Are you ready to channel your inner big screen siren? From Marilyn Monroe to Gwen Stefani, the perfect red lipstick will never go out of style. If you love the look but lack the bravery to get yourself out the door with a fire engine red lip, change is coming! Find your perfect shade of red lipstick and get ready to have all eyes on you.
Know what to expect from your product
First and foremost, you need to decide exactly what you want to put on your lips. The product that you choose can make just as much of a difference as the color that you pick. If you’re a lippie pro, feel free to skip over this section.
If you are just getting your bearings in the world of lip products, it’s important to know what’s what. It’s not just about different packaging! Each lip product has a different purpose and it’s important to know what you are looking for. Here’s a quick and easy guide:
1. Lip gloss
Lip gloss is great if you are looking for something subtle and moisturizing. It’s terrible if you need something that will stay on your lips for a long time. There are a lot of lip glosses for teens out there, so stick to the adult section if you want a more grown up look. Avoid anything with glitter or ultra-glossy finishes.
Admittedly, lip gloss can be a bit of a pain but it does have its upsides. If you aren’t feeling confident about pulling off a red lip, it’s the perfect place to start. It’ll give you a subtle, low commitment look. Lip gloss it also a godsend for those of us with thin lips. A little dot of gloss in the center will give you the illusion of fuller lips.
2. Lip Tint
Lip tint is a great alternative to lip gloss. If you love the look of lip gloss but find it too gunky, go for lip tint. It’ll give you a somewhat glossy look but it’s a little more matte and a whole lot less gooey. It has about the same staying power and opacity as lip gloss.
3. Lip Balm
I can’t write an unbiased description of lip balm. I think colored lip balms are probably the best beauty product ever made. Personally, if I’m going to apply something several times a day, I want it to really work for me. I’m looking for SPF, moisturizer, and color. I even add mine to my cheeks during the winter when I’m looking dry and pale.
It’s not going to give you an ultra-bold color but it will give you a pop of red. It’s not quite as gooey as lip gloss but it does require multiple applications.
4. Lip Stain
The great thing about lip stain is that it lasts. A lot of lip stains stick around longer than even the longest wearing lipsticks. On top of that, it doesn’t have the same cake-like sort of feel as lipstick. The downside is that you really have to know what you’re doing as far as application goes. It’s not going to wipe off with a little water and tissue, so you need to put it on very carefully.
Beyond that, it really is a great product, but know that not all lip stains are created equal. A lot of the cheaper versions have the same lasting power as lip gloss, so read reviews before you buy. Red lip stains will generally give you a more subtle look similar to balms, tints, and glosses.
There is a massive range in lipsticks these days. From matte to high gloss, any cosmetics company will carry every shade in every finish. If you want a bold red shade, go for lipstick. You won’t find the same deep pigmentation or range of shades in any other formula.Very generally speaking, you’re going to get a staying power somewhere between lip stain and lip gloss.
There are long-wearing lipsticks but there’s some trade off there. Rather than wearing off quickly and evenly like a standard lipstick, a lot of long-wearing lipsticks tend to peel. Instead of being able to wipe the remaining lipstick off, you’re going to need makeup remover. Not so handy on the go. Of course, your results may vary but do check reviews and do some testing before you stock up on long-wearing formulas.
How to find the perfect shade of red
The best way to find your shade of red lipstick is to head to the makeup counter. Get into some good lighting and start to experiment. Apply it to your arm to get an idea of what the color will look like next to your skin. Never trust the tube label.
As far as choosing a shade, it really is all about you and what you feel comfortable with, but there are a few guidelines that’ll help you find a shade that complements your skin tone.
If you want to know how to wear red lipstick, you need to know your skin. If you have fair skin, check out some red lipsticks with orange undertones. Look for apricot and fruity shades that will complement the pink undertone of your skin.
Beige-toned ladies are going to look best in a true red shade. Avoid any plum shades that can make you look washed out. If you have a golden skin tone, rock that plum! Go for rich, warm shades that will make your skin sparkle.
For olive skin, look for a red lipstick that has blue undertones. As a bonus, it’ll make your teeth look whiter. For bronze skin, look for bold shades of red. Anything muted will make your skin look duller. If you have darker toned skin, look for berry shades and avoid anything with a grey undertone.
Create a balance between the eyes and the lips
If you are going to figure out how to wear red lipstick in the most flattering possible way, pay attention to the balance. Don’t make your lips compete for attention. One of the most important aspects of creating an amazing look is understanding how to balance your cosmetics.
You don’t want your eyes and lips competing for attention. It’s important to create a subtle but flattering eye makeup look. If you go too subtle, you’ll look like a kid who got into her mom’s lipstick so it’s important to find just the right amount.
Always wear mascara with red lipstick or you’ll risk looking washed out. If you’re going for a bold shade of red, add a thin layer of liner to balance the bright color.
Not just for the evening
You can wear red lipstick anytime, anywhere. The secret to pulling it off is to adjust the boldness. A fire engine red is going to be a bit much at the breakfast table. If you want a daytime look, lean toward glosses and subtler shades of red. You can pull off stop sign red in a gloss but a shade that bold will look pretty harsh in a lipstick.
Ultimately, if you want the secret formula for how to wear red lipstick, you can compare it to shoes. You should have a formal red lipstick and an informal one. Just like you can wear some high heels during the day, you can wear some red lipsticks during the day. Of course, there’s a difference between cute wedges and knee high leather stiletto boots.
Think of bold red high gloss lipstick as your stiletto boots and imagine your red tinted lip balm as a summer wedge. Proceed accordingly.
What to wear with red lips
If you want to know how to wear red lipstick, think of your lipstick as an accessory. You can make a basic pair of jeans and a tee look fashionable with an amazing red lip. A bold lipstick can also take a formal look to the next level.
Be careful about getting too crazy with matching though. Matching your lipstick to your dress or top can look good but it can also be a risky maneuver. Trying too hard is rarely a good look. You’re generally better off with a complementary shade than a color that is an exact match. Better yet, go for a contrasting shade for a truly show stopping look.
We’ve talked a lot about complementary colors on this site because it’s such an important idea in style. If you really want an amazing look, pair an emerald green sweater with a burgundy lip. Wear coral lipstick with a soft blue scarf. Give your pastel pink blouse an edge with some wine colored lipstick. It really will transform your look and you’ll be able to achieve something far fresher and more modern than the old red dress and lipstick combo.
Okay, now we are at the point where you are actually ready to learn how to wear red lipstick, so let’s look at how to apply it properly. If you are going to be wearing a matte, it’s particularly important to regularly exfoliate your lips. If it’s been a while since you’ve done it, get to work. If you don’t have a lip exfoliating cream handy, just use your toothbrush. Gently brush your lips then follow up with a hydrating balm. Let it soak in for a few minutes then wipe it off.
For bold red shades, it’s important to start with a lip liner. It will make any lip product that you choose last longer. Line your entire mouth and fill in your lips for maximum staying power.
If you’re going to wear bright red stain or lipstick, apply it with a lip brush. Your finger is fine for subtler shades and glosses but you’ll want something precise for anything longer lasting.
To prevent your lipstick from bleeding, line your lips with a flesh colored or off-white liner. This will create a barrier between your lip color and the rest of your face. Blend well to make sure that you don’t have an obvious ring around your mouth.
If you don’t have the right color of liner, you can also use a concealer. Use a clean lip brush to apply a line of concealer around your pucker. Blend well and you’ll never have to worry about your lipstick feathering out onto your face.
Make it last
If you’re worried about finding a lip product that will last for you, fear not! Beyond just adding a little lip liner, there is a lot more that you can do to make your lipstick last all day. Go ahead and steal a few tricks from the world’s top makeup artists!
Ready to really up your makeup game? Here’s what you’ll need: your red lipstick, liner in a similar shade, translucent powder, a blush brush and some tissues. Forget about the long lasting lipstick for now. For the moment, let’s focus on whatever not so great quality stuff you have on clearance. Extended wear already provides you with everything that you need to keep your red lips shining all day.
The first step to making your red lipstick last is to line your lips and fill them in. If you’re having trouble getting your cupid’s bow looking perfect, just make an X. The x shaped pattern will give you a perfectly defined cupid’s bow. So, make the x shape, line your lips and then fill them in.
Once you have an all red lip, you are ready to add your lipstick. Apply it with a lipstick brush to get the maximum amount of precision. You can apply the color directly from the tube if you’re using a more subtle shade but for a bold red shade it’s best to apply it with a brush.
But, wait! There’s more. After you apply your lipstick, you are ready for the final step that really seals the deal. Here’s where the tissue comes into play. Toilet paper will work better than facial tissues so head to the bathroom and grab a square. Pull it in half so that you have single ply sheet.
Grab your translucent powder and blush brush. Put the single ply piece of tissue over your month then dust a little translucent powder over your lips. This shouldn’t affect the look of your red lipstick. It might make it look a little more matte but it won’t actually dull the color. Once the powder is settled, you’re ready to go.
Get out and enjoy your show stopping red lips!