Trend Spotting: Red Lips, Man Repeller or Propeller?

The prospect of red lipstick as a Man Repeller is fairly controversial. Done in moderation, the beauty trend can exude a certain Old Hollywood glamfactor.

all photos by Who is Bobb-Paris 
Or perhaps, just some sort of vibe that reads: mature woman, good with her mouth.

When worn by chronic magnets like Camilla Belle, Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie and Penelope Cruz, my argument–that red lipstick may in fact serve as a wood cutter–comes to a quick close.

And then I remember that we’re Man Repellers. Excess is the name of our game. Think of the red lips as the sort of…cherry on top.

So our take on the trend will more likely look like this:

Sequined cape! Chain-adorned head gear! Burnt orange short-sleeve blazer! Holy frizz cut, now we’re talking.

Givenchy S/S 2011

My own experiences have proven that red-lipping yields weener-nipping. Real life remarks include: “I’m not kissing you with that shit on your lips.” Good, I didn’t want one anyway.

“You’re trying too hard.” 
“You look like a clown.” 
And my personal favorite: “Your lips clash with your outfit” …evidently, wearing red lipstick is also a fine way to separate the actual straight men from the ones who just think they’re straight,

As with all other trend-spotting installments, the trend being dissected often crowds the pages of our favorite street style sites. Today, we look to Who is Bobb-Paris for inspiration.

I applaud her effort at trying to include a small bit of sex appeal via lace bralette, but the chambray shirt and high-waisted pajama pantaloons make this an immediate Man Getter fail. Good for you, Fupa Fran.
Perhaps another effort at exuding a small bit of sex appeal? I see London, I see France, I see your granny-underpants. Sorry, Charlie. There’s a dead animal around your neck.
Here, a fancy feline rocks three of the trends Lee shared yesterday. Jungle animal and oversized shirt on top, combat boots down below. There’s something to be said about her pixie cut. Something like, I rock the pixie, so I got no dicksie? Just throwing it out there. Reprimand me if you want.
Holy Man Repeller. I will just commend you for matching gloves to lips and leave it at that.
 And last:
Here’s to a striped blazer with aggressive shoulder pads and a piece of jewelry that resembles a weapon not even Zorro would use. As aforementioned, those red lips are just the cherry on top.

I’ll conclude with an anecdote that may further substantiate this theory. My mom married my dad in 1986. On the night of their wedding, my dad was a dapper babe, he had just returned from a tropical business trip. My mom on the other hand wore big white dress with big white puffy sleeves. To accompany her big white puffy sleeves, she thought it a grand to have a makeup artist from Iran come to the U.S. and make her pretty. Good idea, right? Wrong. She ended up baring a painfully striking resemblance to Bozo the Clown. And as you know, that motherfucker is scary. Her skin tone matched the stark white dress. Her eyeshadow, that started at her eyelid, and traveled far beyond her eyebrow matched the smurfs her children would idolize years later. She topped off with bright red lips and an aggressive blush across her cheek bones. “That’s what was in,” she once told me.
My dad saw her and panicked. Fear not, though. They pulled it together for the big night and their ending is a happy one. After all, their genetic merge resulted in ME! Their most notable creative endeavor.
Family history aside, it’s time for you to weigh in, fellow wood cutters. What do you think?
 Are red lips a Repeller or Propeller?
Get more Beauty ?
  • Just gonna weigh in on the fact I was SCREAMED at on two seperate occasions for daring to wear dark red lipstick on NYE and therefore preventing aforementioned screaming males from lunging at my mouth without horribly messy consequences.

  • Propeller! But of the subconscious type. Of course the male sub-species likes the whole nude pout/smokey eye thing… but something about wearing red lipstick confidently increases my sex drive. And that, I'm pretty sure, is something a man can smell from the other side of the bar.

  • I would have thought they were a repeller but I love red lipstick and more than one man has kissed me while I'm wearing it (not on the same night though) so I think they're not as repelled by it as we might think!

  • LOVES it!! (Obvious I would.)

    @frances – they were jealous females. Always ignore them in future.

  • Today I was walking down the street (wearing red lipstick) and I literally thought–I wonder if red lipstick is a man repeller? Thank you for adressing my question in a timely manner 🙂

  • i started wearing red lipstick for this holiday season and it was a success! i got many compliments which made me feel more daring to wear the red lippie to work, in broad daylight- even more compliments! i don't think it's a man repeller. i got more than a kiss on NYE. i just think people don't see red lips much these days so it might seem provocative. in the 80's pink lipstick was trend. in the 90's, i remember everyone wore a red lipstick. it's all cyclical.

  • I am SO going to match my lips to my gloves… only trouble is my gloves are blue…

  • @Doriana That's no trouble at all!

  • ""And my personal favorite: "Your lips clash with your outfit" …evidently, wearing red lipstick is also a fine way to separate the actual straight men from the ones who just think they're straight, ""

    LMAO your too funny!!!! I'm thinking of matching my lips to my socks… ofcocarse that means wearing sandals with colored socks but what the heck! I don't need no man!!


  • alcollin

    Love the post . . .love your comment that "I rock the pixie, so I got no dicksie? " even more! I must agree with that statement as I have a pixie and I get no dicksie! LMAO!

  • I certainly hope its not a repeller. I just invested in some Chanel red lips in hopes of hoodwinking men into loving me 🙁

    Looks like once a repeller, always a repeller. lol

    Tess S.

  • In my experience red lips are a major propeller. But then, it could also be something I inherited from my (also Iranian) mother who swore by bright red lips throughout my youth (ie, the 80s).

    I think red lips are almost always a go, barring certain shades of red, like orange reds or corals which I see as being very seasonal.

  • Some shades on some skin tones are truly awesome and, indeed, produce that old-Hollywood classy-glam effect. Of course, so do certain, more subtle styles of… um, everything (hair, clothing, shoes). Propeller if you know how to work it, then, and if the men in your area are not tacky enough to scream "EW!"

  • propeller. statement lips say "put together", which any man, even the straight ones, can appreciate the effort.

  • So funny! Girls always think this is hot (including myself) but guys always think it's repulsive (including my boyfriend) I definitely vote repeller, even though it makes me sad to do so!

    Would you say this is one trend that's NOT a repeller?

  • I think red lips are a propeller and sexy. But you do have to be careful WHICH red to wear on your lips or else it might end up as a repeller!

  • I think you nailed it. Red lips + sexy black lingerie= PROPELLER. Red lips + shoulder pads & harem pants = REPELLER. Red lips have dual roles, in both the fashion world + the sex fantasy world. I only like them in the fashion world, making me a repeat offender. 🙂

  • boyfriend claims red lips are always a repeller.

    but then again, presence of boyfriend would seem to refute said claim….

  • Anonymous

    My boyfriend (the presence of which means i must not be doing a good enough job repelling) loves the red lips.

  • Anonymous

    My ex told me as well to "get that shit off my lips""…although that could be why he's my ex! No one's going to tell me not to paint the town red! 🙂

  • Totally depends on shade of red.
    and If you can apply it nicely without looking like a tramp.
    unless the man likes a tramp…?

  • Propeller.
    I worked this look for New Year's Eve! The man (my man…currently not repelling) loved it and kissed me hard to ring in the new year. Sadly that is where the fun ended. I didn't close the deal.

  • Anonymous

    i think its only going to be a man propeller if you have long blonde hair, or big breats, hips, nice butt, and all of the other cliched old glamorous movie star physical characteristics. If you are androgynous in the least bit with your look (pixie cut, menswear, not revealing boobs/legs) then it will repel.

  • my guy refuses to kiss me with that "shit" on my lips. he's def. used the clown comment too so def. a repeller.

  • Propeller – definitely get much more noticed with red lipstick.

  • Depends on the guy, I'd say. Red lips scream confidence…which will either attract a guy who likes a chase or intimidate the guy.

  • Anonymous

    The few times I attempted red lipstick my boyfriend commented that I look like The Joker's sexy assistant, which might sound like a compliment but it was meant more as in, you look like a cartoon character…. I say repeller.

  • I've heard both, but I think it can be sexy! Then again, this is coming from a girl who wears tutus and pink fur shrugs to school. What would I know about what boys like 🙂

  • Anonymous

    "The prospect of red lipstick as a Man Repeller is fairy controversial."

    Uhmm …"FAIRY controversial" ?


  • Depends really. I once was watching this Korean Drama where one actress had on the most heinous red lips ever, maybe it was the skin tone I'm not sure, but the fact is one red does not equal another red. Lighter skin tones should use red with more a blue undertone. Those with darker skin I believe should go for peach undertones. I am very fair skinned and have yet to find that perfect red. So do not ask if it is a repellent it is all about how you wear it as the old adage goes wear it do not let it wear you. Adieu.

  • Anonymous

    My boyfriend personally requested that I never wear it again, so I'm gonna go with repeller. Then I have a boyfriend so what do I know?

  • both and love that last pic!! i think it depends on the shade and when its worn. my bf loves red lips, but sometimes he prefers bare on day to day basis. so maybe the more regularly you wear it, the less appealing it is


    Le Kiss Kiss- Click Here!!

  • my man is repelled by my red lips. so i wear them louder and brighter.

  • Girls love the red lip because of how it makes them feel. But guys hate it because of the images of street walker and happy endings that flash in their heads. But lest we forget, boys are stupid -_-

  • no

    been wondering the same but about red toe-nails. came to the conclusion that anything that has been adopted by the porn industry, must be a propeller – yeah, red lipstick included.

  • Anonymous

    You people have all been brainwashed by cosmetics ads in fashion magazines. Only girls like red lipstick!

    A little nude color or lip gloss is cool, and smokey eyes are hot… but I hate it when my girlfriend puts on red lipstick! Its messy, and it reminds me of kissy grandmothers. Yuck!

    No guy wants to make out with bozo the clown!

    Despite the fact that I'm posting on this blog, I am a heterosexual male (who likes to look at pretty girls in expensive clothes..) and I'm here to tell you: Red lipstick is a big messy turn off!

  • Anonymous

    Propeller! I've received only positive feedback from the red lip look.. at least from the men who interest me!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, porn is a window into unfettered male sexual desire .

    But, no. Most women in porn these days do not wear red lipstick.

    Don't believe me? Here's a test you can try that won't get you a computer virus:

    Go or even and count how many women have red lipstick. You'll see mostly shades of nude. 1 or 2 mild reds. But no strong red shades at all.

  • Your blog was recommended to me by a friend and I'm completely addicted! I'm working my way through the archives and I must say my(lack of a) love-life is suddenly making a lot more sense!

  • "Why didn't you just wear lipgloss?" Maybe cause I'm not at a high school dance.

  • Anonymous

    One must be young to look attractive wearing red lipstick. After a certain age, it's bad.

  • My current bf says he hates red lips and my last bf also said he hated red lips. They both said that it reminds them of "ladies of the night" if you know what I mean. Either I attract men who hate red lips, or based on this information, men don't like red lips.

  • PROPELLER! Red Lips are super sexy!

  • Well that's me in the last pic so it goes without saying that I love a bit of red lippy sometimes. To hell with the boys, I'm wearing it for me! Got to use up those 10 or so different shades of red lippy on my dressing table somehow…

  • Propeller! I wear red lipstick all the time, and I always get compliments, but some of my friends feel they can't pull the look off, so I think you look good in whatever you're comfortable with! Guys can sniff out confidence, they're like animals.

  • I think that if you are trying too hard or being too 'fashionable' then red lipstick can be a repeller. The first two ways they are worn are the best, most normal, and attractive. But whether it is attractive or not, I will still wear bright red lipstick with a chain-covered helmet whenever I feel like it.

  • i bought a bright red mac lipstick recently and have decided to wear it with my (possibly man repelling) black and gold sequined blazer whenever possible. Photographic evidence:

    not sure if my to-be-hubby likes it or not, but im crazy about it. even if my face is inevitably schmeared in red stains by the end of the night. not matter what. even if i dont talk or eat. it just spreads.

  • D

    red lipstick is fearless. holding onto mine 🙂

  • this post made me laugh so hard…but in answering the question, i never wear red lipstick just because i don't like it, but when i think about it, it is probably a repeller just because it may intimidate men.

  • Anonymous

    Let's not be delusional.
    1. Men are not intimidated by red lipstick.
    2. If you are an attractive woman, then the question doesn't matter. No man is ever going to kick Eva Mendes out of bed because of red lipstick.

  • Many and profuse thanks for all you have done for us, Dear Internet Friends.Adorable! They make me smile! 😀
    You are indeed most super fantastic and will be missed!
    Scarves Scarves

  • Just asked boyfriend (I am an every day red lip girl) 'A fucking propeller!'

  • i love this site! its the best thing thats happened to me! hilarious and wonderful!

  • Never mind the red lipstick–though am I huge fan of it–I NEED that black and white stripe Beetlejuice meets Working Girl jacket. And yes I would do red lips with it.

  • Anonymous

    Hubby is repelled. He hates red lipstick, both for the messy kiss factor and because he thinks I don't look "classy" which I think is just his way of rephrasing "you look like a hooker."

  • Oh my gosh! I was just writing about this. Yeah, a lot of guys are repelled. But the good ones love it 😉

  • I'm in high school and have received many compliments from ladies, but boys usually run and hide (the same goes for my Chanel Hysteria lipstick, but that is an entirely different story). My male teachers have also questioned it. I also live in white suburbia where fashion is quite misunderstood, so that may be the reason.

  • weird old man

    "wearing red lipstick is also a fine way to separate the actual straight men from the ones who just think they're straight…"

    Thank you, Man Repeller, for helping me sort out my sexuality. Because, well, I'm simply propelled. (Not so sure about the orange, though.)

  • you are so funny! red lipstick was everywhere and yes it had a touch of hollywood glam. It had.

    Now, when I see it everywhere with girls with smoky eyes, pixie cut and'edgy' dress, those red scares me.

    And talk about men.. the "don't kiss me with that shit on your lips" is soooo true! LOL. I think dark purple lipstick does it better in repelling tho..

    You're so funny, I'm addicted to your blog!

  • Anonymous

    Funny that I just found this post since my fiance told me yesterday that my red lipsick (Freudian slip of the spelling) didn't match my skin. This is the 10th no-so-subtle comment on the subject.

    My response, "You'll just have to get used to it because I love the way it makes me feel!"


  • I'm definitely a red lip propeller!! Absolutely love colour on my lips and I personally think that red is an everlasting colour that transcends any period in history.

  • Fashion is my life 😉

  • Pandora

    This is an old post but I have to comment on this one. It depends on the red and skin tone. A lot of fair skinned women can't pulled it off because of the contrast between their skin and the red, it makes the red stand out TOO much. Darker complected women can pull it off much easier, especially if the red is deep with blue undertones. Also, a matte red always looks better than a glossy red because it makes your lips appear a stained red color, and it's not messy.

    I'm caramel complected and the first time I wore a red lip (Rimmel London Ravish lip liner filled in) I received nothing but compliments from men. I received longer stares (positive ones), and more turned heads, all positive ones.

    So even if men don't like red lips in general, the right red lip on the right complexion with the right finish (matte or glossy) can be a serious turn on.

    My last boyfriend always commented on how sexy my lips looked when I wore it, so red has become my staple lip color and it works for me.

    PROPELLER all the way.

  • Pandora

    I also want to add that since wearing red lips, I notice some of my friends and acquaintances suddenly trying to wear it as well, which tells me that it looks good on me. Thing is, it doesn't look good on them. I also think red lips look better on women if their lips are fuller as opposed to thin lips which is what most of my friends have.

  • And more than one man has kissed me while I'm wearing it ON the same night. Sue me. Propeller 😉

  • LittleLolitaaa

    Properller! If you can make it look sexy and old-Hollywoody 🙂

  • Jennifer Hill

    A definite propeller.They don’t say red hot lips for nothing.

    Women Dress

  • Shye

    Too bad. I alwys had that man repeller thing. jeans and sneakers and way too skinny.
    I had a date every 3-6 months. Not joking.

  • great mindsThink a like

    Ya; I’m screwing up. Married 14 yrs. Don’t worry. I got it wrapped up. I whine at him everyday for what he says. I do get manoticed at least 4times a yr. Dam, I really gotta try harder. But man repelling comes naturally. Wish I were lying. 🙁

  • Motionless Tide

    I laughed so hard I was crying.