Lip service: Red lipstick symbolises power, femininity, glamour and rebellion. I love it!

What have Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, Marilyn Monroe and the Suffragettes have in common?

They were all fans of red lipstick.

For Cleopatra, it not only represented beauty and beautifying, but also her status, while Queen Elizabeth I believed it helped to ward off evil spirits. For the suffragettes, red lipstick was a symbol of feminine power.

During chats in the salon with my clients, some of them have mentioned that, for them, red lipstick represents a form of ‘emotional armour’. One lady told me that she never goes a day without wearing it, and that applying a fresh slick of it can lift her spirits in a heartbeat.

During WW2 the Red Cross sent boxes of red lipstick to the liberated female survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, in the hope that it would represent a return to normality and a brighter, more positive future.

The key to wearing red lipstick is finding a shade that works best with your skin tone, plus the formulation that you feel most comfortable in. Whether that’s a matte finish or a glossier hue. Consider also the mood you’re in, the social setting or indeed time of year. By this, I mean whether you’re heading out for lunch by the sea on a bright summer day and want to look casual or do you want to make statement in the boardroom on a Monday morning?

In most instances, not sticking to a single shade of red will give you a far wider beauty repertoire -and give you an excuse to treat yourself whenever you fancy.

Of course, if you’re not wholly confident wearing vivid scarlet, there are ways you can rock red without missing out on this great fashion favourite.

Lining your lips with a dark lip liner softens the red, if you think a given shade is too bright. Alternatively, using it as a tint rather than going for full coverage is a good way to go.

Ultimately, the essential rule for red lipstick is wear what you want.