Nothing looks sexier on a woman than a perfect, bright red lip. It’s the one cardinal rule every woman lives by: If you want to turn it up for any occasion, red lipstick is your secret weapon. Women will be green with envy, and men won’t be able to resist your touted sultry pout. Time and time again, I’ve seen this look on the runways, in the movies, and on the lips of a daring passerby, and though I think the look is alluring, I can only bring myself to try it just a few times each season. Honestly, wearing red lipstick is a commitment, and 60% of the time I’m just not ready to take that plunge.
It’s like signing a 2-year lease. Every time the thought of attempting to pull off a red lip flashes into my brain, a few other cautious warnings pop in to sway my decision: Do you have time to prep and prime for it? Are you going to be on top of reapplying every time you eat, drink, laugh or get paranoid? How will it fade after a few hours?
As soon as the initial panic process fades, I’ve already decided against it. I tell myself, maybe I’m just not that red-rocking girl. Within a 45-second time period, the cognitive commitment paranoia has won and I find myself sticking to my pale pinks and nudes for the day instead of confronting the bold. After chatting with a few girls in the office and finally accepting my internal struggles with red lipstick, I’ve come to a few conclusions. It doesn’t have to be this difficult. A full face of makeup and an anxiety attack don’t pair well. EVER. So what’s a girl with issues to do?
- Calm down. Really. It’s a lipstick choice, not a life sentence. Do some quick meditation and get your mind in the right direction. You can do this and it’s going to look fabulous. Now, repeat after me: I can do this and it’s going to look earth-shattering amazing.
- Now I hate putting on a primer and foundation. The only reason I will ever actually do it is if I know I’m going to be in photos or wear red lipstick. However, if you don’t prime beforehand, you could end up looking like a multi-colored clown in 4 hours. How can we avoid this? Exhibit A & B: Lip scrub and liner. While you’re in the shower, use a lip scrub to slough away any dry skin on your lips. I happen to love Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub in Red Velvet to further ensure my flight path ahead, plus it smells like delicious cake. Next, use a red lip liner to outline your lips and fill in. This is all you need for your primer, honey. I line my top lip a little outside of the lines to fake the fact that I actually have a top lip. Queen style! Problem solved.
- It’s go-time, girl. Apply the first layer of your favorite red lipstick. (I’m kinda in love with NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave at the moment.) Here’s the big part on this – don’t freak out. The last thing you need is a shaky hand. Keep it steady and after applying, blot your lips with a tissue. Apply again to your desired intensity.
- Last step and you’re home free. Conceal and highlight around your lips. I’ve found that using a highlighter stick is the easiest choice for this. Trace it around your lips to make your lip outline stand out, and then blend. This helps your lipstick from feathering, too.
- OPTIONAL – use the highlighter stick to highlight your Cupid ’s bow and the middle of your lower lip. This is for extra fierceness so proceed with caution. Once you do this, you’ll experience an opposite-gender Axe-commercial moment. Beware of excessive attention!
Now that your slamming pout is finished, you can walk through life without a hitch. Be sure to check your puckers once in a while to see how your lipstick is holding out, and reapply as needed throughout the day. With these easy red lipstick tips, you’ll be fine—and you’ll never have to curl up in a corner and cry because you’ve failed at your lipstick art. Promise!
If the above steps aren’t easy enough, check out our Editor-in-Chief demonstrating the look in the video below.