Your Step-By-Step Guide To Applying Red Lipstick

There are lots of tips and tricks to choosing the right shade and texture of red lipstick to complement your skin tone and the rest of your makeup

A bright red lip can be scary. Many people think of them as vampy or daring, but there are lots of things you can do to dip your toe in the water and try out a subtle red look without going all out.Red Lipstick 01

Step-By-Step Guide —

1. If there is any dryness or flakiness, red lipstick will look terrible, so start by gently exfoliating with a lip scuff or sugar scrub – or even by gently rubbing with a toothbrush or flannel.

2. To carry off a red lip, you need to think of the rest of the face first. If you have any other redness such as a red vein on the nose or any spots, red lipstick will emphasize it, so cover these areas with a good concealer or foundation first. You can also use a nude pencil around the inside of the eye so the only red on the face will be the lips.

3. You can buy the most expensive lipstick brand in the world, but if you don’t prep the base properly it will still shift in ten minutes as soon as you eat or drink. Apply concealer around the lips and right up to the lip line to prevent the color bleeding. Some makeup artists apply base, but I prefer not to.

4. Use a lip stain to create a base color on the lip, so if some of the lipstick color does rub off you still have some color beneath. Stains come in a felt tip-style pen and are better for a base than a pencil because they really do stain the lip and don’t slide off.

5. Next take a lip pencil. Sketch in the shape of your lips. Do it in a magnifying mirror for precision, then step back and look at the shape in a normal mirror to check that it’s even.

6. Apply the lipstick. You can do this with a brush or straight from the bullet. A brush will give a more precise line. Blot with a tissue. Apply a very fine layer of loose translucent powder. Apply a second layer of lipstick color and blot and powder a second time to set the color.Red Lipstick 02


Try applying the lipstick with your middle finger, dabbing it on lightly, rather than using a brush or applying from the tube. This will keep the color softer and give it more of a matte finish. Blend it in with a cotton bud to create a soft, stained effect. Build up color gradually in layers for a stronger look without that polished finish.


Most people test lipsticks on the inside of the wrist or the back of the hand, but that doesn’t give you a good idea of how the shade will look with your facial skin tone.

A great way to test out shades in the shop before you buy is to apply the tester to your index and middle finger tips, then to hold your fingers in front of your lips as you look in the mirror. You may feel a bit silly, but you’ll make fewer mistakes because you’ll see at firsthand how the color will work with the rest of your face.

There are certain ‘rules’ about which reds suit which skin tone, but you’ll know instinctively whether a shade feels right for you or if it makes your teeth look yellow or deepens the dark circles under your eyes.Red Lipstick 03

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