How to wear red lipstick correctly

Lipstick step by step. - Veronique Beranger/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Veronique Beranger/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Updated December 02, 2016.

Red lipstick is a universal classic and has yet to go out of style. Yet many women assume they can't wear it. But red lipstick flatters every face and every age. The secret to the right red is in finding the right shade for your skin tone and complementing your lips with simple makeup.

The Secret Lies in the Rest of Your Face

Red lipstick is a statement look, as eye-catching as a big necklace or jeweled neckline.

To make it work, keep the rest of your face simple and fresh. A little concealer, a coat of mascara and a swipe of red on your lips is a bold and timeless style. For a vintage vibe, do a classic cat eye, but keep the rest of your skin bare.

Line Inside of Lips

Line your lips to make the color last longer.

continue reading below our video

How to Apply Lipstick

A clear lipliner prevents your lipstick from feathering and gives the lipstick something to stick to, and can make your color stay for hours.

​If you prefer lipliner with color, such as if you like to overdraw your mouth to make your lips look larger, choose a red that matches your skin-tone and fill in the lips completely to provide a base.

Pick the Right Shade

If you have cool-toned skin, meaning you have blue or green eyes and pink-toned skin, stick with red shades that have a blue tone to it, rather than an orange tint. The color will flatter your skin much more easily.

If you have warm-toned skin, such as having brown eyes and golden skin, look for reds with a brown or orange base.

​When in doubt, try a bunch of different shades at the makeup counter using sample swatches until you

Blending Is In

To make the most of your pout, try blending colors to get the perfect look. Use a bright red all over your lips, then use a darker shade just in the middle to make your lips look larger and fuller.

​Or, if red is a new look for you, try mixing your classic pink or nude lipstick with a bit of red to add some color to your usual look.

You may find that adding a little color each day really updates your makeup and you'll be rocking a full red lip in no time.


Our lips thin as we age and dark lips can accentuate them. Use moisturizing balms and exfoliate your lips before applying your lipstick. Use an old toothbrush and brush your lips before bed, and follow up with a moisturizing balm afterwards. Your lips will be the perfect canvas for a bold look.

​Red looks good on every skin tone and at every age. While it may be a bolder look than the neutral-lipstick you're used to, it can have a big impact and upgrade your whole look.

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