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Since the first recorded accounts of humans tinting their lips red with crushed gemstones and minerals in ancient Mesopotamia, red lipstick has continued to evolve and gain popularity through the ages. By the time cosmetics were popularized in Europe during Elizabethan times, lip stains were much safer and easier to make. Today, modern makeup lovers continue the quest for the coveted perfect red lip, and we have an immense variety of products to help us achieve it for any occasion.
I hear so many women — both friends and clients — express frustration with wanting to rock a red lip, but feeling overwhelmed by obstacles and options (color, finish, durability). We have it way easier than our primping predecessors did! Hopefully this post will help you to navigate the world of lipstick and find the red that’s right for you.
First, some info about my red lip photos. I’ll also impart a few of my go-to red lipstick application tips, and finally, I’ve included a great casual red lip tutorial video at the end of this post that’ll help you get acquainted with trying red lipsticks, as well as a lovely neutral look for the rest of the face so your lipstick can take center stage.
PHOTO NOTES (from top to bottom)
The photograph at the top of this post is a portrait of me by an amazing Austin artist, Ricardo Acevedo.
My lipstick is OCC Lip Tar in Maneater, a vibrant shimmery orange-red. I am absolutely in love with this color, and will be wearing it frequently this fall.
Second photo down is one of my omg-my-makeup-looks-nice-today selfies, when I’d just gotten the aforementioned OCC Maneater and couldn’t wait to try it on. Both of the top two photos show this warm lip color paired with a dark neutral smoky eye, nothing too dramatic, but certainly not the sort of fresh and minimal eye look you’ll see in the video below.
Third, the side-by-side photos are of my gorgeous friend and bride-to-be makeup client, Emily. She never usually wears red, and is going retro glam for the wedding, so we used Stila liquid lipstick in Beso, which will stay put all day and doesn’t really require any maintenance once it’s applied. We paired the statement lips with a simple, bold cat eye. Doesn’t she look like she should rock a red lip, like, all the time?!
Time and experience, along with really getting acquainted with your own face, will improve your ability to pull off the precise look you’d like to achieve. Along the way, keep these tips in mind for a better overall red lipstick experience, regardless of your mouth shape or color family.
•Use liner! Always! Lip liner helps keep your lipstick from bleeding or feathering. Choose a color that matches your lipstick, or get a versatile neutral red that can be used with either cool or warm lipstick shades, and draw a line around the perimeter of your lips. Afterward, fill in the lips, holding the pencil at about a 30 degree angle, to create a base layer. This will keep everything in place and looking fab much longer.
•Clean up the edges. It’s not easy getting those edges crisp and pretty like the plethora of perfect Pinterest lips you aspire to have. Over time, as with any precision work, it becomes more natural to maintain a steady hand, but you’ll still mess it up from time to time. Concealer is your best friend, and can heal (almost) all wounds. If you go outside the line or need to correct a wobbly edge, first carefully wipe the excess with a Q-tip (which you can dip in makeup remover if the lipstick is longwear or otherwise not budging). Then, using a small, flat eyeshadow or concealer brush, dab on a tiny bit of product that best matches your skin tone, and blend it out into the rest of your skin. Take a wee bit more concealer and brush on a thin line right along the entire edge of your lip. Blend out away from the lip, into your face. This step makes such a noticeable difference, but please skip it if you’re in a rush! It’ll take some time and patience to master.
•Give it time to set. After you’re all done applying lipstick, blot on a tissue or napkin for good measure and then LEAVE IT ALONE. Try to refrain from eating, drinking, or otherwise disturbing your lipstick for a little while. 20-30 minutes is usually plenty of time. Don’t let this discourage you from wearing bold lipstick all together if you’re about to indulge, but is a good idea to keep in mind so you can avoid rubbing off your freshly applied makeup as often as possible.
Ready to try it yourself?! Not yet? No worries.
Here, watch the process in action. This video from Shameless Fripperies is full of all sorts of helpful info on now only applying the makeup, but also comparing and selecting the right color for you. Check it out!
If you try the tips included here and learn something new, please tag us in your pics or comments on Instagram (@thiscreativelife @jenheartsart) and/or Twitter (@thiscre8ivelife @jenheartsart)!