For me, a special occasion isn’t needed to justify the drama that only a classic red lip can bring. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at applying red lipstick, but I understand the look is, for many, a cumbersome undertaking. Recently, I was given some helpful red lipstick tips from someone even the most adept makeup mavens could learn a thing or two from: Jemma Kidd. Maybe you’ve heard of her? She’s a world-renowned makeup artist whose namesake line is proudly carried on DermStore. She knows what she’s talking about. So, if you’ve ever wanted to learn the right way to do red, read on!
Tips for Red Lips
- Moisture is key. Chapped lips look funky on their own, but especially bad when paired with dramatically pigmented lip hues. Kidd recommends a lip balm with natural oils, like beeswax, and an SPF to keep lips in tip-top shape. If you’re really chapped, apply the balm then massage gently with a soft toothbrush or muslin cloth to get rid of flakes.
- Foundation is your friend. Dab foundation around your lip area AND on the lips themselves. This will tone down any unwanted redness and ensure the lines of the lips are sharp and defined.
- Don’t forget the liner. Pick a shade that matches your lipstick and use it to make sure the color, once applied, won’t bleed around the lips. (Red is notorious for this.) Take your time and draw a nice, symmetrical outline—according to Kidd, red is the most unforgiving shade when it comes to uneven top lips, so don’t rush this step. Also, start at the V of your Cupid’s bow and take the liner into the corners from there. Pencil the color all over your lips, then blend it with a lip brush to nix any creases.
- Lip brush = precision. Use one whenever you’re using red lipstick to ensure feathering won’t happen—just start in one corner and work your way inward. Blot with a tissue and follow with a second coat.
- Gloss = glamour. A dab of clear gloss (or a slightly lighter shade of lipstick) dabbed at the center of your lower lip will create the illusion of a fuller, sexier pout.
- Choose the right color. Focus on your skin tone. Are you on the pale side with pink undertones? Go with a blue-red. Olive-skinned or darker? You may look best with an orange red. Darker complected girls can pull off deep, plum-y reds.
- Keep it simple. Red lips are enough colorfulness. Keep the rest of your makeup simple. No heavy eyeliner, for heaven’s sake.
- Tone it down with a gloss. Want to rock a red lip during the day? Try a red gloss. It’s less in-your-face yet still brings the glamour.
- Hands off! Keep your hands off your mouth when you’re wearing red lipstick. Sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised how even the slightest of touches muss up a nicely applied red.
- Attitude is everything. Starting to notice a pattern with my blog posts? Kidd points out that red lips “spell grown-up glamour and should be worn with confidence.” And, well, I agree with her 100%.