Bullfighters waving a red flag before a charging beast; the vivid soles of Christian Louboutin heels; The Scarlet Letter. Red is evocative and provocative. The color holds mysterious allure. A man in a tux is classic and confident in his own skin; a woman just needs a simple, timeless red lipstick.

If you’re the type of woman who carries a selection of trusty colors everywhere, you know the importance of a versatile lip color that easily translates from day to night. You can venture outside in a day-old bun without a lash of mascara, but if you pair it with a bold ruby lip, suddenly, you’re Taylor Swift. In the season of love, there’s nothing more likely to get you in the mood for romance. Other than spanx, it’s a woman’s greatest weapon.

In the words of Leslie Hernandez, co-owner of The Makeup Zone in Frisco, “Red lipstick is to the beauty industry what a black dress is to the fashion industry. It makes a women unforgettable and goes with any look. You can never go wrong with a red lip.”

Red itself is associated with energy, danger and power, as well as passion, desire, good luck and love. Restaurants use scarlet to stimulate appetites, which explains why Chick-fil-a, McDonald’s and Wendy’s all have similar color schemes. Red attracts attention, signifying danger—bloodshed, a stop sign—or lures you in with the promise of a Big Mac. As summed up by Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik in their Scientific American article on the subject, red is the color of Cupid and the Devil.

No two lipsticks are alike. Before diving into Sephora, it’s good to identify the shade that works for you: sophisticated burgundy, demure plum, classic ruby or vivacious scarlet. Deep red shades with blue undertones work well on light skin. For darker complexions, rich cherry tones or deep purple undertones are stunning.

Red lipstick can change the way the wearer is perceived by others. It projects confidence and sexuality, drawing focus to the lips. In “Does Red Lipstick Really Attract Men? An Evaluation in a Bar” which was conducted in the sultry regions of France, volunteer women sat in bars wearing red, pink, brown or no lipstick while observers timed how long it took for them to be approached and how many men approached them. Results showed that red lipstick was associated with both a higher number of male solicitations and a shorter lead time between the women’s arrival at the bar and the first bachelor up at bat.

Read more: Life Lessons from Lulu Amin

A smear of red lipstick on the rim of a coffee mug makes a strong impression. It’s like marking your territory when you’re on a date. It’ll project the confidence and allure you’ll leave behind when you go to the bathroom and draw attention to your lips when you speak.

Makeup artist Natalia Issa calls red lips a state of mind. “People love to see a woman with red lips because it draws attention to her beauty,” she says. “The lips are one of the most beautiful features of a woman. I own a wide variety of red lipsticks and on days when I don’t feel like a conqueror, I wear red to remind myself that I have the power to change my circumstances.”

At the end of the day, however, we love red lipstick not for how it makes others see us, but for how it makes us feel.

Don your lipstick, ladies and walk out the door as queens.