How to Rock Bright Red Lipstick


Mar 8, 2010
Credit: StyleUnited

Which Shade?

The key to wearing red lipstick is finding the best shade to complement your complexion. People with warm undertones — golden-toned skin, hazel or brown eyes, golden or reddish-toned hair and paler skin — look great in wine or true reds. If you have cool undertones — rosy skin, and blue, green or hazel eyes — try a blue red or a pinkish red and avoid orangey reds. With fair skin and dark hair, deep cherry reds flatter you. If you're olive skinned, look for brown-reds, fire-engine reds, or mahogany reds. Dark skin looks great with deep reds. Medium-to-dark skinned women look great in warmer, deeper reds with brown bases. If you have very dark skin, orange-based reds, fuschsias, magentas, and pinkish-reds were made for you.

Next, decide whether you want to go glossy or matte. A glossy, moist lip can feel more youthful, while matte has more staying power but can dry out more quickly. If you go matte, be sure to moisturize beforehand.

Cleanse Completely

Because red lipstick is such a bold statement, it looks best on a clean face with minimal makeup. Before you go any further, you need to scrub up — both your face and, yes, your lips. After you wash your face, apply a lip scrub or exfoliator. If you don't have one, gently rub your lips with a wet washcloth.

Get Slick

Now apply a lightweight balm or a lip primer — dab on a small amount of petroleum jelly if you don't have primer or balm. Your lipstick will go on more smoothly and you'll minimize the potential for color bleeding. Your lips shouldn't be slippery or overly glossed, but they should be smooth and well hydrated.

To Line or Not to Line

Using a lip liner isn't necessary. But if your lips are thinner, you can use a neutral liner or a liner that matches your lip color to help fill out your lips.

Magic Brush

This brings us to one of the most important tools you need in your makeup bag to help get red lipstick right: a lip brush. You'll have more control over your application and volume. Brush a few strokes against the lipstick, and then apply to your lips.

Blend Boldly

If you're not in love with your look, don't be afraid to blend. If your red lips are too dark, try toning it down with a lighter lipstick. If they're too light, gently apply a slightly darker color. Mix and match colors until you create a radiant red that feels completely "you."