The Classic Red Lip

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If you’re looking for a show-stopping look – the red lip is the way to go. Simple, sexy, and eternal, a crimson pout promises to turn heads.

Personal Note


The right red. There are so many so-called rules about the “right red” for your skin tone and hair. In my experience, there are no hard and fast rules in makeup. The bottom line is, you must try it on to see how it looks on you. Try on the first red that strikes your fancy – then determine whether you want something bolder, softer, deeper, pinker, etc. Keep trying until you find one that makes you smile.

Generally, women with lighter skin, freckles, pink undertones, etc., fair better with reds that have more blue undertones – colors like cherry or wine. On the other hand, women with warmer/olive skin, darker hair, and yellow undertones do better with deeper, more orange/brownish reds. These reds may have an element of coral, gold, or brick.

Step 1: Prep and Prime

There are times when you can do without primer. This is not one of them. Moisturize, then apply a lip primer on your lips, extending it to just beyond your lips’ border. This will help prevent your lipstick from traveling.

*Do not slather on loads of primer. It will backfire and cause your makeup to slip. Use a tiny dab – you’ll be just fine.

Step 2: Foundation and Powder

 A red lip requires undivided attention. Any ruddiness in the skin will take away from the impact of a bold red lip. If you have redness or blemished skin, be sure to conceal well.

Apply foundation to your entire face including your lips. Then set your foundation with translucent powder, including your lips. You will look pale at this point. That’s part of the plan.

Step 3: Line

Use a lip liner that matches your preferred lipstick to line your lips. Apply your liner in the direction recommended in the image above. This will help keep your lips looking even.

*Don’t forget! Apply your liner using light feathery strokes. Think less scribble, more sketch.

Step 4: Fill

 It’s important to use a lip brush when applying a strong color like red. You will have more control this way.

Step 5: Blot and Powder

Blotting is a great way to get your lip color to last through the night. Press your lips together on a piece of tissue. Next, use a tapping motion to dust a tiny amount of translucent powder over your lips. The point is to set your lipstick, not cover it. Take care not to smudge or smear. I like to use a makeup sponge for this task.

Step 6: Fill Again

Go ahead and apply your second coat of lipstick using a lip brush. You can use another shade of red at this point to create your desired look. It’s all about trial and error.

Step 7: Gloss and Smile!

Use a clear gloss or something with a little shimmer over your ruby reds (I love gold flecked lip gloss). Be very careful not to apply lip gloss too close to the edges of your lips – you could end up looking like The Joker.

Smile! Your gorgeous red lips are ready to stun, but before you head out the door, give yourself a look in the mirror. You might have lipstick on your teeth.

Solve this problem by putting your index finger in your mouth, then close your lips like you would around a straw, and slide your finger out. Any excess lipstick that may have ended up on your teeth will come off on your finger. (Phew!) Now you are ready to knock’em dead. 


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