Do Men Like a Woman in Red Lipstick? The Answer May Surprise You

Emma Stone

Emma Stone looks gorgeous with natural makeup and with a bright red lip. We’d bet boyfriend Andrew Garfield probably wouldn’t mind either way.
Photos: Getty Images

How many times have you read — or even heard from the source itself — that guys only like natural-looking makeup? One of the long-held rules of date night makeup has been to highlight your best features, but to keep your look as natural as possible. So when I got ready for a first date last week, the first thing I did was swipe off the red lipstick I wore to work all day. Don’t want to look too high-maintenance, right?

Turns out that assumption may not be true, at least with my guy. Thirty minutes into our date he asked me if I ever wore lipstick. Little did he know I was wearing a light rose pink at the time (too natural, perhaps?). “Men love lipstick on a woman,” he told me in his Scottish accent. “Red, pink. It looks so sophisticated and beautiful. It brings you back to the ’40s, when people spent so much more time on their appearance.”

Although your average guy may not admit having as strong an opinion about lip colors, a recent study at the University of Manchester found that men really are attracted to lipstick, with red being the most captivating. The study involved 50 men viewing photos of women wearing red lipstick, pink lipstick or no lipstick at all. Researchers found that the men spent an average of 7.3 seconds staring at the women wearing red lipstick, 6.7 at the pink lipped ladies and only 2.2 seconds at those who wore no lipstick.

A previous study found that waitresses with red lipstick were tipped by men 50 percent of the time while women with brown, pink or no lipstick were tipped 30 percent of the time (this was in France, where tipping is optional). The men in the study, when questioned later, said they tipped more because they found the women with red lipstick to be more attractive.

So men notice lipstick, but is that really such a shocker? This hadn’t been the first time I was talking to a guy who commented on having a preference one way or the other. Lipstick is bright, bold, and it accentuates one of our most sensual features. Clearly, a bright red lip will grab the attention of a man on the street. Once you snag the date, it’s up to you whether it becomes part of your date night ensemble. (Maybe you just need a long-lasting formula — MAC’s will last through anything). Personally, I love lipstick. I feel naked without it. And if my date happens to feel differently than the Scot, well then that’s alright. I am a little high-maintenance — at least when it comes to my beauty routine.

Would you change your lipstick shade for a date?

Read more: Find the Best Lipstick Color For Your Skin Tone