It’s been well-established that Taylor Swift has been something of a clotheshorse as of late, ditching the girly, tulle frocks of her country beginnings for crop tops, sleek silhouettes, and killer shoes. And, this style evolution goes hand-in-hand with her musical transition from guitar-toting crooner to full-fledged pop star.
Around the time of Speak Now, her third album (and this writer’s favorite, because "Why you gotta be so mean?"), Swift adopted a penchant for red lipstick. In fact, since about 2010, she’s rarely been spotted without it — even when she’s going to or coming from the gym. Many things in her life — musical tastes, BFFs, boyfriends — have changed, but that "red lip classic thing you like" has stayed the same.
Or, has it? To help us examine the progression of Swifty’s scarlet pout, we recruited makeup artists Gloria Noto and Rommy Najor. They'll tell you just how to copy each of her lovely lip looks. Click through, and see just how many different ways one girl can wear a lipstick.
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"Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Red Carpet is perfect to achieve this 2009 MTV Music Awards look," says Noto. "The color goes on creamy and soft. Use it straight from the tube, and then blot a couple of times to remove excess color. For the top lip, keep the color concentrated in the inner lip and have it fade out to almost nothing. This will give a soft stain effect, like Taylor's."
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"Russian Red is the hero in this look," Noto says. "It's a clay-matte, classic red that dries more matte than any lipstick I have ever used."
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"Here, Taylor has that classic, almost bitten lip look...it's almost as if she has been drinking a glass of wine and some of the color remained on her mouth. You can achieve the same look with a pink-berry lipstick — just apply it with your fingers."
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"Taylor has a beautiful glaze of pinky-coral on her lips here," Noto says. "I love NARS lipstick in Niagara — it is the perfect amount of pink and orange to get this warm, natural look. Plus, it has a sheer, satin finish that feels light and fresh."
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"Taylor is showing off a beautiful, orange-red lip for this look," says Noto. "It has a semi-matte finish and a solid opacity to it. You can use Make Up For Ever bright-orange lip pencil over the entire lip for a full-color payoff, and then add a clear lip conditioner over the top to give it a softer feel."
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"For this kind of look, you will want to use a lipstick-and-gloss combo," says Noto. "This is a true red, for which Chanel makes the perfect, deep lip gloss in Pirate. It has a glossy finish, but a lipstick opacity!"
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To get Taylor's supple, slightly moist true red — not her normal matte or her sometimes glossy — you need a liquid lipstick. Just be super careful feathering it into the corners of your mouth, and make sure to finish with concealer. The shine will last all night, and you won't have to worry about touch-ups.
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For a red that stays put, Najor loves MAC Retro Matte in Ruby Woo — a makeup-bag mainstay. (Keep it in place by tracing lips with a pencil in a matching cherry hue.)
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"For this stunning scarlet-red lip, try Clinique High Impact Lip Colour in Red-y to Wear," says Najor. "It has the right amount of shine, without being glossy."
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For a vampy, screen-siren red lip, opt for a formula that has high shine built in. To get this look, apply one swipe of Estée Lauder Pure Color in Red Tango, blot, and then reapply. No gloss necessary.
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"I love this magenta red," says Najor. "It's so perfect with that dress. For a similar effect, blend your colors. I'd use L'Oréal Paris lipstick in Pink Flamingo, and then I'd layer [NYX] Slim Lip Pencil in Burgundy for a bit of a deeper edge."
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Here's a similar pinkish red, but this one veers into fuchsia territory. Pick a formula that has the perfect blend of fuchsia and cool violet tones, like Illamasqua's.
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"This, meanwhile, is a very berry lip," says Najor. "I love the Ulta lipstick shade in Raspberry Noir for the perfect amount of red and purple in one tube. Use a flat, synthetic brush to apply multiple coats for solid color."
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An Instagram snap revealed Taylor's classic, siren red of the evening for this year's Met Gala: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. (It's a makeup-artist favorite.)
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This berry-red stain, which is diffused at the edges for a soft-focus effect, is perfect for a bolder eye look, without catching too much attention. Josie Maran's formula will go on sheer, but shiny. Blot it for an instantly lived-in effect.
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"For this sexy plum look from her music video, try the Smashbox formula in Plum Scene," Noto says. "It has the right amount of blue in it for that vixen tone. To make it super matte, try adding a translucent powder on top."
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"There was something a little bit deeper — darker — about the matte true red here," says Noto. "I'd definitely use Elizabeth Arden's Plump Perfect Lipstick in Flame. Taylor has some amazingly luscious lips, and this formula will help you mimic that fullness."
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