As Gwyneth Paltrow once wrote in her cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, “Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” Okay, so maybe a kick-ass red lipstick won’t entirely transform your life, but can anything as quickly and as easily turn you into a glamazon?
For a very long time, the red lip has been a sign that a woman is daring and sensual—and a true class act. “Red lips go back to Snow White,” the late makeup legend Kevyn Aucoin told InStyle. (He worked with Julianne Moore, Julia Roberts, and countless other superstars before his untimely death in 2002.) As if you need proof of just how enduring the red lip is, see the photos of above of Madonna in 1996, Adele in 2013, and Rihanna in 2009—all sporting a rose-colored pucker and all looking amazing no matter what the decade.
In honor of InStyle‘s 20th anniversary, we went back into our archives to find tried-and-true advice on pulling off the makeup mainstay, and to pay tribute to the female stars who have proved over the last 20 years that a red lip is as timeless as any beauty look can get.