From Cleopatra to Taylor Swift, that “classic red lip”, and it’s alluring appeal over the centuries, stands unparalleled. Going rouge has always been as rebellious as it sounds, then and now — it’s a way to make a stand, which is probably why they call it a statement lip. Today, red lipstick’s still an enduring symbol of femininity and glamour, which is where we find ourselves when talking about the latest Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge collection.
As you can tell, that’s a lot of red — and with good reason. In 1953, Christian Dior created his version of the perfect red lipstick, inspired by lush couture fabrics. The Rouge Dior. He then sent models down the runway with 2 red shades, 9 and 99, which would then be modernised into the iconic 999 red shade that Dior’s now known for.
The shade’s said to be universally flattering, and perfect for any skin tone. So, how about an entire collection inspired by the timeless red lipstick?
That’s the most appealing part about Dior’s new range — its unabashed ode to red. And we certainly get why! It’s powerful, sensual, fierce, everything we want red lipstick to be.
Of course, this innovation isn’t just a series of new colours. It’s just as much about the formula of the product, a subtle change that’s actually a huge deal when you think about it.
When asked what today’s modern woman wants from her lipstick, Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup, simply says: “Everything!” No doubt, we’re that demanding. He then elaborates on how a perfect lipstick should be “high-pigment… with staying power”, while also “light-as-air” without sacrificing on colour impact and comfort.
It only seems like a contradiction until the Ultra Rouge was created. The innovative formula combines both staying power and comfort, thanks to a polymer which, when combined with plant oil, offers 12-hour wear and intense hydration. Peter Philips calls it “like an ink”, and goes on to describe the dream scenario of highly-saturated, luminous shades; in fact, he compared this new experience to “a painter with a new palette”.
Such evocative imagery seems only fitting for the Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge line. Even the cases are elegantly crafted with lacquered red metal that celebrates the shades within — there are 17 shades, by the way, 15 permanent ones and 2 limited editions one, all with a semi-matte finish.
Now, the most difficult part is choosing which shade of red, and how best to flaunt it. Don’t shy away though! Here, we’re showing you 3 new ways of wearing classic red on your lips, created with Han Chew, Dior International ProTeam Makeup Artist Singapore.
1. REBEL IN RED WITH 999
mixing your lipstick shades
If you like the old classic, but with a twist, how about mixing together two lipstick shades for one cohesive look? Go ahead, be as experimental as you want!
First, go strong with the iconic and fiery-red “999 Ultra Dior” go your lips. Then, use either of what Dior calls their “collector shades”, in special-edition black or white, as lip toppers to modify the intensity of the original red shade.
“111 Ultra Night 47” is a black shade that helps intensify colour, and as you can see, Han Chew uses it to transform the bright red into a darker, more sensual shade. As for “000 Ultra Light 47”, the pure white can work as a base — to neutralise your natural lip colour — while here, we’ve applied it on the lips to lighten the red shade into a more subdued hue.
2. IN FULL BLOOM
soft, gradient lips
Gradient lips have been all the rage for k-beauty lovers, but we’ve since seen the trend come into its own — this year, it’s more about the soft, just-bitten lips, slightly smudged and worn in, which conveys effortless ease and a more romantic appeal.
The look requires some time, but it’s still easy to create and certainly worth it! After all, it does give the appearance of full, plush lips.
Here, Han recommends dabbing the lipstick onto the middle part of your lips, before pursing them together to spread the colour. Then, use your fingertips to blend the pigment out to the edge of the lips.
After you’re done with that first layer, go ahead and dab on the lipstick in the middle again, slowly intensifying the shade. We picked shade “436 Ultra Trouble” for its bright coral-toned red. The final look’s a strong blush of red in the middle, which slowly fades out into a softer red.
3. WILDEST DREAMS
precise and perfect lipstick
Admittedly, red might not be the easiest colour to wear throughout the day — any mistake or fading of the shade will be immediately obvious, which is why some people opt for lip liners. It’s an additional product, sure, but also a sure way to have your lipstick stay on flawlessly for longer.
And we’re telling you: this dream situation isn’t that wildly difficult to create either! This time, we tried it with the lipstick in “851 Ultra Shock”, which quickly became a surprise favourite at our shoot for its edgy burgundy colour.
Han uses the Dior Rouge Ink Lip Liner, and picked this liquid lip liner in a matching shade as a base. The ultra-fine felt tip enables the highly-pigmented shade to go on precise, which makes it really useful for defining the lip contour, while the ink formula goes on intense yet lightweight. You can also use it over the entire lip, as a base, like we have — this helps lengthen the longevity of the lip colour that’s layered on top of it.
First, outline both lips with the lip liner, then fill them by tilting the pen-like product at an angle. He recommends stretching your lips into a smile while applying, in order to get a smooth, even layer. The formula’s more matte then the lipstick, which then helps hold on to the pigment later on. Once you’re done, apply the Ultra Rouge lipstick in “851 Ultra Shock” as you normally would, and there, you’ve created an intense, precise and perfect hue!
Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge, $50 and Dior Rouge Ink Lip Liner, $45. Available at all Dior counters. dior.com
Makeup by Han Chew
Photos and GIFs by Patrene Mathieu, using the Canon EOS 77D
Produced by Amelia Tan
Model, Ashley Soo from Basic Models