Makeup » How to Apply Red Lipstick Flawlessly

How to Apply Red Lipstick Flawlessly

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While simply taking that luxurious tube of red lipstick, rolling up the stick and quickly swiping it on might seem glamorous, chances are you will end up with a pout that is a little uneven and likely to feather at the edges. For that perfect red lip, you want to take some care, because it will greatly emphasize your lips in a way that should be flattering, but can also highlight imperfections and unevenness. Below, we’ll give you the key secrets and tips for a flawless and long-lasting red lipstick application.

In this article:

Applying Red Lipstick: Steps

Step 1: Prep

Make sure there are no bits of dry or dead skin sticking to your lips, because your red lipstick will stick to them, making your lips look patchy. Scrubbing your lips with an exfoliant before starting your makeup should help.

You can buy one like the Sugar Lip Polish from Fresh (available at Sephora), or make your own by mixing a bit of sugar with a couple drops of coconut or olive oil. Finish off with a coating of lip balm.

Step 2: Outline the Outline

It’s traditional to have your lipstick be the final part of your makeup application, but it’s not mandatory. It is easier to apply lipstick after the foundation is done, however, make sure to avoid the red smudging into your foundation.

Along the outline of your lips, apply a thin layer of concealer, and blend out its edges with a sponge – this will act as a guide for your lip line, prevent feathering, and give a crisper look.

Step 3: Lip Liner Magic

Begin outlining your lips. To make sure your lips are lined symmetrically, check your lip line every once in awhile in a large mirror held far away from your face. A small mirror held close to the face will tell you if your lines are clean, but it won’t tell you if your lip shape is wonky.

The key when applying a lip liner is to use small strokes – it doesn’t matter where you start, although a lot of people prefer to begin at the cupid’s bow and center of the lower lip, and to work their way out.

These days I prefer slightly overdrawing the lip line, but if you have naturally large lips (or lip fillers), it is better to stick to your own lip line. For a longer-lasting red lip, finish off by filling in the whole lip with liner.

Step 4: Flawless Red Lipstick Application

The beautiful thing about a lip liner is that it saves you the hassle of trying to get a perfect pout with an unwieldy tube of lipstick. Applying straight from the tube is okay, but you can get a much more perfect application by using a lip brush.

Simply fill in your whole lip with your favorite choice from my list of the best red lipsticks.

Step 5: Clean Up

Even when you take the utmost care, you will usually have to make a few corrections once you finish your red lipstick application. A Q-tip dipped in foundation or concealer is the perfect eraser for fixing bigger issues like a totally misdrawn lip line, or a stray spot of lipstick.

A flat-tipped concealer brush is inimitable in giving that crisp lip line that looks almost photoshopped – simply run it along the edge of your lip line, to sharpen the edges.

Step 6: Set & Highlight

You can read my tips for long-lasting red lipstick to see how to set your look for maximum longevity, but otherwise, proceed as follows. Set the edges of your lip, where you applied that line of concealer, with a translucent powder.

With a highlighting powder or cream, highlight the cupid’s bow and the outer corners of your lip. You can also apply a bit of highlighter or gloss to the center of your pout, for extra dimension.

A Note on Applying Red Liquid Lipsticks

Quite a few things about applying a red liquid lipstick are the exact same as applying a regular red lipstick. You want to shape your lips the same way, and priming your lips with exfoliation and lip balm is even more mandatory.

However, concerns like setting it and making sure it lasts long all but disappear, because the formula is already guaranteed to last all day.

  • Prep your lips with a lip scrub and lots and lots of your favorite lip balm.
  • For an extra perfect lip line, follow the same concealer outline routine as outlined in the previous step-by-step red lipstick application guide.
  • Since great liquid lipsticks don’t feather, you don’t have to apply a lip liner – just make sure to wipe excess product off of your wand, and then apply the red liquid lipstick around your lip line in tiny strokes.
  • When the time comes to apply the red liquid lipstick to your whole lip, moderation is key. Apply a very thin layer, and wait for it to dry before applying a second layer (assuming you want more opaque or darker coverage). You can start by applying to the lower lip, and then press your lips together to distribute a bit of the lipstick to the top lip. Finish the look off by filling in the gaps.
  • Once you like how it looks, there is no need to blot (unless you’ve over-applied the lipstick) or set – you are simply good to go! Correct small mistakes with a cotton swab dipped in foundation.

How to Get Your Red Lipstick to Last All Night

This is the definitive trick to get even creamier lipsticks to last as long as possible!

  • Using a lip liner that is either the same shade as your red lipstick or a touch darker, fill in the entirety of lip.
  • With a thin lipstick brush, apply your red lipstick in a thin, even layer all over the lips. If you’re in a rush, applying straight from the applicator is okay as well.
  • Blot the lipstick with a piece of tissue to remove excess product.
  • Next, since tissues are normally made up of two plies, split the tissue so that you only have one ply.
  • Hold the ply over your lips, and with either a translucent powder or matching red eyeshadow, set the lipstick through the tissue. Much like when setting foundation with powder, this will set your lipstick and ensure it won’t slip around.
  • If you like how this looks, the whole process can end here. However, the application of powder will mattify your lips, which isn’t always desired. If you want to have the true finish of the red lipstick, simply apply a final thin layer of lipstick.

Photos via @sonagasparian, Instagram