How to Create the Perfect Red Lip in 4 Simple Steps

Celebs like Gwen Stefani and Taylor Swift make a classic red lip look so easy. However, if you've ever tried to paint the bold hue on your own pout, you know it can quickly turn into a mess.


Before you know it the red has feathered, and it's quite possible you look as though you just drank a huge glass of cherry Kool-Aid with abandon. No need to get discouraged, because we spoke with Alejandro Falcon, artistic director of Osmosis Colour Cosmetics, for his steps to scoring the perfect red lip. With these tips you'll be rocking crimson in time for holiday party season.

1. Find the right red. No two red lipsticks are created equal, and finding the right shade to complement your skin tone can feel overwhelming. "A red lipstick with a slight orange undertone usually looks great on light skin tones and light hair color," says Falcon. "It is not overwhelming, and it adds just the right amount of warmth. Darker skin tones and hair coloring can wear a red lip color that has a bluer undertone. This provides enough intensity for the darker tones on the face."

2. Prep the lips. To make such a strong color look smooth, Alejandro says preparing your pout is key. "You want to make sure your lips are in good condition," he says. "They are very sensitive to climate changes and can peel easily. Any flakiness should be removed prior to a lipstick application." He recommends using a lip exfoliator, like Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare Purify - Enzyme Cleanser (which has "natural enzymes that dissolve dry skin without irritating them," Falcon notes). You could also try a DIY scrub: a tablespoon of brown sugar with just enough honey (or olive oil) to get it to stick together.

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3. Get in shape. "Use a lip liner to shape and outline your lip area," says Falcon. "I usually fill in the lip liner halfway inside the lips for a more precise look, especially with red colors."

Lots of red lip–wearers swear by colorless liner (like Make Up For Ever's Lip Line Perfector), which you'll want to apply just slightly outside the natural lip line to prevent bleeding and also fill in fine lines around the mouth.

4. Say bye-bye to feathering. If you're still worried that red is going to creep outside the lines of your lips, take note that all of Falcon's previous tips are built to make sure that doesn't happen.

"The biggest reason for lipsticks to feather is that area around the lips is usually very dehydrated," he explains. "This makes the skin around the lips absorb the moisture from any hydrating lip formula causing it to bleed. A good lip treatment is essential for longer-staying lip color. Also, using a lip liner and filling it in slightly will help to maintain your lip color in place for most of the day."


Image via gwenstefani/Instagram

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