In our twenties it was so easy to smear on a red lipstick even without a mirror, and it would appear flawless. Do you remember applying it while driving, fighting for mirror space in a barely lit nightclub bathroom or effortlessly reapplying at the table after devouring a pizza and slurping on a soda? No fuss, no effort just big, beautiful, perfect red lips every time. Well, times have changed and unfortunately so have our lips. Even though our youth is in the rear view mirror, with a little finesse those perfect red lips are on the horizon.
The iconic red lip is hands down the most universally flattering look. Every woman instantly looks dressed up, sexy, and self-assured. Even if you barely have any other makeup on or just wearing jeans and a t-shirt. These tips will help you apply with confidence.
Pretreating Your Lips
Prepping your lips properly for a perfect red lip is more important for a grown-up (my term for an older person, LOL) than the actual red lipstick as a red lip can be unforgiving. Treating your lips before any color will help to achieve nourished, smooth and full lips.
Due to a decrease in cell turnover, our skin, nails, hair and lips become more dry. Similar to your face and body, your lips should be exfoliated on a regular basis. Sloughing off dead skin (dry, flaky lips) will enable any treatment product for the lip to work more effectively. Use a gentle product formulated specifically for the lips.
After exfoliating, condition the lip with a product that is going to replenish lost nutrients, hydrate and moisturize the lips from the inside out.
After our teenage years, we produce less collagen and hyaluronic acid and our lips become thin, turn inwards toward our teeth and start to lose their plumpness. Use a product that promotes an increase of lip volume with the replenishment of hyaluronic acid molecules. This is not an instantaneous increase in lip plumpness, but it will happen over time and will only get better and better with continued use.
A primer is essential in softening the appearance of lines and resists feathering as it extends the wear of your lip color or gloss.
If your lips are severely dry and flaky, then start the process of exfoliating and conditioning 7-10 days in advance. Use both steps before bedtime to ensure a lip canvas that is nourished and smooth. Otherwise, apply the four steps above right before applying lip color.
Have the Right Tools Available
Applying the perfect red lip is difficult (and almost impossible) without the proper makeup tools.
1. Pencil Sharpener
NARS Cosmetics is the best sharpener. Period. I will never use another for my lip and eye liners. The blade produces a fine tip without shaving away wasted product.
2. Concealer Brush
Most makeup artists use a concealer brush to apply concealer for a smoother application.
3. Lip Brush
A lip brush produces a more precise line and smoother coverage. I personally like this Dior Retractable Lip Brush for its unique shape. The retractable brush is necessary for easy touch-ups and I can throw it into my handbag.
4. Cotton Swabs and Facial Tissue
Indispensable for cleaning up mistakes like an expert and for blotting lipstick.
Using the Correct Products
Using the right products is equally as important as using the proper tools.
Lightly apply concealer over the entire lip with a concealer brush in light, feathery brush strokes. This will help your liner and lipstick to wear longer and make your color look brighter.
2. Lip Liner
A pencil liner helps to reshape, resize and balance your lips. Lip liners are almost pure pigment so they have more staying power than lipsticks which have more emollient properties. Always match your lip liner to your lipstick shade to perfect your lip shape and make your lipstick stay in place for hours of lip abuse. Make sure the pencil is sharp. Line the lip first starting at the corners of the lip and moving upward to the cupid’s bow. Define the bow. Next, line the bottom lip. Fill in the upper and bottom lip with the lip pencil.
For the perfect red lip, I prefer Chanel red lipsticks. In my opinion they have the truest reds. I like 66, 67 or 68 color shades as they are not too pink or too orange. Unlike the eyes where a shimmer shadow can emphasize imperfection, the opposite is true for the lip. For a grown up lip, select a lipstick with more sheen and shine which makes the lip appear more smooth.
Lightly take up a small amount of the red lipstick and use the tip of the lip brush to define the contour. Then fill in the lips using the flat of the brush. Blot with a tissue and repeat.
4. Lip Gloss
To make lips appear more voluminous, use the brush to apply a touch of red lip gloss in the center of the lower lip. I prefer a plumping gloss for added volume.
The last step is taking your index finger and slide it through your closed lips. This will remove any lip color that migrated to the inside of your lips so that it does not transfer to your teeth.
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