Red lipstick prep
Before you unleash red’s siren power, make sure your lips are ready to hold the colour. “Red lipstick will emphasize the appearance of chapped lips,” warns Lora Spiga, official makeup artist for Lancôme. She recommends using a lip scrub or face cloth to gently exfoliate and smooth away dry skin before applying lipstick. Steer clear of post-scrub balms or oil-based moisturizers as they will cause your colour to smear.

Draw your pout on right
“When applying red lipstick, symmetry is important,” says M∙A∙C Cosmetics’ Senior Artist Caitlin Callahan. It may take a few tries in the mirror, but as they say, practice makes perfect and a precisely drawn red lip is both sexy and on trend. “Start your lip application at the bow and work down to the corners. Same at the bottom, from the center and work up,” says Callahan. “If you start at one side and just draw to the other, you will follow a natural line that may not be symmetrical. Use a red lip liner for a more dramatic lip, no liner for softer look.”

RED LIPS how-to: Update your classic red lippy

Supersize that red lip
If you think your lips are too thin to hold a red lipstick (also known as “sun-dried-tomato mouth syndrome”), makeup artist Pat McGrath recommends adding a shimmer powder to the centre of your bottom lip and over your cupid’s bow to make your mouth appear fuller. “Shimmer plays with light and is a quick plumping fix,” she says. You can also create the illusion of fullness by mixing various shades together (avoid whites—they make lips appear pasty), and use beige or neutral colours to mellow an OTT rouge.

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Know your red lipstick tone
“Olive/tan skin tones are complimented by warm-reds. Rosey/neutral skin tones are complimented by cool reds,” says Regional Education Manager for Eastern Canada at Benefit, Maddox Lu). Stick to this and you’ll always find the perfect red lips hue.

Red lipstick: A new way to line
Lip liner has always been a tried and tested rule for red lips, but Lu has a new suggestion. “Instead of lip liner, using a wedge sponge and your face powder, apply extra powder right up to the edge of your lips blending away from the lip line outward. This creates the illusion of a more tight-crisp finish with your lipstick application; it will also help pro-long your lipstick from bleeding/feathering.”