How to Wear Red Lipstick (A Five-Step Tutorial)

7 years ago

In my last post, I discussed tips and strategies for finding the perfect red lipstick (for anyone! really!). Now it's time to talk about how to wear your red lipstick. In other words, we're going to deal with how to actually apply it without looking like a prostitution whore. I know you have questions: What do you do with the rest of your face? Is eyeshadow verboten? What of the blush? Don't worry -- we'll answer them all.

I found -- for me -- that a little color-related trial and error (in the safety of my own home, obviously) is key to finding an overall look that works with the red lipstick. The general ideas, however, are fairly universal, and with that in mind, I bring you my five-step process, complete with some color recommendations:

1.Lay out your arsenal.

I find it much less daunting that way, as opposed to rooting around in your makeup bag. Again, these shades are ones that I've found work best for me. I've purposely included a mix of high and low end ones here, but If there's any  pricier shade for which you'd be interested in a drugstore equivalent, just let me know! Finding effective drugstore shades/versions of fancier items is one of my (secret, sad) hobbies. (Cover Girl, for instance, makes an almost-identical eyeshadow shade to the YSL one. In case you were wondering.)

In kind of clockwise order, here is what was used: Amazing Cosmetics Concealer ($28 for small size); Victoria's Secret Very Sexy lip liner in Pouty Pink (purchased for $3; regular price for their lip liner is $8. This shade appears to be discontinued, but Soft Rose looks very similar); Korres Wild Rose Lip Butter ($10); Yves Saint Laurent Ombre Solo Lasting Radiance in #8, or "Fawn" ($30); L'Oreal liquid eyeliner that I loathe, alas, I have misplaced my good liquid eyeliner, so I used this one fo Picture Example Puposes, but DO NOT BUY IT, hence: no link; N.Y.C. lipstick in Sheer Red ($1) (I mentioned this in the last post; I finally got around to trying it, and I love it); L'Oreal Le Kohl eye pencil in Black Sable ($2) (my favorite drugstore eyeliner ever. See, L'Oreal? I don't hate you!); Guerlain Le 2 mascara ($36); and Weil for Origins Conditioning lip balm ($15!! I know. It's pricey, but it's the best lip balm I've ever tried).)


2. Moisturize/prep your face.

The focus is going to be on your lips, so to balance that, the rest of the face will be quite muted. As such, smooth, glowing skin is key. I start off with a moisturizing lip balm (chapped lips + red lipstick = BLEAGHHH), and then apply either a tinted moisturizer, or moisturizer followed by light foundation. (The idea is glowy, not...spackle-y.) I follow that with concealer where needed. (And by "where needed",  I mean "all up in my undereye area, OH MY HELL I NEED SLEEEEEEP.")

For a point of reference, here I am, pre-"real" makeup, and all moisturized and concealed. (...But with wet hair. The drowned rat look is going to be huge this season. Huge, I tell you!)

3. Eyes!

This is probably the most important part, and liquid eyeliner is crucial to getting that retro, defined line. I use a technique I like to call "The Clockwork Orange" wherein I use my hand to kind of...widely open my eye, to ensure smooth, sleek application. Like so:

I then line the bottom with eye pencil, and apply two coats of mascara, followed by the neutral-toned eyeshadow.

Here's how my eyes look when finished:

4. Cheeks!

I follow that with a coat of...lip butter on my cheeks. (The Korres one listed above.) The red lip look is a bit tricky, and this happens to gives a nice, sheer glow without being too blush-y/obvious. Here I am putting it on, totally naturally. Like I always do when I make my husband photograph me for these things. Tra la la! (Bonus: In this shot, you can see why I adore the Guerlain mascara.

5. Lips!

I gently blot off SOME of the lip balm, and then apply my pinky-neutral lipliner. I know a lot of people go with red lipliner here, but I've tried it, and (on me, anyway) it tends to make the (carefully-selected!) shade of lipstick I apply on top look kind of garish. I stick with the neutral liner, to give the lipstick something to hold onto, without truly impacting its color.

Then it's time for the lipstick:


Metalia also blogs here.


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