Bold makeup is like statement jewelry. Just as a statement necklace allows you to dress up a casual outfit, a red lip allows you to have a stylish, dramatic look without having to worry about applying a full face of makeup. There’s only one minor problem: getting the perfect red lip requires a little know-how.
Step One: Smooth
Red lipstick, especially heavily pigmented lipstick, will settle in flakes and lines like nobody’s business. The first step to pulling off a red lip is prepping your surface to keep color where you want it. That means exfoliating to get rid of flakes and dryness, using a moisturizing lip exfoliator, home made sugar scrub, or even an old toothbrush. Avoid using exfoliators meant for elsewhere on the body, salt-based scrubs, or products that contain alcohol. These will dry lips out and worsen the problem.
Afterward, give lips a good, moisturizing base coat and allow it to absorb. Try to avoid using products that are very heavy or greasy, as they can cause color to slide and melt off later on.
Step Two: Prep
Some guides recommend neutralizing your lips’ natural color using liquid foundation, which will also help provide a surface to trap and hold lip color. Some companies offer lip primers that can do the same thing, but are less drying and unpleasant tasting. Whichever you use, smooth it on over lips and blot it gently to absorb excess oil and moisture.
Step Three: Color
Next, line lips with a lip pencil that matches the lipstick. Fill in with the liner until lips are completely colored in, then apply lipstick on top. Top with a gloss if you like, and blot the excess gently with a tissue.
Step Four: Maintain
A red lip is a high-maintenance look. Be prepared to occasionally re-apply (particularly after eating or drinking) and carry a makeup remover wipe to correct any smudges that might happen.
Even though a red lip is a dramatic look, it doesn’t have to be difficult. A smooth, moisturized lip surface will help keep lip color from settling into cracks, lip primer and liner will lock color into place, and a little preparedness will allow you to keep up a perfect, magazine-worthy pout all day long.