How to Rock Red Lipstick

how to rock red lipstick

Red lips are a classic. It’s a quintessential, timeless beauty look, yet I’ve heard countless women say they ‘can’t pull it off.’ What they don’t realize is everyone can wear red lipstick beautifully. It’s all about finding the perfect shade for you, and pairing it with the right makeup. Keep reading for our ultimate tips and tricks for rocking RED.

FIND YOUR MOST FLATTERING RED: I’m all for wearing whatever you want – beauty rules are meant to be broken. That being said, there are shades that flatter certain skin tones better than other. Generally speaking, those with fair skin look best in reds that veer on the coral side or have pink undertones. If your skin is just a bit deeper, a light-to-medium shade, you should go for a true red. Classic red shades also have that magic ability to make teeth appear whiter – a nice added bonus. Medium and olive skin tones look incredible with brick red, slightly brown or soft berry hues. People with caramel skin tones are lucky in the sense that virtually every shade of red looks good on them! A true red is a classic choice, but red-oranges and brick shades work too. If you have a deep skin tone, your ideal shade is a plum-based red, something with hints of purple. Orange-reds also work beautifully with deep skin tones; the contrast is strikingly gorgeous.


FAIR: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Grace ($32); Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Love That Red ($7.99)

LIGHT-MEDIUM: Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Underage Red ($21); Urban Decay UD Gwen Lipstick in 714 ($18)

MEDIUM/OLIVE: Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Maple ($26); Maybelline Color Sensation Creamy Matte Lip Color in Rich Ruby ($7.99)

MEDIUM-DARK: YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Le Rouge ($37); NYX Round Case Lipstick in Electra ($3.99)

DEEP: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Vera ($32); Smashbox Be Legendary Matte Lipstick in Fireball Matte ($21)

PICK YOUR FORMULA: There are so many different lipstick formulas out there – there’s no right formula; it’s all about preference and the look you’re going for. Matte red lipsticks give off that ‘Old Hollywood’ vibe that so many are aspiring for when they choose to go with a red lip. Matte lipstick lasts all day with minimal touch-ups necessary, and with today’s advanced solutions, there are many formulas that won’t feel drying on your lips, like Maybelline’s Creamy Mattes. For a more modern and fresh take on crimson lips, go with a gloss. It’s low-maintenance, yet glam, and you have control over how opaque you want the look to be depending on how many coats you apply. Anastasia Beverly Hills makes fantastic pigmented lip glosses. Then there are the ever-popular liquid lipsticks. If you want a look that truly will not budge, from morning to night, go with a liquid formula. With bold colors like red, I think using a liquid lipstick is the way to go. Once it sets, you won’t have to worry about the color fading, bleeding or ending up on someone else! Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are comfortable to wear and stay put.


PREP YOUR LIPS: Once you have your red lipstick picked out, it’s time to start prepping your lips. Bright lip colors, especially matte formulas, can exaggerate the appearance of chapped or peeling lips. It’s so important to exfoliate and moisturize your lips before applying your lipstick. I love making a DIY lip exfoliator out of equal parts sugar and honey. Using a toothbrush, I rub the mixture on my lips in circular motions until they’re smooth. After exfoliating, apply a moisturizing lip balm, like Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. Let it sink in for a few minutes, then blot away the excess product with a tissue.


LINE YOUR LIPS: Grab a sharpened lip liner that’s close to your lipstick color – ColourPop has corresponding lip liners for all of their lipsticks. By lining your lips, you’re preventing the lip color from bleeding or fading over the course of the night. Take the liner, and carefully map out an ‘X’ on your Cupid’s bow. Proceed to draw along the perimeter of your lips, connecting all of the lines. If you want to make your lips appear fuller, check out our guide to overlining, HERE.

FILL IN: To keep your lipstick in place as long as possible, fill in your entire lip with your lip liner, then go over it with the lipstick. It just adds an extra layer of color. If you don’t want to alter the appearance of your lipstick at all, skip this step and simply outline.


GET RID OF THE EXCESS: The most common red lipstick fear? Getting it all over your teeth! Avoid this beauty faux pas by blotting your lipstick with a tissue before leaving your house. You could also place your index finger in your mouth, wrap your lips around it and pull it out to remove excess product.

BRING YOUR LIPSTICK WITH YOU: Odds are you will have to reapply your red lippie once or twice throughout the course of the night (unless you used a liquid lipstick). Keep your lippie in your purse so it’s readily available for touch-ups.


GO LIGHT WITH YOUR EYES: A good rule of thumb: if you’re going bold with your lips, keep your eyes simple. One of the biggest celebrity trends of the moment is a bright red lip with next-to-no-eye-makeup. This sounds like something that probably shouldn’t work, but it is so effortlessly cool, fresh and unfussy. A bit of beige eyeshadow and a few swipes of mascara is all you need. As for your cheeks, go with something neutral, like Milani’s Luminoso.

Are you a red lipstick fan? Let us know in the comments below!

Image via TheBodyisNotanApology

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