Major celebrities, such as Gwen Stefani, Taylor Swift and Scarlett Johansson, swear by red lipstick and are rarely seen on the red carpet wearing an alternate shade. The right red lipstick can lend sophistication to any look and brighten up your entire face. It also makes your teeth pop, particularly if they are already a glossy white. However, a lot of work goes into creating this look, so only venture into bright reds if you have the time to do it properly.
Exfoliate Your Lips
Red lipstick emphasizes underlying issues with your lips, so if you have a problem with chapped lips or flaky skin, get it under control a few days before you tackle this beauty staple. Some companies manufacture specifically formulated lip scrubs, but you can make a do-it-yourself scrub of sugar mixed with toothpaste and rubbed across with a toothbrush. After you remove your dead skin, use a nice lip balm to get in shape. If you expedite this process for a date-night or event, you need to leave your balm on for at least an hour, let it soak in, and then wipe off the excess.
While your goal is not to totally white out your lips, you do need to apply your usual foundation or a lip product designed to act as a blank slate before applying your lipstick. This will provide you with the truest color possible.
Color between the Lines
Red lipstick bleeds, so you need to create a border around your lips to avoid venturing into clown territory. If possible, buy your lip liner and lipstick together from the same brand in the same shade. When this isn’t possible, try to match your lipstick shade as exactly as possible.
Fill It in
After you’ve established a line, fill it in with lipstick. Until you gain experience with red application, consider sticking with a matte. Apply your first coat, blot, and apply a second coat. Then, if you want a pop of sheen, add a translucent gloss to the center of each of your lips. This will add the shine you want and make your lips look fuller. Win win.
Throwing Some Shade
If you’ve mastered the steps of application but are still unhappy with your look, you may need a different shade of red lipstick. Blondes generally need a red with blue undertones to balance out skin tone while brunettes and women with black hair rock red with orange undertones well. However, you can usually venture out of your recommended shade zone if you have experience with hair and makeup and can use these components to offset or compliment the lip.