Style + Beauty

How to Get Perfect Red Lips


If there’s one thing Taylor Swift never leaves at home, it’s her signature red-hot pout.

Swift isn't the only one taking advantage of the bold hue. It's made a statement on the lips of Hollywood actresses and fashion runway models for years, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

A dramatic red hue can make complexions look brighter and teeth appear whiter, but if the idea of going bold is intimidating, rest assured that everyone can pull this look off by mastering some simple tips.

Makeup artist Samantha Klein, who worked behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week, shares her insider tips:

Find Your Shade

Don’t know which red lipstick suits you best? The secret lies in your skin's undertone.

“In natural lighting, look at the inside of your wrist,” says Klein. "If your veins appear blue, you have a cool undertone. If they appear greener you have a warm undertone. If you can’t really tell, or you think you see a mixture of both, then you may be neutral.”

  • Warm Undertone.: Olive, yellow or darker complexions should go for an orange-red.
  • Cool Undertone. Those with pink or reddish tints to the skin should should try a bluish-red.
  • Neutral. Any deep, dark red will be flattering.

Know Your Lipsticks

When it comes to lipsticks, no two tubes are created equal. Swift changes her signature look up by going either glossy or retro, and you can do the same with ease. There are plenty of options to choose from and Klein's guide works on any undertone:

  • Matte. No shine, but with intense pigment. Think vintage. This formula can be drying, so hydrate lips with a balm first.
  • Glossy. This shiny formula can make lips appear fuller and sexier. Use sparingly.
  • Satin. Semi-matte is the most popular lipstick finish because it’s not too flat or shiny. In other words, you can have the best of both worlds.
  • Frost. This formula gives a punch of color with added shimmer.
  • Stain. Like the name implies, it's sheer tint of color for a more natural approach.

Apply Like a Pro

Klein recommends the following steps to perfect application:

  • Step 1: Red lips always screams attention, which is why moisturizing is crucial. Make sure your lips are exfoliated for a flawless look. Once your pout is flake-free, apply a hydrating concealer or foundation over and around the entire lip area, blending into your skin.
  • Step 2: Set lips by dusting on a translucent powder. This step acts as a base and will promote the longevity of your lipstick wear.
  • Step 3: Choose a lip liner in a shade close to your lipstick choice. Carefully and slowly, create small dots exactly on your lip line. Next, connect the dots. Fill in both the entire top and bottom lip with the liner. This will also help to keep your lipstick stay intact.
  • Step 4: Get a single two-ply tissue and separate it down to one-ply. Place and hold the tissue firmly over your lips without disturbing the lip liner. Dip a powder fluff brush into the translucent powder and apply directly onto the tissue over and around your lips. This will set your lip liner and make it budge-proof.
  • Step 5: Apply lipstick.