick to suit each skin tone?

Asian skin tones vary from yellow to red undertones, while some are paler than others. It all depends on your undertone and skin type (oily or dry) actually. Those with more yellow skintones are more suitable to use orange-based lipsticks because it flatters their skin tone extremely well. Those with reddish skin tones can opt for blue-based red lipsticks. Those who are paler can use lighter colours and those who have darker skin tones can use darker colours.

Some lip types are more suited for matte lipsticks, while others are more suited for glossy i.e. lips that have many lines. In my opinion, those who have perfect skin can use any colour or texture. It also depends if you want your lips or your skin to be the focal point—based on that you can choose between a pigmented or sheer lip finish. Besides that, it also depends your personality and character—people who are more upbeat and extroverted may prefer louder, vivid colour, while those who are of a matured demographic or quiet in nature may prefer nude/neutral colours.


How do you go about picking the texture of red lipstick?

Two textures (glossy and matte) are trending right now. It depends on your preference, and also your lip condition. For some, matte lipsticks tend to make their lips feel dry and uncomfortable but they can opt for Shu Uemura's Rouge Unlimited Matte Lipstick as it doesn't dry out the lips. Matte lipsticks are great for on-stage or any camera work as they are usually very pigmented and budge-proof. Some girls prefer hydrated-looking lips that look a lot like their skin—glassy and healthy. Hence, they would go for the glossy look.


How would you suggest to use the two new Rouge Unlimited textures—glitter and holographic—for everyday?

You can use the glitter lipsticks as a topper with any of your preferred lipstick colour. For those with darker lips or skin tones, you can use the holo effect lipsticks to brighten the lips the way highlighters are used for the cheekbones. Alternatively, you can wear the holo and glitter lipsticks for more creative looks for occasions such as parties or events. One thing I like about the metallic lip liner is that you can use it an eyeshadow, eyeliner or even mix it into your foundation as a highlighter.



What's the best way to test red lipsticks before purchasing?

When you're trying it on your hand, the only thing you're really testing out is the texture. When you're trying the lipstick on your lips, you're trying to find out if it suits your skin tone and how it feels on your lips. I would suggest to refrain from trying multiple lipsticks simultaneously because the stain of the previous lipstick might affect the shade of the following lipstick.


What are your favourite Rouge Unlimited lipstick shades?

A must-buy is RD 163 because this red colour is available in all six textures from the range, and it is the most flattering on all skin tones. Another shade I like is BR 784 because it's a really on-trend colour—a rich, warm reddish brown.


Golden rules when it comes to wearing lipstick?

Nowadays, makeup rules aren't as restricted compared to back then when lip proportions and lip liners were prioritised. Now, your lipstick is a reflection of your personality and preference.

But if you like a lipstick colour that absolutely doesn't suit you, I will suggest ways to fix it. For example, if your skin tone is more yellow-based and you bought a lip colour that doesn't suit your skin tone, I suggest adjusting your skin tone by changing the shade of your foundation. If you really like a particular colour, there are always other ways to match the lip colour—I don't think it's necessary that women should only wear lipstick colours that suit their skin tone or personality.


What is one beauty secret you have for our readers?

Cleansing oil should be an essential in your routine. Yes, you can use it remove your makeup and clean your face, but it's also a simple step in your self-care ritual that helps to unwind after a long day. Compared to going for a facial or indulging in a spa, cleansing your face properly doesn't take as much time and it can be done in the convenience of your home. It also helps your skin to better absorb the other skincare products. Contrary to popular opinion, cleansing oils are not just suitable for people with dry skin; those with oily/combo skin can benefit from it as well.


What do you love most about your job?

I love creating looks and interacting with people—it isn't a complicated job. The process of pursuing beauty together with my customers makes me happy.


How has working in Shu Uemura change your perspective of make up?

When I was first exposed to make up, it was all about what was literally on the face but at Shu Uemura, we focus on beauty from the inside out. The brand culture always inspires me to do my best. Unlike some other jobs where it's all about earning a fatter paycheck, Shu Uemura makes me genuinely fall in love with the brand and my role at the company.



You are known for his creative make up looks, so what inspires you every day?

I think it's a combination of things: I'm very passionate about drawing and coming up with different creative looks. But determination is also very much part of it. If you're only armed with good drawing skills, you merely have the ability to create. Without the skills, even if you have an amazing idea, the execution will be difficult and you will feel like giving up through time. But if you have good skills and a passion for working hard, then naturally you will be determined to do execute it well. All are related to each other.

A method that I often use [to create makeup looks] is to start with a colour that I love and gradually combine other themes to it—whether my inspiration is in nature, a song or even a person. It trains my ability to think outside of the box. I often explore art galleries to find inspiration too.



Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Flaming Reds is now available at all stores and counters nationwide. Check out the limited-edition collection here.

Check out our Chinese New Year guide for the best places to dine at, snacks to binge on and fashion and beauty tips to look stylish for the festive season.