Pucker up for the perfect red lips – and sparkly white teeth

Red lip. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
Red lip. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

Red lipstick is iconic, timeless and always in vogue – but if you don’t apply it right, it can be a disaster. Here are the top tips for that perfect pout.

1. Choose the right shade for your skin

If you have a very light skin, fire-engine red is perfect. Avoid matte textures and go for gloss. For an evening out, consider deeper shades such as maroon.

Olive skin

Congratulations – just about any shade of red goes with an olive tone. But red lipstick with an orange undertone and matte texture is perfect.

kim k

Dark skin

Red lipstick with a peach undertone is best if you have darker skin. Choose a red lip gloss to make your pout pop.


2. Match it to your outfit

Red lips make a bold statement – so it’s important that it doesn’t clash with the colour of your outfit. Opt for monochrome black and white if you really want to get your face noticed. Or if you like colourful clothing, choose one item – a skirt, jacket or scarf – in the same red as your lipstick to complement it.

3. Make friends with lipliner

You can’t miss red lips on a person. Unfortunately, that means it’s also that much more noticeable if it bleeds beyond the contours of your mouth. Lipliner to the rescue – use it to show that lipstick who’s boss.

4. Bright lips call for blander eyes

Wearing red lipstick in the daytime means it’s best to understate your eyes. Stick to eyeliner and mascara, and if you do wear eye shadow, keep colours neutral and close to your skin tone.

For an evening out you can afford to be a bit braver and go darker with your eye shadow. Bronze and gold shades of eye shadow work well with red lipstick.

kristen bell

5. That’s the what, now here’s the how

Make sure your lips are clean and don’t have anything – such as a stray breakfast crumb – on it.

  • With your lipliner, draw a line all along the contours of your lips. Start in the middle and work towards the corners of your mouth. Be careful and use a steady hand.
  • Apply the lipstick, from the lipliner inward.
  • Using a lipstick brush, apply a second layer, making sure to fill in any creases you may have missed with the stick.
  • Put a tissue over your lips. Then use a blusher brush to lightly apply unscented talcum powder, baby powder or concealer powder over the tissue.
  • To ensure longevity, lightly apply another layer of red lipstick and repeat the powder-and-tissue ritual. Finish with a final layer of lipstick.

6. Keep your teeth as they should be – white

Follow these simple steps to keep the lipstick from transferring to your teeth. After all, you don’t want to distract those important clients from your presentation with a pink smile:

  • Once you’ve applied your lipstick, take a tissue and fold it twice – once lengthwise, then in half.
  • Gently put the folded tissue between your lips.
  • Ever-so-lightly wipe your lips from left to right on the tissue.
  •  When you remove the tissue, you’ll see the lipstick that would’ve otherwise made it onto your teeth.  

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