DO choose a shade that compliments your complexion
Take a look at your foundation; if it’s more of a pink-beige tone, you are after a red that has a hint of pink. If you have a warmer/olive complexion, look for a red with a hint of orange. An orangey red would be the red YouTube font while Pinterest has more of a pinkish red.
Dior Rouge Couture – Dior lipsticks are one of the most valuable luxuries you can purchase. They have the perfect staying power and glide on your lips.
NYX Professional – For more affordable option, I love the red from NYX called Amsterdam. The pigment is long-lasting and not too sticky/glossy but it still glides on beautifully.
DON’T declare that reds don’t suit you
And while we are at it, do not expect a makeup artist to tell you red is not your colour. We don’t like to put that much limitation on someone. If you’re convinced red doesn’t suit you, you’ve likely had a bad experience. Don’t let one red rui your entire relationship with the rest – imagine banning chocolate because the first one you tried was a Dime bar. (Yes, I don’t like them).
DO prep your lips
There is an old wives tale: lipstick is easier to apply than eye makeup. This may be true when it comes to a nude shade, but not when it comes to a red!
Firstly, exfoliate your lips – either with a toothbrush, lip scrub, or a quick sugar and honey homemade one and follow up with copious amounts of lip balm. Here’s the secret tip: allow your lip balm to sink in. If you apply lipstick immediately after, the product will not stick. You will be left with a wide gap in the middle of your mouth, where colour will not go.
DON’T put red on dry, flaky lips
Once again – just don’t! It will last all of five minutes, before it starts to feel dry and you will then want to remove it with a tissue, or lick off – don’t pretend that you have never had this thought.
DO use a red lipliner
Lipliner can stop bleeding as well as define your lips. The only time I would suggest that you don’t use a lipliner with a red, is if you are going for a stain. Think – I’ve just had an amazing kiss and my lips are a little smudged. You can achieve this look by either mixing your lipstick in with some lip balm, or by dabbing the lipstick on and blotting with a tissue after.
DON’T use a lipliner the same colour as your lips
I know, some magazines and publications actually suggest this. I have yet to see this go right. The easiest way is to just choose a red liner. You might need two; a brighter one and a more darker. You don’t need a specific lipliner for every red lipstick colour. For staying power, colour your entire lips with lipliner before adding your lipstick.
DO apply your lipliner with short strokes
Whilst we are on the subject of liner, do not make your life more challenging. Make sure your elbow is resting on something when you apply – your hand can even rest to help with balance. When you put on, picture doing dot-to-dot – create short strokes to avoid making mistakes. Be sure to go around your entire mouth including the sides (you can use to fingers to move your mouth to the side to get inside corners).
It helps to start on the outer edge and work towards the middle.
DON’T go crazy with the pencil
Don’t completely re-draw your lip line and don’t try to trace around your lips all in one go. This is where mistakes can happen.
DO a Marilyn Monroe
Allan Snyder – more affectionately known as Whitey, was the man behind Monroe’s famous look. He is said to have used numerous shades of red – layering around 5 different shades of red to create a fuller pout. While I am not suggesting you buy five lipsticks, red is the ideal mixing colour. Try applying red and then blending: orange, coral, plum, pink, or other reds on top.
Try to find similar colours so that it blends in nicely.
DON’T apply just one layer
If you love the shade that you have bought and you have no intentions of mixing, simply apply the layer twice. After the first layer, do the famous tissue trick – take one sheet and move it over your lips and then apply again. This technique is really about staying power.
DO use foundation or concealer around your mouth
Not only will this make your lipstick look smoother, it will help stop bleeding. Do you really want red hanging around the edges of your mouth?
DON’T go too light
One shade lighter – two at a push, is enough highlight needed. If you go too white around your mouth, it will potentially look like you have just drank a glass of milk. Also, a tiny amount does the trick. You don’t want too much base product around your mouth area.
DO enhance your lips correctly
For a fuller pout, make the centre of your lips the lightest. A hint of white eyeshadow or gloss can accentuate them even further. If you prefer to make your lips look smaller, do the opposite and avoid any gloss in the centre. Putting a dark concealer under your bottom lip can make them appear bigger. Again, do the opposite to decrease their size.
DON’T try to draw new ones
Do I sometimes cheekily go over my natural lip line just a tad – maybe. Unless you are doing some edgy editorial, don’t recreate your natural line. Be proud of the lips you were given, however thin or big.
DO keep tissue on you
Blotting your lips with tissue can help stop your red lipstick from staining your teeth. Nudes can be forgiven – reds are glaringly obvious.
DON’T use your finger
Ok, if you must use your finger, keep sanitiser on you. If you have gone round touching door handles, tube bars and other public objects, do you really want those germs going into your mouth? Stick to using tissue and not your finger to remove excess lipstick.
DO experiment with texture
Matte lips – yes we love them. What about Jennifer Lopez’s glossy red lips in “Jenny from the block”? Or a Parisian sheen – perhaps a more satin product that will feel less drying? As I was told by a famous department store – “If the customers do not try, how will they know?”
DON’T complain when you choose the wrong one
Matte is the most drying and the most high-maintenance. If you after something more moisturising, look for a satin/creamy range. Likewise, if you are afraid of wearing a bold red, go for a balm or sheen. Do not expect to get the same results from a matte lipstick and a creamy one.
DO keep tabs on it
Whenever you go to the toilet or decide to eat and drink – check your lipstick. Ever so quickly, you can blend the top layer and add another, or dab on some more lip balm/gloss if they feel dry. If you are about to eat, you might want to dab the colour and avoid anything moisturising until after.
DON’T wait hours
Makeup moves. No matter how much primer and product, it never looks AS good as it did at the very beginning. Don’t let your lipstick move around before you decide to deal with it. If you wait hours, you will probably have to take it all off and start again. Then you might need to smooth foundation/concealer over the top, to diffuse the colour. Talk about stress!
- If you have a strong pigment to your lips, add a hint of coverage to take away the colour before applying your lip products.
- Be specific when you head to the cosmetic counters. If there is a sales consultant, tell them if you have never worn red before. Mention your bad experiences. The more information, the more they can pinpoint what you are after. And if you want a plum, please don’t say red. (This has happened so many times!)
- Read the labels. Most companies keep their lipstick categories separated, so you can identify the texture before applying.
- Red can suck the colour out of your skin. Even if you are after a natural look, apply a good rosy blush or a really glowy bronzer. You need to add the colour back in.
- Enhance your eyes. Natural or not, the most simplest way is to use a light colour on your eye base, and a slightly darker colour on your crease. I recommend sticking to matte, with only shimmer straight under the eyebrows or between your inner eye.
- YES – you can wear a bold eye and a bold lip. The trick is to match them. If you have a striking dark lip, go for a strong eyeshadow.