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How To Wear Red Lipstick

How-To: Apply a Red Lipstick

Applying a red lipstick can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Now that I've provided tips from choosing your undertone, to picking a cool red, a warm red, and a true red, you're good to go. But wait — there's more:

  • Prep — Get the lips ready to hold the bold shade with a light sweep of foundation or a lip primer such as Smashbox Lid & Lip Primer ($24). Set with a dusting of translucent powder. Coty AirSpun Loose Face Powder in Translucent ($6.99) should do the trick.
  • Line up — Using a lip liner in a shade or two closest to your natural lip color, line and fill in your entire lips. You can also work with a red liner if you can find an exact match to your lipstick. Never use a darker color. It can look très tacky.
  • Apply — You can always do it the old fashioned straight-from-the-tube way, but I like using a lip brush for more control. Start at the center of your lips, and work outwards.
  • Blot and re-apply — For a surefire way to lock in the color, blot with a tissue and apply your chosen red once more.
  • Finishing touches — Make a little smudge? Clean it up with a Q-Tip and some concealer. Want some extra shine? Layer a red gloss like NP Set Lip Gloss in St. John Red ($15) or a sparkly clear one such as Bare Escentuals Buxom Lips in Dominique ($18).

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Join The Conversation
valism valism 7 years
I tried for years to do a classic red until I recently discovered how flattering a warmer red is on my skin. I'm glad you're bringing awareness to the redness issue - everyone deserves a great lookin' red pout!~
lizlee89 lizlee89 7 years
this is why I don't wear red lipstick - it's too much work! I do think it looks beautiful though...
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 7 years
great tips!
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 7 years
great tips!
emalove emalove 7 years
Oh, and I LOVE BE Buxom Lips in Dominique. My sister bought it for me, and I think it's fab--clear with such a pretty shimmer to it.
emalove emalove 7 years
I always apply my lipstick, no matter what the shade, with a lip brush. It gives a nice, precise finish.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 7 years
I don't think there is such a thing as having a skin color that can't wear any red. You just have to find the right one. I have pale skin and dark hair and I think that combo can easily look great with red lips.
misskimberly misskimberly 7 years
Are there any skin colors that just should NEVER wear red lipstick? I have tried it on and just look weird because i have pale skin and dark hair. But I love the look on everyone else...
Ms_Magnificent1 Ms_Magnificent1 7 years
I absolutely LOVE red lipstick...its so classic :-)!
fleurdelispink fleurdelispink 7 years
Nice, Bella!
fleurdelispink fleurdelispink 7 years
Nice, Bella!
Scarlet129 Scarlet129 7 years
Thanks so much! Does anybody know what brand of lipstick Lily was wearing on last night's Gossip Girl at the Snowflake Ball?
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