For as long as red lipstick has been around, we’ve tried to master the application, find the absolutely to-die-for perfect shade and ways to make it last all day long. A precisely applied deep red lipstick can evoke power, sexiness, femininity, sophistication and more – and there’s a reason it’s always on trend no matter what the season, red lips literally go with everything. We ask two makeup pros who know more than a thing or two about red lips (M∙A∙C Cosmetics Senior Artist Caitlin Callahan and Regional Education Manager for Eastern Canada at Benefit, Maddox Lu), for their hands-down, never-fail
red lipstick tips.

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1. Know your tone

“Olive/tan skin tones are complimented by warm-reds. Rosey/neutral skin tones are complimented by cool reds,” says Lu. Stick to this and you’ll always find the perfect red lips hue.

2. Prep and prime!

“If you are going to go red, be prepared!” advises Callahan. “Bright colours will draw attention and if people are going to be looking at your lips, make sure they are exfoliated, moisturized and in good shape. You don’t want to
apply red lipstick to chapped or cracked lips – people will notice.”

3. Use the right tools

Slapping or smearing on your lipstick just won’t do when it comes to applying a cherry red hue. “Apply red lipstick with a lip brush,” suggests Lu. “A strong colour like red requires crisp execution. Reds are naturally bold, therefore a poor application will be even more noticeable.”

4. Choose your attitude

“There are so many reds to choose from – bright red says something different from a dark red,” says Callahan. “It’s like choosing the right red shoes for your mood – are you a red stiletto or a burgundy flat?”


5. 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.”

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6. Pick a focus feature

A bold, vibrant
notice-me lip colour calls for the rest of your makeup and face to be subtle. “If you are going to go red, make it your focus feature and soften the rest of your makeup,” suggests Callahan. If you’re putting the time and effort into your perfect red pout, make sure people notice it.

7. Don’t forget to powder

Make your red lipstick last and keep the colour true with a touch of powder, says Lu. “Powder your lips lightly with your face powder before applying the lipstick. This ensures any and all colouring around your lips is evened out.”

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8. Layer

The key to rich, full-bodied colour? Layering. “Using Benefit’s lip and cheek stain ‘BeneTint’, apply a layer or two to the lips creating a long lasting stain of red. Follow this with an application of your red lipstick (‘Dare Me’ from Benefit- a cool-red) for a longer lasting lip look,” advises Lu.

9. Blot and repeat

“Use a tissue!” says Lu. “When your lip is completed, take a tissue and blot the inner lip area to remove any product you may have applied too far into the mouth. This will help prevent getting lipstick on your teeth!”

10. Make it last

The biggest red lipstick complaint? It doesn’t last past your 11 a.m. meeting. By combining the blotting and layering tips above with longwearing products, your lips will remain vibrant all day long. “Use a lip primer or
longwearing products to limit touch ups and help it last all day,” says Callahan.

Bonus tip: Be prepared to maintain

“High maintenance? Touch ups throughout the day are definitely something you’ll need to do,” says Callahan. So be prepared. “Bring your lip liner and/or lipstick with you when you head out,” she says. And a chic compact mirror too for red lippy touch-ups on the go.


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