If you can only do one thing to put on a party-ready face, my advice is to go with a bold, red lip.
The right shade of red will instantly make you look sexy, sophisticated and lit from within. It completes a little black (or any other color) dress and imbues you with grownup glamour.The trick is not only in finding the right shade but in applying it the right way. Here are some of my top tips that anyone can pull off to achieve the perfect red lip.
1. Find the Right Shade
I’m not going to spend too much time on this one because everyone is different and what is glamorous and sophisticated on one woman can make another woman look like a kid who’s gotten into her mom’s makeup bag. What I can tell you is:
a) ‘Red’ runs the range from rose to orange plus everything in-between. You may have to try a lot of hues to find the red that looks good with your skin tone. As a rule, gals with warm skin look better in poppy or coral reds while cool skin toned gals suit blue reds. Cult favorite Ruby Woo by MAC is said to look good on most skin tones.
b) In general, tread carefully with matte lipsticks which can be aging on over-40 gals. A little shiny gloss is youthful.
c) Think twice about dark shades of red as they’re tricky when it comes to thinning, aging lips. Dark shades make looks appear smaller (as if we need that!), and can look harsh, dragging down our faces.
Shop red lipsticks here:
2. Prepare Your Lips
Red demands a lot of attention so to make sure your lips look good when they’re in the spotlight, not to mention to help your lipstick last longer, do a little advance prep work.
First, exfoliate your lips. You can use a soft toothbrush, a lip exfoliator, or even a damp washcloth to scrub your lips.
Shop lip exfoliants here:
Next, hydrate. I don’t use Chapstick or Vaseline for this. I find Chapstick too waxy and Vaseline too gooey. I do love Chanel’s Hydro Beauty Nourishing Lip Care. Yes, it is on the pricier side, but a little goes a long way, it deeply moisturizes my lips and keeps them that way, and it makes my lips look great. I sometimes even wear it on its own. Apply and give it a minute or two to ‘settle.’ Use it sparingly; you don’t want it to be gooey.
Shop lip hydrators here:
3. Prime Your Lips
Red tones stay more true and vivid if they are applied to a nude base so dab a few dots of foundation on your lips before applying color.
4. Use Your Finger to Apply Color
Rub your lip color on your index finger then pat it on to your lips. Add more as needed. While this may sound kooky, it results in a more natural, even look.
5. Use a Lip Brush to Even Things Out
Next, I take my lip brush and ‘pull’ the lipstick into any areas that are harder to get at or that I may have missed. For me, that often means the outside corners.
Shop lip brushes here:
6. Gently Blot on the Back of Your Hand
Yup, another kooky tip but it gives you more natural look than blotting with a tissue.
7. Line Your Lips
I never used to line my lips, but as I’ve gotten older, I find it has definite benefits. Not only does it help to keep lipstick from feathering and bleeding into the fine lines around my mouth, but it also helps me bring some extra definition to my lips. We’re often taught to start by lining our lips, but I prefer to do it after I’ve applied my lip color. It’s easier, and I feel I get a more natural look. As for color, you can match your liner to your lipstick, but I prefer to go with a nude or neutral liner.
Shop lip liners here:
8. Add a Touch of Gloss
Don’t worry, I’m not a fan of gooey lip gloss, so I’m not telling you to pile it on but what I do know is that a touch of gloss will make your lips appear plumper as well as bring more attention to them. I like Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss and Laura Mercier.
Shop lip gloss here:
9. Add a Touch of Highlighter to Make Your Lips Appear Fuller
Remember how I said our lips tend to thin as we get older? Well, this hack will help them appear a little plumper. Take a highlighter cream, gently tap it around the outer edges of both the top and bottom of your lips, as well as on the cupid bow in the top center, then blend it inwards. My go-to product for this is Touch Eclat by Yves Saint Laurent. This is an AMAZING product that can also be used to highlight your cheekbones, slim your nose, brighten your eyes and so much more.
Shop highlighter here:
Will you be wearing red lips this Christmas? I dare you!