How To Pull Off a Red Lip

We like to be able say we can “rock a red lip” but the concept is easier said than done. When we go out on a Saturday night, we sometimes make the impromptu, impulse decision to smear on a bright red, but somewhere along the way something goes awry.

When the night began we’d pictured ourselves more as Jessica Chastain, less as Lindsay Lohan. We’d envisioned a subtle old Hollywood look, not the Burlesque headliner look we ended up with. Don’t get us wrong, there’s always a night for that too, but dinner at the new JG Melon isn’t the spot we were planning to channel Dita Von Teese.

The only way to avoid yet another catastrophe involving everything from mistaken identity to Facebook meltdowns (because you’ve never regretted a bad red lip as much as you do after being tagged in one all night on Facebook), was to consult our favorite makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor, who told us three ways to go red…

Red lipstick is fashion’s great equalizer. Everyone, no matter what you look like or how much money you have is able to have their own style moment, just by wearing a red lipstick. Red lipsticks work great as part of a full glam look with smoky eyes, or as the one pop of color to an otherwise “no-makeup” look. Here are three ways to wear it.

Fully Polished:

The most perfected red lip look includes a liner, lipstick, then gloss, applied in that order. Pencils have been underrated lately, but pencils can make the lips fuller and also crisper. Try lining with the exact shape of your mouth for a more natural look, or extend the color just below the center of the lower lip, and just above the ridge of the upper lip. Avoid lining too far outside the lower lip near the outer corners. This common mistake tends to make lips look a little droopy. Apply lipstick to the center of the mouth, then blend out until it reaches the liner, then layer a gloss on top.

Try NARS El Agua Velvet Lip Liner in Nihiwatu, MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo, plus Tarte Lipsurgence Gloss in True Love.

Satin Stain:

Even a bright shade of red can look organic when it has a matte finish. The stained look is typically about sheer color that allows your own lip texture to show through, but it can also be intensified to a full glam look. Use Maybelline’s new ColorBlur to apply color to the center of the lip, and then smudge it all over with the silicone blender on the back of the pencil. Use the same chubby pencil to layer the color in the evening to take your day makeup into night.

Try Maybelline ColorBlur, Partner in Crimson

Fashionably Protected:

Tinted lip balms have been a long glorified option for color and moisture in one. The next step was to create lip balms that work like BB Creams. L’Occitane came out with Peony Lip Balms that have fairly traded shea butter, a smoothing peony extract, buildable transparent color, and a high sunscreen of SPF 25 that’s still silky smooth. A red toned tinted lip balm is like a well cut pair of jeans. It goes with everything, it’s feels good wearing it, and makes you look great even on a casual day. I use the tinted lip balm on clients as a dewy blush so lips and cheeks match and skin has a fresh finish.

Try L’Occitane’s Peony Tinted Lip Balm in Rose Nude.