The perfect red lip: Tips from a makeup artist

Apr 11, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Before I began my career in the beauty industry, I was absolutely terrified of red lipstick. I felt it looked too harsh on me no matter what I did. Once I realized it was all in my head and I needed to just try it, I grabbed an orange undertone red lipstick and put on my confidence hat. I got compliments everywhere I went.

When something is new to you it can be intimidating, but a red lip is attractive, confident and fun. So, would you believe me if I said there’s nothing to pulling off the look? The only thing you need is confidence. That’s it! I promise that any of you can rock lots of different shades of red — some with blue undertones or orange undertones, or play it safe with a brown undertone. Just try it!

Professional techniques to wearing red lipstick

red lip

Use concealer

I first like to start off with applying a small amount of concealer to my lips to nude out my natural lip color and to help me form perfect straight lines. This also gives you the opportunity to change your lip shape once you start applying lip liner.

Shape your lips

Using a red lip pencil, outline your lips in the shape you desire. For a longer lasting hold, fill in your entire lip with the lip pencil. Lip pencil pigment holds better than most lipsticks and also acts as a base for holding your lipstick on longer.

Apply the color

Once you’ve filled your entire lip with the lip pencil, apply your red lipstick straight from the bullet. This will apply more pigment than if you were to apply the lipstick with a brush. One good layer is all you need. If you apply too much, you run the chance of it smearing or bleeding.

Seal it on

Once you have all the color you need, use a matte powder such as MAC’s Prep and Prime or Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil with a soft eyeshadow blending brush, and press the powder onto your lips. This creates a greate matte effect and also helps in prolonging the wear of your red lip. If you prefer shine, skip this step.

Correct your lines

Finally, using a soft yet stiff concealer brush, apply a corrector around the corners of the top and bottom of your lips to create strong perfect lines.

Watch the video tutorial:

A guide to finding the right color for you

Blue or green eyes

Orange undertone reds look amazing on you. Oranges really make your eye color stand out in an effortless and chic way. Violet-toned reds are also a classic and wild (in the best way) choice for you.

Hazel or brown eyes

Blue undertone reds are a beautiful striking contrast from your warm eyes. It's instantly jaw dropping!

Fair or pink toned skin

Stick to lipsticks with a sheer to satin texture in your day-to-day wear, and choose reds that have more of a warm rosy hue. When you go bold, choose something matte and classic, such as MAC’s Ruby Woo lipstick.

Medium or warm golden skin

You can get away with lots of tones, but an orange-driven red with dewy skin and a summer glow will look absolutely stunning on you.

Deep to dark skin tones

A deep violet berry red is your match made in lipstick heaven. Go with bold berry shades, or choose soft reds with a hint of plum for everyday.

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