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11 Red Lipstick Tips and Tricks That We Swear By

Here’s how to perfect the timeless look.
By
  • Christa Joanna Lee
July 25, 2024

In the beauty world, nothing is as powerful and transformative as a bold red lip. Coloring lips red dates back to as early as 3500 B.C., when, for instance, royalty in ancient Mesopotamia used a mixture of crushed red minerals to pull off a stained lip look. To this day, red lips convey confidence, power, and sophistication—and with the vast range of shades in the crimson family, there’s a red lipstick to flatter virtually everyone.

However, to make your red lip really stand out, you’ll need to choose the right formula for your needs—and have the know-how to apply it properly. From the proper way to prep your lips to lining them, all the little nuances make a huge difference in the results. So, to help you master the timeless style, we’re sharing all our red lipstick tips and tricks so you can put your best face forward.

What Is the Best Shade of Red Lipstick?

Inarticle Red Lipstick Dos And Donts ColourRicheVolumeMatte1

Choosing the perfect red lipstick depends on skin tone, undertone, the occasion, and unique preferences. Your skin tone is the overall depth of pigment in your skin and is typically classified as fair, medium, or deep. It can slightly change with the seasons (for instance, if you have a tan), though typically remains more or less consistent over time. Undertone, meanwhile, refers to the underlying pigment of your skin—and unlike your skin tone, it never changes.

The easiest way to determine your undertones is to observe the color of your veins on the inside of your wrist. A blue or purplish tint typically suggests a cool undertone, while a greener hue is indicative of warm skin. If your veins display both blue and greenish tints, you likely have a neutral skin tone.

Generally, you’ll get the most flattering results if you pick red lip makeup that complements your skin tone and undertone. So cool, berry-toned reds like L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Red Passion are ideal for those with cooler skin tones, while richer, orange-toned reds, such as L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in British Red flatter those with warmer skin well. If you have neutral skin, you’re in luck: You’ll look great in just about any color. For a classic red lip, try L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Le Rouge Paris—this pure, vibrant crimson looks great on just about everybody. If you prefer a matte finish, try L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Rouge Paris.

Finally, remember that there is no such thing as a definitive beauty rule. The best shade of red lipstick is one that you love and makes you feel like your best self.

11 Red Lipstick Tips To Try

Once you’ve found your perfect red lipstick of choice, try to avoid the urge to just swipe it on—it may not last as well as you’d hoped. Instead, follow these lipstick tips and learn how to apply red lipstick like a pro.

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1. Exfoliate

If you’ve ever struggled to achieve flawless lipstick application—no matter the shade—you could be forgetting a very important step: exfoliation. Use a lip scrub and gently massage your lips to buff away any dead skin cells on your lips' surface. If you don’t have a lip scrub on hand, gently rubbing your lips with a clean, damp washcloth should do the trick, too.

2. Prime your lips

After exfoliating, grab your favorite hydrating lip balm to help prime your lips and create a smooth base. Many lip primers help prevent feathering, which is essential for darker or more vibrant shades of red. Plus, a primer can enhance the color payoff of your lipstick.

3. Try different formulas

There are a wealth of different lipstick formulas, each with its unique set of benefits. Satin-finish lipsticks, like L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick, tend to feel creamy and hydrating and leave the lips with a subtly glossy finish. Matte lipsticks, meanwhile, lack shine—instead, they coat the lips in velvety (and often, long-lasting) color. For a matte look that won’t leave your lips feeling dry, try L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick or the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Resistance Liquid Lipstick. Both formulas are infused with hyaluronic acid and feel comfortable on the lips.

4. Always line your lips

A lip liner is essential to keep your red lipstick in place and prevent bleeding or feathering. To define your lips, trace the contours of your lips by following the natural lip line. A good rule of thumb is to match the finish of your lip liner with that of your lipstick so you don’t have opposing textures in the same lip look. For instance, if you’re wearing satin lipstick, reach for a satin lip liner like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner in Always Red. If you’re wearing matte lipstick, reach for a matte lip liner like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner in In-Matte-Uated With You.

5. Stay within your natural lip line

There’s a fine line (literally) between overlining your lips and going overboard. Don't stray too far outside your natural lip line when trying to achieve a more voluminous lip look. Instead, line just slightly outside the contours of your natural lip shape to help fake a plumper pout.

6. Accentuate your Cupid’s bow

Inarticle Red Lipstick Dos And Donts ColourRicheSatin3

Defining your Cupid’s bow can help make your lips look more plump and fuller. 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. If you don’t have a naturally defined Cupid’s bow, follow your natural lip line, only varying slightly outside the lines to create natural-looking definition.

7. Use a lip brush

If you want maximum color payoff, apply your red lipstick directly from the tube. However, if you want more precision or control over the color, you could also use a lip brush to help you build your look. Start at the center of your lips and work your way out to avoid accumulating too much product near the corners of your mouth. And take your time: red lipstick is bold, and any color that strays outside of the lines will be fairly obvious (but if you do make a mistake, you can easily clean it up with concealer or makeup remover).

8. Add lip gloss

If you want extra hydration, dab on a little lip gloss to add 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.

9. Keep the rest of your makeup neutral

When wearing a bold lipstick shade, consider keeping the rest of your makeup minimal and fresh so you don’t overwhelm your look with too many competing colors. A simple eye look in neutral shades and fresh, dewy skin will help your red lips stand out.

10. Check your teeth

Before you step out the door with your perfect red lip, make sure your teeth look flawless, too. While we love the bold look of red lipstick, it’s highly noticeable if it ends up on your pearly whites. Fold a clean tissue in half, place it between your lips, and gently purse them together. This trick will help remove any lipstick from the inside of your lips.

11. Avoid rubbing your lips together

If your lips look a little too red or a touch too glossy, grab a tissue and blot your lipstick. Avoid smacking your lips together because this can smear your carefully lined edges and disrupt your perfect red lipstick look.

Next Up: The Ultimate L’Oréal Paris Lipstick Guide

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