The Red Lip: An American Classic

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages

The Red Lip: An American Classic

01 of 14

The Red Lip: An American Classic

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Roberta Bayley/Redferns/GettyImages; Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The red lip is a classic for a reason-it creates a glammed-up appearance in just one swipe and is universally flattering. And the timeless shade is just as iconic as the stars who have worn it! From silver screen sirens like Marilyn Monroe, to star musicians like Debbie Harry and Jennifer Lopez, we put together a list of the best red lip moments through the ages. Keep reading to see them all!

02 of 14

Marlene Dietrich

The Red Lip: An American Classic
GAB Archive/Redferns

German actress Dietrich defied typical gender roles of the by portraying strong female characters on-screen in films like Morocco and Shanghai Express, and her bold crimson lip made just as big of a statement.

03 of 14

Marilyn Monroe

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

It's impossible to speak of red lipstick without mentioning Marilyn Monroe, whose trademark rouge lip was as synonymous as the icon herself. While the jury is still out on whether or not gentlemen prefer blondes, there's no denying that Monroe's signature pout continues to influence the '50s-inspired beauty looks of today.

04 of 14

Elizabeth Taylor

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The late starlet's impressive film resume and colorful personal life may have made more headlines than her beauty looks, but Elizabeth Taylor knew the power of a bold red lip worn with confidence. "Being true to myself has always served me well," Taylor told InStyle in May 2010. "Be original, and be authentic."

05 of 14

Lena Horne

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Horne was famous for her roles as an actress, dancer, and singer-namely hits like "Stormy Weather," and "I've Got Rhythm." Between her perfect coiff and iconic ruby lipstick, Horne's beauty look certainly deserves a standing ovation.

06 of 14

Etta James

The Red Lip: An American Classic
GAB Archive/Redferns

The "At Last" singer showcased a vermilion lipstick on the cover of her eponymous 1962 album that was as strong as her own showstopping voice.

07 of 14

Ann-Margaret

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The rumor that redheads can't pull off a scarlet lipstick? Not true! Ann-Margaret broke the sterotype when she paired her fiery strands with a glossy red lip-plus a ruby manicure to boot!

08 of 14

Debbie Harry

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Roberta Bayley/Redferns

Talk about pretty in punk! Blondie's "Heart of Glass" single pushed the boundaries between the disco hits of the '70s, while offering a preview of the new wave trends of the '80s-and Debbie Harry's red lip followed suit. The saturated hue paid a nod to Harry's rocker-chic persona, while the glossy finish gave the look a modern edge.

09 of 14

Whitney Houston

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Palph Dominguez/Globe Photos

Forget the "less is more" mantra: In the '80s women pushed the limits with hair and makeup, which was certainly the case with Whitney Houston's bright eye and bold lip at the 1986 American Music Awards. "I love lipstick. I've got a lot of it!" the late singer told InStyle in January 2010.

10 of 14

Drew Barrymore

The Red Lip: An American Classic
S. Granitz/WireImage

In the '90s, fashion and beauty took a grungy turn, and the red lip wasn't excluded! Wine-toned crimsons like Drew Barrymore's became commonplace, flattering fashionistas and rocker chicks alike.

11 of 14

Christina Aguilera

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Perhaps as a nod to one of the original blonde bombshells, Aguilera channeled her inner Marilyn at the 2006 Grammys with her scarlet lip and platinum ringlets.

12 of 14

Gwen Stefani

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

Gwen Stefani has taken on many dynamic roles in her extensive career-from No Doubt frontwoman and solo artist, to fashion designer and mother of two-but the one thing that has remained constant? Her trademark red lip! "When I was 17, my grandmother got me a gift pack with all these different colored lipsticks, and one of them was burgundy," Stefani told InStyle in November 2011. "I tried it on and looked in the rearview mirror and said, 'That looks good.' I've worn it ever since."

13 of 14

Jennifer Lopez

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Jenny from the block goes high fashion! Lopez carried the vivid feeling of her Gucci number onto her makeup with a sanguine lipstick, a rare move for the star. "Bronze skin with a pale lip is a signature look of mine," she told InStyle in October 2010.

14 of 14

Taylor Swift

The Red Lip: An American Classic
Gregory Pace/BEImages

We're fans of the singer's passionate (and catchy!) lyrics, but her precise red lipstick is as much of a driving force behind her music as the love stories she uses as inspiration. "I love experimenting with different looks-except when I'm performing. Then it's always red lipstick," Swift told InStyle in March 2011. "I like the way it makes me feel when I'm onstage; it gives me power."

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