You Can Do: Red Lips
Perfect Red Lips
Like the perfect leopard-print stiletto, an amazing red lipstick can transform even the most basic black dress into something startlingly chic. Case in point: Despite some stiff competition from her ambitious right leg, Angelina Jolie's red lips won us over at the Oscars, and Rooney Mara's matte lipstick gives the classic look a modern edge.
The Basic Tips:
- Ditch the chapped lips! For a pitch-perfect crimson like Rihanna's, exfoliate lips with a wet washcloth, followed by a dab of lip balm.
- Fill in with a liner that matches the natural color of your lips -- not the lipstick.
- Apply color with a tiny brush, starting at the center of your mouth and blending outward.
The Basic Products:
- Available in four versatile shades, The Nude Liner by Smashbox ($17 each;sephora.com) is easy to blend, and lasts for hours.
- A blue-based crimson like MAC's Red ($15;maccosmetics.com) brightens up your smile, and neutralizes any discoloration on your teeth with its cool undertones.
- MAC's 318 Retractable Lip Brush ($23;maccosmetics.com) creates a seamless finish, and thanks to its compact size, is perfect for touch-ups on the go.
Problem: I can't find a shade for my fair skin.
Your complexion is prone to redness, so the first step should be evening out skin with a little foundation; otherwise, red can highlight ruddiness. When choosing a lipstick shade, look for sheer, blue-based reds. We loveRevlon's Color Burst lipstick in True Red($9; at drugstores). Though bold, these cool hues don't look overly harsh against pale skin tones like Gwen Stefani's.
Problem: I can't find a shade for my olive skin.
If you have medium skin like Minka Kelly, you can pull off almost any red -- even a super-bold hue like NARS's Heat Wave($24; narscosmetics.com) -- thanks to your complexion's warm undertones. To keep the overall look clean, avoid wearing bronzer, which can seem muddy when paired with intense lips. A touch of concealer and a quick swipe of mascara or black liner are all you need.
Problem: I can't find a shade for my dark skin.
This complexion can be warm or cool. If yours has golden tones, choose reds with a brown base: brick or rusty red. Is your skin more blue-based like Jennifer Hudson's? Seek out deep rubies with a hint of pink, like Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Fascinante ($33;chanel.com), or a burgundy. Go easy on eyes -- let lips be the focus.
Problem: I'm scared it will look too harsh.
If a full-on red is too much commitment for you, try out a lip stain instead like YSL's Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in Orange de Chine ($32; yslbeautyus.com). Just dab a bit of it on the inside center of your lips, then smack them together. The effect is subtle, rosy, and youthful -- like you've just finished a cherry Popsicle.
Problem: I don't know what kind of eye shadow to pair it with.
Although a statement lip works best with minimal eye makeup, that doesn't mean you have to swear off shadows altogether. Unless you want to channel an '80s revival, steer clear of bright shades, and stick to sheer neutrals like Solange Knowles. Even a more glamorous look with full lashes like Taylor Swift's doesn't look overdone if you use soft metallics and earthy hues.