How to rock the classic red lip, plus 4 steps to apply your lipstick correctly flawlessly

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Nia Long attends Peacocks The Best Man: The Final Chapters Premiere Event in a red lip makeup look.
Nia Long attends Peacocks The Best Man: The Final Chapters Premiere Event in a red lip makeup look.
Photo: Unique Nicole/WireImage

The red lip is bold, timeless and empowering. Here’s a crash course in creating the perfect red pout. 

Choose the right shade  

The right shade of lipstick can brighten up your face, while the wrong red could very easily overpower a look. With so many variations in skin tone and undertones in women of colour, the right shade of red can depend on many factors, even the colour of your clothing.

The good news is that everyone has a shade of red that will suit their skin tone. Don't be afraid to experiment to find the shade of red that you love.

Know that a lipstick’s texture (cream, matte, or gloss) could have an effect on the way the shade looks on your lips, so keep your lips hydrated and exfoliated. If you aren't ready to commit to lipstick, you can ease into red with a sheer lip gloss or try a lip stain to gradually add colour. 

Beyond considering just undertones, women of colour can’t underestimate the importance of pigment quality of their lipstick. 

Different reds for different skin tones 

People with light skin tones can wear red for a bold pop of colour against their fair skin. Fair skin tends to look better in cool reds and berry reds with a blue undertone. 

Medium skin tones have a bit more versatility when it comes to picking a red lipstick. Caramel skin looks best in yellow or orange-based reds. 

Warmer medium tones look great in brown-reds. 

Dark skin can handle more intense color, like deep reds and reds with blue undertones. Fabulous wines, berries, and brick reds look great. 

READ MORE | Applying makeup on a dry face, plus 5 other makeup mistakes to avoid 

Apply your lipstick correctly

1. First prep your lips by exfoliating them before applying any colour. Dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your lips so you can remove them with a gentle lip scrub, then follow up with a moisturising lip balm to help keep your pout hydrated. This can help ensure that you have a smooth, even canvas on which to work when applying your lipstick. 

2. Lip liner makes your lip colour last longer, but it can also help stop smudging and bleeding. Start by lining the outside of your lips with the lip liner to help fill in any fine lines. Then, fill in the rest of your lips with a lip liner in a shade that matches your lipstick before actually applying your lipstick to prevent any lipstick bleeding. 

3. Prime your lips with a lip primer or concealer; apply a tiny bit to your lips using a makeup blender. Then, take a lip brush and apply your lip colour of choice on top.

4. Apply one coat of lipstick using a brush (this allows for more precision than applying directly from the tube), then gently blot your lips with a tissue. Repeat the process again. After applying a second, final coat of lipstick, blot again with your tissue. Then, using a powder brush, apply a translucent powder onto your lips through the tissue to help set your lips. 

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