When millennial pink just doesn’t have enough edge, and neon orange makes a statement, but not the one you’re trying to make, consider redirecting your attention towards flame scarlet. Described as an in-your-face red with slight orange undertones, flame scarlet was dubbed by Pantone (you know, the authority on color most likely managed by Mr. Roy G. Biv himself) as one of the colors of 2020, and it’s easy to see why. Red is arguably the boldest shade of the spectrum, and thanks to its standing position as one of the primary colors, it plays well alongside any hue you pair it with.
While the mention of flame scarlet in makeup brings images of Miss Marilyn’s iconic red lip to mind, the color was used in makeup long before that point, spanning as far back to ancient Egypt where red ochre was used to tint lips and cheeks, and henna was used to dye hair or color nails. In fact, it’s rumored that even Cleopatra was in on it, using crushed carmine beetles to create her own red lipstick. We stan a trendsetting queen, but in our own practice, are more partial to vegan, cruelty-free formulations.
In the 1930s and ‘40s, wearing a bold red lipstick in itself was considered an act of rebellion. At the time, lipstick (especially red) was seen as a symbol of sexuality, and books and magazines alike denounced cosmetics, stating that they would ruin a woman’s reputation or career. A single swipe of flame scarlet lipstick served as the proverbial middle finger to that narrative.
Even aside from its use in fashion and beauty, flame scarlet makes a statement and commands attention all on its own. In medieval art, the color red is used to draw your eye towards the person or object meant to be the focal point. It signifies the spark of a revolution, courage, love, and passion. In Chinese culture, it represents courage, honor, success, happiness, and fortune. It’s a call to action, and a symbol of change, suggesting that just because things have always been done one way, that doesn’t mean they should be done that way forever.
Because if there were ever a time to stand out, be passionate, and make your voice heard, it’s right now.