Many women say that wearing red lipstick gives them an extra boost of confidence, but others feel like they more wallflower than vamp to pull it off. No matter what your attitude experts insist that there is a red for everyone. The trick is choosing a hue that works for you and applying it correctly. Read on for tips on how to rock this look.
1. Choose the right shade. There are literally hundreds of red shades to choose from. The shade that works best depends on a variety of factors including your skin tone and hair color as well as personal preference. Poppy King, creator of Lipstick Queen lipsticks, tells Allure magazine that there really is no science to choosing a color. The trick is to try lots of shades and choose the one that works best. She says, "If a shade works well, your whole face will come alive." Makeup artist Troy Surratt says that while orange-based reds look good on almost everyone, they bring out any yellow in the teeth. Blue-based reds, however, minimize the yellow and are "universally flattering".
2. Prep your lips. Nothing ruins the look of lipstick (of any shade) more than dry, flaky lips. It's especially important to exfoliate and moisturize lips when wearing red, simply because it draws lots of attention to your lips. Experts recommend gently rubbing lips with a toothbrush or wash cloth and then applying an emollient lip balm. (See our Lip Balm report for top picks.) Let it sink in before applying lipstick.
3. Line your lips -- or not. Some experts suggest lining your lips to prevent bleeding and feathering but unless you have a lot of fine lines around your lips, this step is not necessary. Shading in your entire lip with lip liner, however, can help the color to last longer and prevent a blotchy look when it fades.
4. Apply lipstick with care. Makeup artists have differing opinions about the best way to apply red lipstick. Some say a lip brush ensures the most precise application, others say that it applies too sheer of a layer. The best way to apply any lipstick is the one you're most comfortable with. Use your fingers, a brush or just apply it straight from the tube.
5. Reapply as needed. Editors at TruthinAging.com say, "Wearing red is high maintenance so you will have to do touchups throughout the day/night." Most makeup artists agree. Surratt says you can generally touch-up lipstick with just the glide of the stick. But if it has been several hours or the lipstick is starting to feather or feel dry, it's best to remove it completely and start from scratch.
6. Keep it simple everywhere else. Experts agree that bold red lips are best worn with simple makeup. Overdoing the rest of your face tends to look clownish with red lips. A simple coat of mascara, a light dab of eyeliner and some rosy blush are really all that is needed.
For top-performing lipstick recommendations, check out our report on lipstick.