lip makeup The Red Lipstick Do’s and Dont’s That We Swear By

Perfecting this timeless hue is all about the application.

April 24, 2023
Red Lips

Red lipstick
is a timeless beauty staple. If you need proof, just take a look at beauty trends season after season — red lipstick always makes an appearance because it can truly withstand the test of time. If you don’t sport a red lip often, once you find a complementary shade of red lipstick, it’s one of the best things you can do to uplevel your makeup routine. 

The secret to wearing red lipstick and making it look good is application. All the little nuances like how you line your lips or how you prep your lips make a huge difference in the results. So, take notes as we share the do’s and don’ts of red lipstick, plus our favorite red lipstick formulas. 

What Is the Best Shade Of Red Lipstick?

The best shade of red lipstick is the one that complements your skin tone. That said, a dark shade of red with blue undertones is universally flattering on all skin tones. The L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick Le Rouge Avant-Garde or the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Reds Of Worth Satin Lipstick With Saturated Color in Prosperous Red are just the kind of red shades you want to look for. 

A red-orange lipstick is super flattering on those with medium to deep skin and warm undertones. Try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte-Ly in Love.

If you have cool undertones, try a shade of lipstick with pink tones, like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Fresh as a Rose.

Red Lipstick Do’s

Follow our lists of do’s to upgrade your red lipstick application and wear.

Do Prime With Lip Balm

Before you reach for your lipstick, grab your favorite hydrating lip balm to help prime and hydrate your lips post-exfoliation. If you plan on wearing matte lipstick, this step is very important because it will help to keep your lips from feeling dry.

Do Accentuate Your Cupid’s Bow

Defining your Cupid’s bow can help to make your lips look extra plump and pouty. Take your lip liner and draw an X starting at the highest point of the center of your top lip, extending down on a diagonal from that point. Repeat on the other side of your top lip to create an X shape. Continue by filling in your lips as usual. 

If you don’t have a naturally defined Cupid’s bow, follow your natural lip line, only varying slightly outside of the lines to create natural-looking definition.

Do Try Different Formulas

A matte red lipstick is far from the only choice you have to choose from when it comes to red lipstick. If you’re feeling a sheer wash of red color, try a lip balm-lipstick hybrid, like the L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick with Pomegranate Extract in Ecstatic Mulberry.

If you like vivid color, paired with a formula that has a little more hydration that most matte lipsticks, try a red lippie with a satin formula, like the L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Reds Of Worth Satin Lipstick With Saturated Color or the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Rouge St. Germain.

If you love a velvety lip, but don’t feel the same about the dryness that sometimes accompanies matte formulas, try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick. It’s infused with hyaluronic acid and has a powdery matte finish that lasts all day long without feeling dry or crackly.

Do Add a Dab Of Gloss

If your lips feel dry, dab on a little bit of lip gloss to add some shine and moisture. Opt for a clear shade, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Plump Gloss in Mirror, or try a red shade, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 8 Hour Pro Lip Gloss, Hydrating Finish in Red Fatale for an extra pop.

Do Check Your Teeth

Before you walk out of the door with your perfect red lips, make sure that your teeth look perfect as well. Since red lipstick is super bright, it’s also super noticeable when it ends up somewhere it shouldn't be, like your teeth. 

Editor’s tip: Fold a clean tissue in half and place it between your lips, pursing them together to help remove any lipstick on the inside of your lips.

Red Lipstick Don’ts

Now that you’re aware of all the do’s when it comes to red lipstick, here are a few things to steer clear of. 

Don’t Forget to Exfoliate

If you’ve ever wondered what’s standing between you and a smoother lipstick application, it could be your lack of exfoliating and this goes for any lipstick, not just red. Use a lip scrub and gently massage your lips to buff away any dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your lips. If you don’t have a lip scrub, wet the corner of a terry cloth towel and lightly run it across your lips to lightly exfoliate. 

Don’t Skip Lip Liner

Lip liner helps your lipstick stay in place so it doesn’t bleed or feather outside the lines, which means it’s a step you shouldn’t skip. Following your natural lip line, trace the contours of your lips to really define your pout. A good rule of thumb is to match the finish of your lipstick to your lip liner so if you’re wearing satin lipstick, reach for a satin lip liner, like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner. If you’re wearing matte lipstick, reach for a matte lip liner, like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner.

Don’t Color Too Far Outside the Lines

There’s a difference between overlining your lips and going overboard. When you’re overlining your lips, don’t stray too far outside of your natural lip line. Rather, line just slightly outside the contours of your natural lip shape and use an angled brush to reach every little space.

Don’t Rub Your Lips Together

If you find that your lips look a little too red or a touch too glossy, grab a tissue, and blot your lips. You should avoid rubbing your lips together because this can smear your carefully lined edges.

Next: How to Make Purple Lipstick Work for You

Photographer: Matthew Kelly, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay