How To Achieve Perfect Red Lips

CalendarFriday, December 30th, 2022
UserJeff Chiarelli
View2 Min READ
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How To Achieve Perfect Red Lips

achieving the best red lips
Liubov Levytska –

Are you looking to attain the perfect red lip look? If so, you’re in the right place. With just a few tips and tricks, you can create a red lip that really stuns. Here’s your complete guide to achieving the perfect red lips.

The Perfect Process

A great lipstick starts with understanding the process of creating the lip look. Here is a five-step process for doing that.

Step 1: Start With Foundation

You may not have expected it, but you actually want to start the look with foundation. Cover your lips in a thin coat of foundation the same color as or slightly lighter than the skin tone. Not only will it provide a great starting point to maintain color vibrancy, but it will also make the lipstick last longer.

Step 2: Decide Your Palette

Check out the “Finding the perfect shade” section below to decide on a comfortable lipstick shade that works for you. Then, scrape out a little bit of the lipstick. We recommend cream lipstick for the best application, but you can do this method with gel lipstick or liquid lipstick. Then grab a lip brush.

Step 3: Start With the Cupid’s Bow

For best results start by outlining the cupid’s bow. This gives you plenty of room to mess up and try again. Carefully sculpt out one side, then the other, using your lip brush to create crisp lines.

Step 4: Go From the Outside In

Once you have your cupid’s bow carved out to your liking, apply from the outside in, meeting the two lines in the middle. Only apply a small amount to the brush. You can always apply two coats if you need more opacity.

Step 5: Mattify the Lip

Especially if you’re using a traditional lipstick formula, which isn’t entirely matte, you’ll need to add some transfer resistance with a bit of matte overlay. Take a piece of tissue paper, fold it in half, then place it between your lips and press down to remove some of the excess lipstick while retaining the lip stain.

You can also take some tips from beauty editors and use a translucent setting powder. Put a single sheet of tissue paper over the top of your lips, hold it on top of the lips, then dust over the top with the setting powder. This will create a matte finish without the dustiness of applying the setting powder directly.

Tips, Tricks, and Other Important Components

Once you’ve mastered this process of applying this pop of color, there are a few other things you can do to create a comfortable lipstick look that looks even better on you and anyone else. Here are a few of the top tips and tricks.

Red Lips for Dark Skin

Too many women have been told that red lips just won’t look good with their skin tone. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While the bold color is certainly something that can take time for anyone to get used to, it can look incredible on a dark skin tone if you take a few steps to achieve a natural look.

Contoured lips can be a great tool to ease your way into wearing a red-lip look. After you’ve fully lined the lips, take a black or brown lip liner and gently line your lips, focusing on more of a lining on the outside corners of the lips. Press your lips together to ensure a smooth blend between the colors, then mattify the lips as needed.

You can also try a darker, more “vampy” red that’s closer to a burgundy color. Because there are endless shades of red out there, experimenting a little bit can help you find a red color that feels more neutral on darker skin. Your color choice, including color vibrancy, can change how the color feels against your skin tone.

Long-wear Tips

For longer wear, professional makeup artists and beauty editors alike will often choose a long-wearing formula, which is specifically created to make it easier for you to wear your lipstick for longer. Unlike a traditional lipstick formula, a long-wearing formula may have different ingredients that allow it to stay on the skin for longer, and many of them are “dry” to the touch so that you don’t have to worry about them coming off.

Outside of finding a new lipstick, you may also achieve some transfer resistance by adding a layer of lip balm on top of it. This can be especially helpful if the lipstick actively feels drying and sticky. This can dry your lips out over time and make it even harder to achieve that budge-proof red lipstick you’re trying to get. A conditioning lip balm actively protects against this.

Finding the Perfect Shade

With so much color variety out there, how can you decide on the color profile that perfectly fits your needs?

A lot of this process has to do with your skin tone. Cool skin tones, which have blue undertones, will look best with a more muted red. Warm skin tones, which have red undertones, will look best with an exceptionally bright red. And olive skin tones, which have greenish undertones, may look best with a slightly cool tone lipstick.

However, if you’re going for something like a pinup girl look, you might want to buck these trends and try something different. At the end of the day, the best way to find the right color, whether you have warmer or cooler undertones, is to try many different colors on yourself. Get over to a local beauty store and try out some of their lipsticks for the best results.

Different Types of Lipsticks

Part of figuring out how to apply red lipstick is just to discover the lipstick type that works for you. There are nearly endless types of lipsticks on the market: matte lipstick, glossy finish lipstick, cream lipstick, gel lipstick, satin lipstick, and more. And many of them will also have different finishes, like a matte finish, a satin finish, or a cream finish.

Again, trial and error will be your best friend here. You may be able to see many pictures of a beautiful satin finish to lipstick, and you can even see what a “liquid lipstick formula” looks like on a “bronze skin tone,” but there are truly infinite skin tones, and you won’t be able to see what it looks like on every single skin tone. Try to find a local beauty store to get an idea of what these lipsticks look like on your skin.

Finding the Perfect Lipstick

tips for red lipstick 
Valua Vitaly –


A red lip can be the perfect addition to just about any look. Whether you’re adding a pop of exceptionally bright color to back up some unique eyeliner or you’re looking for the perfect shade of burgundy to quietly create the lipstick shade of your dreams, finding the perfect lip color is a necessity if you’re looking to keep your makeup simple but elegant. If you find that discovering the right shade is something you love doing over and over again, the cosmetology program at Ogle School can help you turn that love into a career.

About the Author

Jeff Chiarelli
Jeff Chiarelli is the Head of Marketing for Ogle School. His responsibilities include leading Ogle School's marketing and branding strategy to amplify Ogle School's passion for helping create future beauty professionals in the communities Ogle School serves.


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Hi future beauty professional! We can’t wait to speak you. Fill out the form below and we’ll get you the information you need.
By submitting this form, I am providing my consent to be called, texted, and/or emailed by Ogle School at the number and/or email provided. This consent is not a condition of purchase.
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