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4 Tips On Choosing & Applying The Perfect Red Lip

When I think of red lipstick I think of power. It’s every girls (or guys) perfect accessory if they are on a mission to stand out and feel like a bad ass. There is something about a red lip that really commands attention and causes for a double take, yet for some reason wearing a red lip is thought to only be appropriate for special events. But what if I told you that you don't have to wait for the holidays or a wedding to rock a red. You can wear it on a night out, to the office... Dang it I'll wear a red lip grocery shopping if I feel like it. It's all about how you wear it. 

As a makeup artist that specializes in bridal makeup, I can honestly say that I don’t get to take advantage of this beautiful colour as much as I would like. There’s something about a red lip that intimidates people. Whether they're unsure which shade to choose, they're not quite sure how to apply it or it's just too hard to maintain. Whatever the reason, I’ve enlisted some guidelines to help you choose the perfect red.

Choosing The Right Shade Of Red

Have you ever seen someone wearing red lipstick and it didn’t look quite right on them. That’s most likely because they chose a colour that didn't work with their skin tone. Now remember these are just guide line. There are no rules when it comes to makeup. You can wear whatever lip colour your pretty heart desires, but you will look best in certain hues.

When it comes to choosing a shade of red lipstick that will knock your socks off, you have to think of whether or not it will compliment your skin tone. If you have a cool skin tone go for a cool red. If you aren’t sure what skin tone you have, take a look at the veins on your wrist. You will know if you have a cool skin tone if you have blue or purple veins. You will also have red, pink or blue undertones in your skin. So next time you are out shopping look for reds that have a blue or purple undertone. MAC's Ruby Woo is a classic red that never fails with a cool skin tone. Whether it's fair, light, medium or deep skin, this a great colour to try. Another show stopper is Stila's Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Bacca which is a raspberry red.

Emma Stone Fair skin with cool red lip

If you have a warm skin tone you will either have yellow, peachy, golden or olive undertones in your skin. Again if you are not sure, you can always check the veins on your wrist. If they are green then you have a warm tone and yep, you guessed it, you will look great in a warm red! A warm red lipstick will have hues of orange in them. Poppy reds like YSL's Orange Electro add a pop of colour and really brighten up the face. Poppy reds are especially great to wear in the summer months. If you're looking for a darker warm red, try wearing a brick red lipstick, (which is a burnt red), like NYX's Matte Lipstick in Crave

Alexa Cheung with warm red lip colour.

Last but not least is a neutral skin tone. With neutral skin there is a perfect balance of warm and cool tones. If you have green and blue veins then you fit in this category. You are also super lucky because you can pretty much get away with wearing any shade of red that you please! 

Types of Lipstick

Okay so now that you know a bit more about what shades will look great on you, picking up the perfect red should be simple. Well, there’s a bit more to it. There are so many different types of lipsticks out there. Matte, satin, liquid lipsticks and creams to name a few.

Matte: Matte lipsticks have no shine to them and they tend to last longer because there they are more stiff when applying. The formula doesn’t have much movement. Matte lipstick is not recommended if you have dry lips because any flaking or dryness will definitely show.

Satin: If you’re looking for a lipstick that is more hydrating, then a satin lipstick would be great for you due to the combination of matte and oily ingredients. If you’re looking for a super pigmented and intense look then satin might not be the right choice for you because many formulas can be more on the sheer side and it’s not as long lasting.

Liquid Lipstick: Liquid lipsticks are EVERYTHING right now (also my fave!) It’s like a lipstick but in gloss form. They are super long lasting and most formulas are made to be non transferable. Which means that they won’t rub off when sipping on your latte or your fave glass of vino!

Cream Lipstick: Another fave of mine is a good cream lipstick. It’s super hydrating and goes on like butter which gives a glossy look, making them perfect for someone who  struggles with dry lips. I like to use cream lipsticks on my mature clients because the hydrating formula can give the appearance of a fuller lip when paired with a lip liner. 

Applying The Perfect Red Lip

Makeup has come a long way over the last few years and there are so many lipsticks that you can apply effortlessly, but there are still a few steps and techniques that you can do to assure that your lips will stand the test of time.

The first step is one that most people forget to do... EXFOLIATE!! If you don’t exfoliate, you won’t be able to get rid of the flaky texture that we all get in the cold and dry months. (Bite Beauty’s Aguave Lip Scrub is my go to).  Exfoliating the lips removes the dead skin and preps your lips for this next step.

Say it with me.... MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE! This is sooo important when it comes to wearing lipstick. You never really notice how dry your lips are until you put on a lipstick, so smooth those babies out! Try Josie Maran's Argan Lip Sting Plumping Butter because it acts as a double agent. It hydrates and plumps the lips. 

The next step before applying your lipstick is applying a lip liner. If your using a liquid lipstick you can skip this step because you can be pretty accurate with their wands and they won’t bleed. If you are planning on applying a cream, or satin lipstick I would definitely recommend using a lip liner.

First you want to outline your lips to your desired shape, whether it’s following your natural lip line or making them appear fuller. Then you’re going to lightly shade in the rest of your lips. This will give you a base for your lipstick and ensure that your lipstick isn’t going anywhere and if it does, at least you have the liner as a back up. Then you are going to apply your lipstick of choice over top. I know some people prefer to do the lip liner after the lipstick but I’ve always found it easier this way. I prefer to use a brush when applying because it gives me more precision then when used right from the tube. Start with the inside of your lips and carefully blend towards the lip line without disrupting the lip liner. The lip liner will ensure that your lipstick doesn’t bleed (cause blurry lines). It almost works as a barrier. And there you have it, perfectly lined and pouty lips!

What Makeup Should I Wear With a Red Lip?

A red lip is pretty eye catching so a rule of thumb is that if you are going to play up the lips, keep the eyes pretty simple. That being said, if you’re in the mood to glam it up, go for it girl!

My favourite combo is a winged liner, lashes and true red lip. 

If you want to wear a red lip to the office but still want to keep your look somewhat casual, skip the eyeshadow and liner, pack on the mascara and lets your lips do the talking.

Last but not least, if you’re going out for the night and you want to look like the bombshell that you are, earthy browns, golds and coppers looks great with a red lip. Pair this up with some killer lashes and you're ready to light up the town!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you picked up a few tips that will be useful the next time you go for a bold lip. Feel free to share!!

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