Our Secret to Perfecting
the Red Lip

Woman wearing a bold red lip By Jeanette Crutchfield

No makeup look is more iconic than red lips. For starters, it is one of the most universally flattering shades of lipstick that you can wear. It can make a statement. It can empower you and make you feel fierce. But you can also wear it just for fun. Red lipstick is worn at the most exclusive and important events, but it can also be worn on a day when you’re not even going to be leaving the house. That’s because you wear a red lip for only one person… YOU! When you need to feel strong, you wear a red lip. When you need to feel motivated, you wear a red lip. When you want to feel beautiful, you wear a red lip. Why then is obtaining the perfect red lip so hard and even sometimes scary? Read below on how to take the scariness of a red lip and turn it into your superpower.

What shade of red lipstick is best for me?

O FACE Lipstick textured swatches

There’s so many articles out there on how to choose the best red lipstick look that is best fits you. There’s blue-based reds, orange reds, tomato reds, brick reds. So many to choose from that it’s difficult and downright scary to pick just one. People will tell you it depends on your skin tone, or the shade of the veins in your wrist, or that you can’t wear red lipstick at all because you are a redhead. Who are you wearing the red lip for again? That’s right, YOU! So, the only true answer on which red lipstick to choose? The one that makes YOU feel powerful and bad a$$. It doesn’t matter if someone else told you it’s not your color. Do you feel amazing in it? If yes, then it’s your right color. And your red shade range can change daily depending on how you’re feeling. Going for a vampy and sexy look today? Go for a highly pigmented deep blood red. Feeling fresh and carefree? Try a more coral/orangey red. Dealing with your inner angst a la 90s grunge? Choose a brick red. Watched a Marilyn Monroe movie and feeling the old Hollywood glamour? Go for a bright cherry red.

This does make it more difficult to find the shades that make you feel amazing. The best way to do this is to go to a store that has lipstick testers and start playing. Swipe a red lipstick along the outer length of your pinkie finger and then hold it up where your lips are. Look in the mirror and see what you gut instinct is. Do you feel amazing? Is there all of a sudden a twinkle in your eye that you didn’t notice before? If yes, then congratulations! You found your first red! If not, don’t worry, there are literally thousands of red lipsticks out there. Simply wash your hand and try another one. Go with a friend and make it a fun bonding experience. And then when you’re done, wear your red lipsticks out and see how much more powerful you feel in your own life.

Some things you will want to look for in your red lipstick… you want to minimize touch-ups so it helps to choose a long lasting lipstick. It also should be a moisturizing lipstick so that it can help keep your lips be more hydrated and nourished. Some great ingredients to look for are squalane which can help lock in moisture, as well as jojoba oil and marula oil both of which can help to moisturize and soften your lips.

Now that you have an assortment of your favorite red lipsticks and even liquid lipsticks, here are some tips and tricks to help you get the best application:

Prepping Your Lips…

Bite-size Lip Balm

Prepping your lips is of the utmost importance! You can have the perfect shade of red that makes you feel like you’re on the top of the world, but if your lips are dry and flaky, it can destroy your entire look. Use a lip scrub designed for lips and gently buff it into your lips in a circular motion. Gently wipe the scrub off with a damp tissue and apply a moisturizing lip balm or hydrating lip mask. When you’re ready to apply your red lipstick, softly blot your lips with a tissue to remove the excess lip balm.

To Line or Not To Line Your Lips?

Love Triangle Lip Filler Liner shown with swatches of a few different shades

Lip liner is not required for red lipstick, however, depending on the look you want to achieve, it can definitely help you get there. If you are going for a more natural and soft red lip, then lip liner is not needed. However, if a super-defined and bold look is what you’re after or you want your lipstick to stay put, a   long lasting lip liner will be your best friend. Use a red lip liner to help max out the glamour of a red lip or use a skin tone lip liner for a more natural look. Use short feathery strokes to help you get the perfect shape. Partially fill in your lips with the lip liner for a bigger color impact and to help your red lip stay gorgeous longer. Gently blot the lip liner with a tissue to help press it into your lips and prep it for the lipstick.

It’s Lipstick Time…

O FACE Lipsticks in a few different shades

Tools are not required for a red lip, however you can use a lip brush to get a more precise application of lipstick on the lips. This is great for old Hollywood glamour looks where you want a super defined edge on your lips. You can also slick your lipstick on straight from the tube. There are no rules. You can even try using your finger to apply your red lip for a more lived in/lip stain look. Softly rub your finger on the bullet and then buff the color into the lips. You won’t have strongly defined edges, but that’s sort of the idea.

How to Get Your Lipstick to Last…

Open e.l.f. HD Powder Container

The best way to make your lipstick have some staying power is to use thin layers when you apply your lipstick and then build it up to the intensity you want. After your first layer, very gently blot with a tissue (press your lips together with a tissue between them). Do NOT rub your lips together. Especially if you are going for a super defined edge. Then you can apply another light layer of lip color. Continue this until you have the look you want. You can also dust your lips with a bit of translucent powder to set your lipstick and have it stay put. This will make your give you more of a matte lip look. If you want to keep the more satin finish, you’ll need to apply one last layer on top of the powder. There’s also excellent lip primers out there that you can use before your lipstick to really help it grip.

Now that you’re armed with everything you need to know about a red lip, go out there and shine your brightest and show the world your power! One red lip look at a time.