Killer Kissers Addicted to Red

This holiday season, the lady is a vamp.

In a throwback to 1950s pin-up queens and 1980s hair-band groupies, red lipstick has made its way back into our hearts as well onto our lovers' shirt collars.

Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johansson, Renee Zellweger, Gwen Stefani, Rachel McAdams, Jamie-Lynn DiScala and Carmen Electra have all been setting the red carpet on fire with their flaming lips.

Test yourself: Whose lips are these?

"I love the old-fashioned glamour about it. It's a little bit vampy, a little bit seductive and a little bit playful," said Libby Cudmore of Manhattan's upscale Max Spa. "Pink will always be pink, but red can go from the Marilyn Monroe thing to a smoldering Betty Page look."

Hollywood's "it girls" have always been known for painting their pouts crimson, making red lipstick a piece of Americana.

In the 1950s, comedian Lucille Ball and screen siren Veronica Lake were known for their signature cherry balms, and in the 1960s, Ginger on "Gilligan's Island" glammed it up with candy red lips.

In the 1970s, red was redefined as a power color, thanks to Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman character. The trend was carried on in the 1980s by stars like Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl" and countless video vixens.

"It's a classic up-to-no-good color. A girl with red lipstick is someone I'd want to hang out with at a bar, but wouldn't want to bring home to my parents," said Mordechai Rubinstein, 30, a representative for men's fashion designer Jack Spade.

But style experts say the new red is more classy than trashy.

"I think the trends a couple of years ago were really trashy with the whole trucker hat thing, and now we are going back to a more elegant time, where people want to look like ladies," said Cudmore.

The ladylike, done-up trend doesn't stop at bold lips. DiScala and Electra have also been known to put their attitude on their nails, donning bold polish colors like Essie's Pouf Daddy, $8.

Eyelash extensions have also become "hugely popular" among those wanting to look polished — and can afford to do so. Lash lengthening costs $450 and takes two-and-half hours to perform. Fortunately, it lasts up to three months.

"Right now you want people to notice that you are putting in effort," said Cudmore, whose spa specializes in the extensions. "Eyelashes and makeup are ways to make yourself stand out."

Another key element of the new look is liquid eyeliner, which in conjunction with red lip gloss was used to give the models at Moschino's spring '06 fashion show an extra edge.

"I think women are trying to be more sophisticated this holiday season. All they have to do is throw on some red lipstick or use a little liquid liner and they can dress up any outfit," said Julia Sloan, a representative for Guerlain cosmetics.

"The [red-based] Kiss Kiss lipsticks ($36 each) are flying off the shelves," added Sloan. "The color Sexy Tango, which is a reddish-brown, is doing phenomenally ... People like it because it is so easy. All you have to do is put on red lipstick and it is totally revitalizing."

While many are choosing to make a statement with loud colors, there are trendy alternatives for the less flashy.

Stila cosmetics sells an array of glosses, sheer and matte lipsticks and lip glazes in beautiful neutrals.

Their lip glaze holiday set ($25) features six subtle colors — vanilla, apricot, brown sugar, grapefruit, lemon and crème — which when paired with their holiday eye trio in "warm" ($28) give just enough color without looking like you spent all afternoon in front of the mirror.

Stila's lash boost, a pre-mascara eyelash primer ($9.50) is another great way to add va-va-va-voom without looking too obvious, a trick used by celebrities like Cate Blanchett.

But for the most part, the truly fashion-forward are channeling their inner Robert Palmer back-up dancer and becoming re-addicted to red.

"Wearing red lipstick, nail polish and eyelash extensions makes you feel special. It's a way of looking sexy without wearing 6-inch heels. It is about exerting your femininity," said Cudmore.

Men don't seem to be having any complaints about this comeback look, either. Even Rubinstein, who wouldn't bring a red mouth home to mom, said the new look is more chic than street.

"A woman can wear a navy or black outfit, but a little bit of red lipstick spices the whole thing up. One of the girls in my office is wearing navy today with red lipstick and she looks dashing. It looks good midday now."

But that's not what he likes best about it.

"I think it's the '80s stripper thing that makes it hot," he said.