As a fair-skinned red-head, I’ve never considered myself capable of pulling off red lipstick. Oh, I’ve stood in front of my fair share of mirrors, trying on blood-red glosses and mugging with my best pin-up pucker. It was just never quite, ah, shall we say “do-able.” But I’ve recently been experimenting with different shades, textures, and application techniques. What I’ve found is that every woman (yes, every woman!) can wear red lipstick confidently and beautifully.
The most crucial step in the entire process is to choose the right red for you. You must select a shade that will go with your skin tone. If you have:
pale skin with pink undertones, use a blue-red like Stiletto Red from Too Faced.
medium skin with olive or beige undertones, use an orange-red like See Red by CoverGirl, or true-red like Yves Rocher’s Bright Red.
dark skin with beige or neutral undertones, use a true-red like Gio by Giorgio Armani.
Cleanse the lips, dry thoroughly, and apply a lip balm. You want to ensure a smooth, supple base. Using a lip liner in a shade darker than your lipstick, trace just around the outside edge of your natural lip line. If you want to give the illusion of a more plump lip or symmetrical lip line, you can follow the contouring and defining methods in this blog post by Olivia J. She has some great tips and a step-by-step how-to.
Now that you’re ready to apply the red, begin at the center of your upper lip. Sweep the color carefully outward in a small arc on each side to define the cupid’s bow. Next, go to the outer corners and apply the color in a smooth motion towards the center of the lip, both top and bottom lips. Fill in the centers, being careful to not apply too heavily. You want a good coat without it caking.
Do you sometimes end up with lipstick on your teeth, even after you check? Try this trick, especially with lipsticks in red or dark colors. Open your mouth, place a clean finger between your lips, close just the inner portion of your lips gently over it, like you’re drinking from a straw, and carefully pull your finger out. This removes any bits that might reach your pearly whites without removing color from the visible portion of your lips. Apply a gloss after this step if you like, but keep in mind that glosses create the need for more frequent touch-ups and a higher likelihood of feathering.
You, my friend, are officially rocking the red. Do your happy dance. Wear that cute outfit that you save for special occasions. Let yourself feel fierce and amazing, because you are, and don’t you forget it. Now, get out there and turn some heads.