The Rules of the Red Lips

Devotees of red lipstick know the power a carmine mouth yields. Tales abound of waived traffic tickets, instant seductions and boardroom takeovers—all credited to the single swipe of bold colour across the lips. Charismatic women have made a strong mouth their aesthetic trademark. We asked makeup artists for her advice on wearing spring’s most striking shade.

The Rules of the Red Lips

You shall not wear red on dry, withered lips. “Moisturize your lips before applying lipstick,” she advises. “If they are flaking and dry, you’ll need to exfoliate because red isn’t as forgiving as a nude lip.” It might sound mildly torturous, but smoothing out lips is remarkably simple. “Using a baby toothbrush and lip balm, rub over your lips until they are smooth.”

 

The Rules of the Red Lips

 

You shall make red lips the focal point. “The rest of your face should remain neutral—you don’t want to overpower your face. For cheeks, opt for a spicy pink or peach blush.”

You shall consider the shape of your mouth. “If you have thin lips, pick a sheer, glossy formulation because it gives the illusion of fullness,” she explains. “Start in the middle of the lip, and blend outward so that there are no hard edges.”

You shall pick the right lip shade for your skin tone. The rule is simple enough: If you look luminous and goddess-like in a stark white blouse, then a blue-red is your shade of choice. If a cream shirt does you more justice, an orange-red is more flattering. And you don’t need to be Picasso to differentiate undertones. “Think of a cherry—that is a classic blue-red,” she says. “An orange-red is the colour of a ripe tomato.”

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