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Find Your Red Lip

Simplifying the best – and often most complicated – lip color

Red lipstick has been around for centuries and graced the mouths of just about every iconic woman you can name. Red lips are a statement, like a great piece of jewelry, heels or that much-coveted handbag. In fact, in all my years as a makeup artist the question I’m asked constantly is: How do I find the perfect red lipstick? So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a quick guide to the rules of wearing red along with some of my favorite picks.


1 • There isn’t one perfect shade of red for every woman. There are so many gorgeous shades suitable for every skin tone, so the objective is to try on as many as possible and look in the mirror. Which shade makes you look brighter, fresher and more radiant? If a color doesn’t have that effect, then that red isn’t the best for you.
2 • Never wear red with heavy makeup. Apply eye makeup after putting on red lipstick – less eye makeup looks better while wearing red lipstick. When wearing red, the rest of our makeup pallet should be understated and super-casual. The quickest way to add age to your appearance is to wear heavy makeup.

3 • It’s okay to dump the matching lip pencil. A more modern approach to wearing red is to build color by using a lip brush or your fingertip.
4 • Keep your options open. Sometimes the texture of a red lipstick can be intimidating and there are many new formulations of red. Look at glosses, stains, tints, glazes, matte, sheer and shimmers.
5 Remove the thoughts of associating red lips with youth. Red lipstick is the quickest youth-giving, skin-illuminating, eye- brightening beauty trick around.
6 Remember that you can achieve red without wearing red. Bricks, berries and sheer red glosses give the effect of wearing red without being high maintenance.

My picks:

Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in “Red Carpet”
Goes on creamy but dries matte, and the best part is that it won’t budge for eight hours.

Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in “Iconic”
Channel the “It Girl” downtown vibe by pairing this bright, creamy red with a low-key eye, disheveled ’do and flushed cheeks. 

ELF Cosmetics Essential Lipstick in “Fearless”
Thanks to its tiny flecks of mica, this red shade shines bright like a diamond on your lips.

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in “The Red”
This newcomer doesn’t come in bullet form, however its stick-like stature houses an opaque stain that dries into a velvety lipstick-like finish. In my opinion, it’s kind of amazing.

Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick in “Pirate”
Pair a satiny red mouth with a classic cat eye to channel your inner Marilyn. Chanel has been at the top of the red lipstick game since 1924, when they produced their first lipstick. 

Mac Cosmetics Lipstick in “Russian Red”
One of the greats, this oldie-but-goodie lip color has had a cult following ever since it launched in the 1980s.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in “Romantic”
If you aren’t ready for a full-on, opaque red lip, try a stain like this one. It still gives you a pretty pigmented finish, but it isn’t as saturated as a lipstick.


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