Remember as a child how women with red lipstick seemed impossibly glamorous and grown up? Numerous studies have found that even amongst adults, women who wear red on their lips are viewed as more competent and attractive than their nude lipped peers.
Red lipstick, for many of us though, is one of those things that looks sensational on other people but is just a bit too terrifying for us to try on ourselves.
Well not any more! Following these simple steps will leave you with movie star lips that will impress all the five (and twenty five) year olds within a fifty mile radius!
1. Choose The Right Red
Finding a red that suits your skin tone will make you feel far less conspicuous on your first few outings. Red doesn’t just mean scarlet, there is a whole world of reds from pillar box to petal, and at least one of them will be perfect for you. In general, yellow based skins suit an orangey tone, whilst those with a pink or darker skin tone can go for a bluer based red, but this isn’t set in stone. Go to a lipstick counter and try lots of reds till you find one that you love. If you are especially nervous, start with a tinted gloss or sheer red berry colour, gradually layering it up over a few wears to ease yourself into red lipstick gently. Mac Ruby Woo is a favourite in our office.
2. Prepare Your Lips
So, you’ve chosen the perfect red? Now to apply it. Worn off reds are very unforgiving; this is, sadly, a relatively high maintenance look. Preparation is the key to making red lipstick look good. First, exfoliate to remove any dry patches, red lipstick will cling to flaky patches on lips – never a good look. Next, if you wear foundation make sure to apply it to your lips too, setting it with powder to provide the perfect base for your lipstick to cling to. Equally, lip primers are great, smoothing the surface and helping lipstick to stick to your lips and not your coffee cup.
3. Use A Lip Liner
As with all lipsticks red lipstick can bleed, and a lip liner is the best way to stop this from happening. This is especially important for smokers or those who are slightly older and worried about lipstick feathering into the lines around your mouth. Choose a liner that matches your lip colour, or, if you can’t find one that’s a perfect match lots of companies now do clear lip liners that stop lipstick bleeding but are invisible.
4. Choose Your Weapon
Depending on your preference, either apply straight from the lipstick or use a lip brush for a long lasting finish. Make up artists generally use a lip brush, but straight from the lipstick is easier for out and about touch ups during a busy day. Try to make sure not to flatten the end of the lipstick as you apply, red lipstick demands precision, and a slanted lipstick shape will help achieve this. Once it’s on, blot it and apply a second coat for extra longevity, blot again if you want to tone down the colour.
5. Check Your Teeth!
Ever seen someone with red lipstick on their teeth? This old trick will help you to avoid that. Put your (clean!) index finger into your mouth, and pull it out slowly through your lips. Any lipstick on the inner edge of your lips that would have ended up on your teeth will instead be on your finger. One tip though- this is probably a little too suggestive to do at your office desk unless you are particularly friendly with your co-workers (or want to be!) Carry a compact or mini makeup mirror if you want to check your teeth throughout the day.
Finally, go and strut your stuff! Just remember to touch up regularly throughout the day to keep your lips looking fabulous rather than faded.
Unless otherwise indicated products reviewed are press or brand examples. Links may be affiliated links which means that if you make a purchase though one of our links we receive a small commission which helps support and run this website.