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How to Wear Red Lipstick

by Jill Manoff

Red lipstick is nothing new; in fact, it’s been a signature of iconic women for decades. But, this season, the trend is big as ever (thank recent runways, and Taylor Swift!)—so we’ve compiled a guide to wearing it right. From picking the right shade to applying it to perfection, we’ve got it all. All you have to do? Embrace the term “loud mouth” and get ready to go bold.


Follow The Rules
1. Do the prep work. You’ll want to start with smooth, clean lips that aren’t too dry. The secret? Exfoliate them with a washcloth, then apply a light lip balm.

2. Line up. Lip liner will keep the color in place—no bleeding, no feathering. If you don’t have a shade that matches your lipstick exactly, go for a clear or “reverse” liner. Use it to line your lips and to fill them in before adding your color.

3. Lack luster. Stick to matte or cream lipsticks, versus overly-showy versions big on sparkle or gloss. (Tip: Apply them with a brush for added precision!)

4. Stay in the lines. Dab a bit of concealer around your lips to keep the color from smearing and to make it pop.

5. Keep it clean. To remove excess color (so it won’t end up on your teeth!), simply put your finger in your mouth, purse your lips around it and pull it out.

6. Maintain focus. Red lips look best with strong brows, and not much else. Keep all other makeup light and minimal.


Pick Your Shade
If your skin is…

Fair: Pick a shade with blue undertones. True red, which works on everyone, will look great on you.

Medium: You can wear the widest range of reds. Our picks? Pinky, berry and cranberry shades.

Olive: Orangey and tomato reds are perfect.

Dark: Go for brown-based reds, like burgundy and brick.