Style

Flaming Lips

How to wear red lipstick like a boss.

Some of my favorite red-lipsticked looks.

There’s something pretty powerful about a slash of red lipstick—it says, “I am awesome, and I have awesome things to say.” No matter what your style is—it looks good with a man’s suit or a vintage dress—you can find a way to make red lipstick suit you and what you’re trying to tell the world about yourself on any given day.

You might be afraid of bright red lipstick, worried it’s too bold, or that it will smear and smudge every time you talk or take a gulp of a Slurpee and you’ll end up looking like you got a little too into a plate of spaghetti. But fear not! I’m gonna help you learn how to apply the stuff like a pro, and pretty soon you’ll be wearing it like you were born with it on.

First, pick a shade. I know that everyone says that certain skin tones and hair colors need to stick to specific shades, but throw those rules in the trash! Wear whatever color you like best—the one that makes you feel most like yourself. Personally, I prefer poppy reds, which have an orangey undertone. (Technically, that goes against the rules prescribed for my pale pinky skin and dark hair, but like I said, those rules = garbage.) All this being said, a blue-toned red like NYX Cosmetics’ Matte Lipstick in Bloody Mary can make your teeth look whiter, and an orange-toned red like Avon’s Ultra Color Rich Lipstick in Poppy Love (one of my all-time favorites) can warm up your face on a day when you’re feeling a bit blah.

Next, prepare your canvas. If your lips are dry and chapped, your lipstick is gonna look crummy. A while back I offered some advice on making chapped lips smooth and soft. All good? Then let’s get started.

Now put on some red lipstick and take over the world.

51 Comments

  • teenager May 28th, 2012 7:26 PM

    ah, the power of red lipstick
    you are absolutely beautiful! xx

    http://interstellarsuburbia.wordpress.com/

  • venus-in-furs May 28th, 2012 7:40 PM

    Love this! thanks so much :-)

  • Whatsername May 28th, 2012 7:51 PM

    I love wearing red lipstick to school, no one else ever does so it makes me feel spesho.
    Another tip I’ve read about is to set the lipstick, you can put a tissue over your mouth and then dust face powder over the tissue, the powder that’s filtered through helps to set the lipstick so it stays longer. Then reapply, and voila!

  • loonylizzy May 28th, 2012 7:53 PM

    you are so gorgeous :) i’m definitely going to use this! thanks!

  • EmilyD May 28th, 2012 7:56 PM

    I really want to be the sort of girl who wears red lipstick on a bare face, but I always feel weird about not also wearing at least eyeliner, and I hate not being able to put on lip balm over the course of the day. So instead I wear lipstain.

  • morethanprinceofcats May 28th, 2012 8:02 PM

    you have the most perfect mouth shape of all time!

  • cami8 May 28th, 2012 8:21 PM

    awesome tutorial! It looks soooo pretty. I loved your eyes’ makeup too

  • Kathryn May 28th, 2012 8:23 PM

    This was really helpful!

  • darksideoftherainbow May 28th, 2012 8:42 PM

    awesome! love your posts always, hannah!

  • Bela May 28th, 2012 8:52 PM

    That’s great technique, with applying the lip liner over the lips! Now how do you successfully take all of it off?

  • SWIZZLEFAIRY22 May 28th, 2012 9:09 PM

    Can you also apply lip stain instead of lip liner? I read somewhere that it helps it stay on longer.

  • maggiemadge May 28th, 2012 10:00 PM

    I wear red lipstick only when I do roller derby, but I can now see it as make up to wear during the day. I’ve always wanted to be that girl who wears red lipstick, but my signature make up is cat- like eyeliner (from another lovely tutorial by Rookie!). Thanks for the lipstick tips!

  • Katie May 28th, 2012 10:07 PM

    Do you think this would last all day even though I play a wind instrument multiple times throughout mine?

    • Kathryn May 29th, 2012 5:15 PM

      When ever I wear lipstick when I have band, I get it all over my saxophone reed. I guess it depends, but I wouldn’t recommend it!

  • firky May 28th, 2012 10:14 PM

    Love the vid!

    Question: I’ve tried using a brush for my lipstick and I find that it just wipes the lipstick off my lips. What am I doing wroooongggg!!!!?!!

  • JessicaMae May 28th, 2012 10:50 PM

    “And everyone will just part where you walk” XD I love red lipstick but I can never get it to stay for more than thirty minutes lol great tutorial!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Mae-Photography/167841366652018

  • Yani May 28th, 2012 11:54 PM

    you are sweet dreams, I wanna be your friend -_-

  • Delune May 29th, 2012 2:13 AM

    Great tutorial! I’m a pale blonde who goes all Wanda Woodward at nighttime, but I haven’t yet worked up the courage to rock vintage red lipstick during the day! I would like to, but it’s one of those things where I feel like I’d be too made-up looking ya know? I just gotta try it anyway, shoot anybody who questions it a billion dollar bitchface :D xx

  • ToriLynne May 29th, 2012 2:17 AM

    Lovely tutorial! Red lipstick is like my favorite makeup look ever and it looks beautiful on you! I could not agree more, those lipstick color rules are meant to be thrown out the window!
    xo, Tori
    http://daisiesandpixiedust.blogspot.com/

  • Caden May 29th, 2012 2:43 AM

    Red lipstick + red hair = awesome!

    Caden x
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/pinkpoppies1991

  • ivoire May 29th, 2012 2:55 AM

    eating, drinking, KISSING. hahahaah omg

  • steph.anie11 May 29th, 2012 3:03 AM

    “kissing…i dont know what you guys are doing” hahah great tutorial!

  • anonymouse May 29th, 2012 4:06 AM

    You look french, like you should be window shopping in Paris, sipping wine with one hand, and a designer purse filled to the brim with artisanal cheeses hanging off the crook of your elbow. Just, all the french stereotypes! So cute!

    • anonymouse May 29th, 2012 4:08 AM

      Damn! Forgot the skinny jean-esque pants, and cigarette with holder…;]

  • ruby May 29th, 2012 5:46 AM

    Great post!
    For more lipstick advice….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc8WVJQdO3A

  • toomuchjess May 29th, 2012 5:57 AM

    Hannah you remind me of Zooey Deschanel!

  • NotReallyChristian May 29th, 2012 9:36 AM

    Sigh. Sadly red lipstick looks weird on my Really Tiny Mouth. I don’t have thin lips, my mouth is just … really small. Like only a teeny bit wider than my nose. So red lipstick makes it look eeeven smaller until I just have this little red round blob in the middle of my face. Weirdly, black looks much better – maybe because making your lips a bit bigger with black makes you look less clown and more silent movie.

  • MinaM8 May 29th, 2012 9:52 AM

    I love the color you used!!! You’re so gorgeous xx

  • ladylaurenia May 29th, 2012 1:03 PM

    I always wanted to do this, but I have really plump lips and I thought it would create a distraction :(

  • Susann May 29th, 2012 1:14 PM

    I wear red lipstick everyday… like a boss! ;)

    http://fashioninpepperland.blogspot.com

  • AnguaMarten May 29th, 2012 4:32 PM

    OH MY GOD I HAVE DONE THE LIPSTICK TRICK. SUCCESSFULLY. THAT’S RIGHT BITCHES I CAN PUT LIPSTICK ON WITH MY CLEAVAGE. BAM. BUT I CAN’T DO IT WITH FUCKING RED LIPSTICK BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE ANY FUCKING RED LIPSTICK BECAUSE I LEFT MY RED LIPSTICK IN MY FUCKING POCKET AND LET IT FUCKING GO THROUGH THE WASH AND IT STAINED ALL MY LACROSSE UNIFORMS. AND MY PARENTS WERE PISSED. SO I’M NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR RED LIPSTICK. AND NOW MY DAD IS ALL LIKE “OH YOU DON’T NEED MAKEUP YOU’RE SO PRETTY WITHOUT IT WEARING LIPSTICK IS TRAMPY BESIDES ATHLETES DON’T WEAR MAKEUP” AND I’M ALL LIKE “LOL DAD FUCK YOUR PATRIARCHAL BULLSHIT” EXCEPT I DIDN’T ACTUALLY SAY THAT BECAUSE I HAVE SOME INSTINCT FOR SELF PRESERVATION. AND NOW I CAN ONLY WEAR SHITTY NEUTRAL COLORS THAT LOOK LIKE PIGEON DUNG BECAUSE THEY’RE MORE “FLATTERING” BECAUSE I’M AN “AUTUMN” AND THAT JUST MEANS I HAVE TO SNEAK MY HOT PINK AND FUCHSIA AND PLUM LIPSTICKS OUT OF THE HOUSE AND PUT THEM ON IN THE SCHOOL BATHROOM. USING MY BOOBS. BECAUSE I FUCKING CAN.

    • Kathryn May 29th, 2012 5:20 PM

      hahahhahahhahah you are amazing

    • NotReallyChristian May 29th, 2012 5:20 PM

      You’re an ‘autumn’? What does that even MEAN?

      • anonymouse May 29th, 2012 6:50 PM

        It has to do with her skin tone and what colors look best on that particular tone.

        “Winter and Summer are “cool” – they go best with colors in the blue half of the spectrum, from bluish-red through violet and blue to bluish-green. Spring and Autumn are “warm” – they go best with colors in the yellow half of the spectrum, from orange-red through orange and yellow to yellow-green.” <–Wiki

        • anonymouse May 29th, 2012 6:53 PM

          Also, AnguaMarten You’re amazing and I want to be friends. :]

    • AnguaMarten May 29th, 2012 8:48 PM

      yes. let us all be friends.

  • irena May 29th, 2012 6:01 PM

    I read that it is important to apply lipstick vertically.

  • camille May 29th, 2012 7:07 PM

    Yes!!! Before I watched the video, I was wondering if you’d draw in the lips with the lip-liner–it’s one of the best tips I ever got from learning how to do stage makeup. Also, last time I went to Sephora and asked to try on a lipstick, the employee lined my lips with a TRANSPARENT lip-liner… I guess it could be a wise thing to buy so it could match all lipsticks?
    Oh, and one last thing I have to share: my favourite lip balm to wear under lipstick is Burt’s Bees original. I guess the beeswax is really good to keep the lipstick on, and since it’s pretty matte, it doesn’t interfere with the finish of the lipstick.

    • unefillecommetoi May 31st, 2012 11:01 PM

      yes! i was also gonna say that. burt’s bees lip balm all the way.

  • pinnedtothepage May 29th, 2012 7:50 PM

    fuck yes. awhile back i bought some red lipstick thinking it was going to be awesome then tried using it, looked like a clown, was puzzled, threw it in a drawer where it has remained… until now. or until i get some lip liner anyway.

  • xvi May 30th, 2012 12:27 PM

    :) You look like Carey Mulligan, Hannah! and I am sort of reminded of Zooey D. with how you speak.

    Do you have to do all of those tricks even with MAC lipsticks?

  • Francien May 31st, 2012 4:26 PM

    I really like red lipstick but i daren’t to wear red lipstick to school how much I want to, so I think this will help me and I’ll try to put some red lipstick on to school, thank you (:

  • calliewrong June 2nd, 2012 12:57 PM

    I never used to wear lipstick because it would come off in weird bits and I would look ridiculous within an hour. No more! This is beautiful! Thank you.

  • shanghaidolly June 13th, 2012 10:30 AM

    So fab :) blotting paper works miracles, just fyi.

    http://beauty-dolly.tumblr.com/
    http://shanghaidolly.tumblr.com/

  • Roz G. June 15th, 2012 12:15 PM

    Dear lord you’re like the Deschanel sisters’ little sister!

  • LeatherStuddedFae June 20th, 2012 12:01 PM

    Aw, Hannah, you look really lovely! <3 I love your make-up here. It looks simple, natural and fresh. Please do a tutorial! :D

  • SoftlyRaining June 20th, 2012 7:06 PM

    I tried this today and it worked! It’s lasted for hours even though I’ve eaten. So excited to wear this out on a date!

  • Nikilodeon July 4th, 2012 6:23 AM

    hannah i love you for posting this!! i cannot tell you how long i’ve wanted to wear red lipstick but i hadn’t been able to because i was scared to pick a color, apply, etc. today i bought lipstick, liner, and a lip brush from the drug store and put it on and i feel FABULOUS!!!

    thank you thank you thank you!!! a million red xx’s to you! :*

    • Nikilodeon July 4th, 2012 6:24 AM

      p.s. what kind of eye makeup are you wearing? i love it, it looks natural but really nice. :)

  • ashleysayszelda August 10th, 2012 9:03 PM

    You look like Zooey Deschanel!! Thanks so much for this, I love rocking the red lip but I always have to re-apply it multiple times during the day.

  • Rofique September 4th, 2012 1:19 AM

    I am true Southern girl who doesn’t leave the house without red lipstick! I am way too naturally pale and I look tired and colorless if I am not wearing my Clinique Ginger Flower.