Red lipstick is a makeup chameleon. It's a classic look with the potential to be modern, romantic, or edgy, depending on how you wear it. But, perfecting it is easier said than done. Sure, there are gorgeous shades of red, and lovely textures, but there's just so much that can go wrong. Between getting it on your teeth, feathering, smudging, and fading in an awkward way, sometimes we're tempted to skip the lip altogether because it becomes such a pain to tend to.
This holiday season, though, we're not ditching our red for anything. So, to make sure our pouts are on-point, we tapped some of our favorite makeup artists for their most reliable tips. We also asked them to surprise us: We all know how to blot, but surely there's something more we've been missing. Turns out, they were full of tricks we'd never heard of, from layering with green to well-placed nudes that make a matte look glossy.
Click through for the most surprising red-lipstick tricks you'll ever read, and let us know what
you've got hiding up your sleeve.
Photo: Via NARS.
"One of the main reasons people stay away from red lips is because they bleed into the skin," says makeup artist Clarissa Luna. "To prevent bleeding, powder the lips prior to applying lipstick. This gives it something to adhere to, allowing the color to stay on all day." Luna says she likes NARS pressed powder, "because it lays smoothly on the lips."
Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder,
Photo: Via Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.
Makeup artist Anthony Tulve says, "If your favorite red is a little too bright for work or a daytime outing, put a gold, or even green, lip product over the lipstick. These tones tame the brightness of the red and give it an unexpected, modern twist."
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Lip Tar in Fragmented,
Photo: Via Dior.
All About The Balm
We've been taught to prep dry lips with a balm before putting on the red, but makeup artist Janessa Paré says otherwise: "Put lip balm over, not under, your lip color, so the pigment has a chance to absorb into the skin." She adds that this is especially helpful for products that give a stained look. Paré recommends using a balm that's more waxy than oily.
Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm SPF 10,
Photo: Via Mehron.
Don't throw out that fake blood you bought for your Halloween costume just yet. Makeup artist James Vincent says: "Fake blood is an ideal color for lips and cheeks, on any face. Sheer a drop of it onto your lips, and blend it on your cheeks for the most beautiful, natural red."
Photo: Via MAC.
Hot And Cold
If you can't decide between a warm red and a cool one, makeup artist Lauren O'Jea says to use both. "Apply the cool red to the lips fully, and then add the warm red to the center," she says. "This rounds out the lips and makes them look extra full."
Lipstick in Lady Danger,
Photo: Via Stila.
Makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci says that if you want your lipstick to last all night, you shouldn't be afraid to pile on products and textures. "Fill in your entire lip with a waterproof lip pencil, like Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On," she says. "Next, apply a matte lipstick directly from the tube, like MAC's Retro Matte. Smush your lips onto a tissue, and apply another layer of lipstick. Top off with long-wearing lip cream, like Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick."
Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiery,
Photo: Via Urban Decay.
If you love the full, plumped effect of a lip gloss — but hate the glossy part — Tulve says it's easy to have the best of both worlds. "Fill in your lip with red, and then take a light shade — think a pastel or even a nude — and tap the color into the center of your bottom lip and along your Cupid's bow," he says. "Tap your lips together to blend, and you'll have the illusion of light hitting your pout, but without the stickiness of gloss."
Revolution Lipstick in Naked,
Photo: Via NARS.
Going for that just-ate-a-cherry look? Makeup artist Tina Turnbow says: "For a more pigmented center, I like to use my fingertip while making a kissy face and apply the lipstick to the center of my lips."
Audacious Lipstick in Audrey,
Photo: Via E.L.F.
Going out, and don't want to schlep your whole makeup bag? Ciucci says you don't have to: "For a night out on the town with a tiny clutch, load up a retractable lip brush with your lipstick of choice. This way, you'll have precision reapplication with minimal bulk."
Studio Retractable Lip Brush,
Photo: Via Jell-O.
"Cherry Jell-O also acts as an amazing lip stain," Vincent says. "Mix a dash of powdered cherry gelatin into your favorite lip balm, and it will make a bright lipstick color." He also suggests mixing it in with your moisturizer for a DIY cream blush.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the
Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!