Ten Tips for Rocking Red Lips

Want to feel bold? Gain instant confidence? Red lipstick is a timeless makeup tool that’s been boosting self-esteem for decades.

Today, it’s seen as a more daring and exciting choice, but with the right tips, anyone can pull off those red lips. All you have to do is keep these ten things in mind.


Photo by Nina Matthews


Lipstick Color

There are many different shades of red to choose from! If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, try experimenting with at least three colors. If you can, pop off the top and take a look at the lipstick inside. It’ll give you a better idea of the shade than the small sticker on the bottom of the tube.

Don’t cheap out on dollar store lipstick. Chances are it won’t look nice or apply well. Sometimes, it pays to visit clerks in beauty departments. Even though they’ll try to make a sale, they’ve also been trained to know what colors look best on you.


Skin Tone

Certain shades compliment your skin tone better than others, so before you pick something eye-catching, consider the color of your face. Fair complexions are more suited for rich cherry and wine colors. Warmer skin tones could try brighter colors like orange-red or even darker shades like purple. Dark complexions can go even brighter in reds or warm pinks like raspberry.



Lipstick not only comes in different shades but in different textures, as well. It mostly depends on personal preference, but other times, maybe you’ll consider your outfit and what works best to pull everything together.

Matte is a dry lipstick that lasts longer and goes on cleaner. Use matte for a softer look and if you plan on wearing it all day. Creamy lipsticks are better at masking flaws and nourishing lips, but they require more maintenance. Glossy lipsticks are great if you want your lips to pop, but they present challenges like bleeding and stickiness.


Eye Makeup

When you wear red lipstick, it’s best to tone down the rest of your makeup and let your lips do the talking (metaphorically). Apply no more than eyeliner or mascara. Red lips and eye shadow could make you look more like a clown than a sophisticated lady. If you’re applying blush or contouring, choose shades in the same color family as your lipstick.



Unless you absolutely love the color, limit your red accessories. Too much red can be a little intense. However, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a red bracelet, handbag or pair of shoes, preferably ones that match your lipstick.

When it comes to clothes, you can wear red lipstick with just about any style except sweatpants. You can add a touch of fun to a date or a little class to business-casual attire. It’s a perfect confidence booster for either situation.


Thin or Thick Lips

Your lip thickness also determines the right shades and textures. Bright shades draw attention to thin lips, so use softer colors for a fuller appearance. For thick lips, use lip liner if you’re going for creamier textures to prevent all that lipstick from bleeding.



Make time to apply your red lipstick. Its brightness is not forgiving when it comes to mistakes, so you’ll need time to cover the shape of your lips, blot excess and check your teeth. Sometimes a brush or q tip is easier than the stick itself for better coverage and precision. When you’ve finished, pucker your lips around your finger and pull out slowly to prevent it from rubbing onto your teeth. If you’re still not sure how to apply it, look up video tutorials where professionals give step-by-step instructions.


Lip Liner

To prevent the lipstick from running or “bleeding,” use lip liner to keep it in place. Unless you can find a shade that matches your lipstick perfectly, apply natural liner that matches your skin tone.


Toning Down

If your shade looks too intense when you pull back from the mirror, you can do a couple things to soften it.

Keep lip balm handy to apply afterwards. This gives you a more natural lip color. You can also blot with a tissue to take away some of the makeup. Matte textures are harder to remove, so don’t apply too many layers unless you’re going for a bright look.


Carry a Mirror

Unless your compact comes with a mirror already in place, invest in a small makeup mirror. Red lipstick can smudge or rub off easily (depending on texture) and if you plan to wear it all day or on a night out, it’s good to have a mirror on hand to do quick checkups.


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1 Comment

  • Reply Barb September 23, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I have always been chicken to wear red lipstick so I appreciated your tips here. I may just take the plunge and shake things up a little. I love that photo of the lipstick on the envelop by the way. Lovely to meet you.

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