I’m a proud redhead, but I haven’t figured out redhead makeup. Because of my pale skin, eyelashes, and eyebrows, it’s easy for me to look washed-out, and I look pretty strange any time I try to do interesting things with my face. The craziest I ever get is plum lipstick or a very basic cat-eye. Clearly, I’m a little lost. Can you suggest any styles, colors, or techniques that will look good with my coloring? —Elena, 18, New Mexico

Hello, my fellow Red-Headed Woman! I’m so glad to hear that you feel good about your red hair—you damn well should! Did you know that only 1–2% of humans are redheads? My coloring is similar to yours—very fair, and prone to looking washed-out—and it took me a long time to figure out how to complement it with makeup. The key, I’ve learned, is picking one statement feature—lips, eyes, or cheeks—to play up at a time. You’ll look polished without being all “HELLO, MY NAME IS MAKEUP, DID YOU NOTICE MY MAKEUP?” which sometimes happens when pale-o’s like you and me wear a bunch of products at once. While that can be cool, it sounds like you’re looking for something a little less dramatic, so I’ll share my two favorite daily looks with you!

Before we get started, a bit of general advice: Wear some form of sunscreen every day, no matter what you’re doing! Even if it’s not sunny, UV rays can damage your skin. I wear a lightweight moisturizer with SPF under all of my makeup, all the time. I like using a tinted one like this because it also evens out my skin tone and serves as a primer.

A still from 1989's Dead Calm.

Is this a still from Dead Calm, 1989, or a duplicate of your next Facebook profile picture?

Now then! Our first all-purpose look is reminiscent of Nicole Kidman in Dead Calm (above). It focuses on your eyes and brows, and uses only a few products. Lightly dab some concealer on any dark circles or blemishes, apply a powder that matches your skin tone to your whole face (I like this one), and put a subtle dusty-pink blush (like this) on your cheekbones and the apples of your cheeks. For your eyes, try using a brown mascara (of which there are plenty) instead of a black one—black can be a little intense-looking against fair skin and could be contributing to that washed-out look. Nothing defines your face more powerfully than a pair of solid, well-shaped brows, so fill in your brows with pencil or powder. Since yours are probably extra-light like mine, make sure the product you’re using isn’t too dark—I use this golden-brown pencil. Finish the look with a pink-toned lip gloss (like this one). To jazz up this look, you could add a shimmery gold eyeshadow (such as this).

An inspirational photo of Lucy looking amazing, via Pinterest.

An inspirational photo of Lucy looking amazing in a red lip, via Pinterest.

This next look winks at the stereotype of the smoldering-hot redhead, about which people have likely been making annoying jokes to you your whole life long. It’s time to reclaim it once and for all! This means SERIOUS red lipstick—like Rita Hayworth or Lucille Ball wore. First, apply a liquid foundation. I use this one from Revlon in Buff, which perfectly matches my paleness. Repeat the steps from our first look for the rest of your makeup minus your lips, and add a light sweep of brown eyeshadow (e.g., this one) if you want to look extra-vampy while maintaining the focus on your mouth.

After much consideration, I’ve made a very serious decision about my red-lip advice for you guys today. In the interest of serving redheads everywhere, I have chosen to selflessly share my top-secret red lipstick recipe, which is as follows: Apply Revlon Just Bitten lip stain in Gothic. Follow the stain with the balm on the other side of the wand. Then layer MAC lipstick in Russian Red on top. Blot your color with a tissue, piece of toilet paper, or random tax receipt you’ve just happened to come across, and you’ll be good to go pretty much for the whole day (unless you eat a massive hamburger or something). For some variety, swap out the red lipstick for a vibrant pink (this one is a goodie).

The options are endless, so have fun! And remember that most of the time, the key to pulling off a look is just believing you can ;). —Minna

I love high-waisted skirts, but I never wear them because I feel like they make my breasts look too big. Can a big-boobed lady pull off a high-waisted skirt, or should I just give up on them? —Iliana

Clockwise from top left: High-waisted skirt in plaid taffeta, $108, Pinup Girl Clothing; pencil skirt in leopard, $48, Pinup Girl Clothing; skirt in green plaid, $65, Modcloth; A-line skirt, $63, Modcloth.

Clockwise from top left: Gathered skirt in plaid taffeta, $108, Pinup Girl Clothing; pencil skirt in leopard, $48, Pinup Girl Clothing; suspender skirt in green plaid, $65, Modcloth; A-line skirt, $63, Modcloth.

High waists accentuate big boobs and short torsos, and I know it can be hard to get used to seeing your proportions exaggerated like that, but I assure you that what you think looks too dramatic probably looks amazing in actuality—after all, I’m one of those big-boobed, tiny-torsoed ladies, but that never stopped me from wearing my waistlines high and proud. I love the vintage look of a high waist, so I simply say fuck it and let my natural assets shine! But there are a few tricks you might try to rock this cut in a subtler way:

  • Go for form-fitting tops (but nothing SKIN-TIGHT), and avoid shirts with high necklines. Though your impulse might be to completely cover up your cleavage, a V-neck or any other lower-cut neckline will draw attention to your collarbones rather than your boobs. The higher the neckline, the bigger your chest will look, paradoxically.
  • A skirt with an interesting shape or unusual details (buttons, etc.) will draw attention away from your knockers, too. This jumper is a great example of this.
  • A simple tie-neck blouse would probably work for your purposes, but stay away from mega-embellished or ruffled tops if you don’t want people to pay too much attention to your upper half.
  • A wide belt can make a high waist look a teeny bit lower.
  • Wear darker colors on the top and lighter ones on the bottom—this helps with the whole balancing-focus thing, too.

Of course, you could always choose to join my chorus of fuck it and just wear whatever your heart desires—your boobs are gonna be big no matter what you cover them with, so why not be proud of what you’ve got? —Marie