The perfect red lip conjures different memories for everyone. For me, it is my first memory of beauty, having seen it as a child in old school Revlon print ads and Marilyn Monroe movies. But beauty’s most classic and gorgeous trend can also be the most intimidating to achieve, but as I learned upon my interview with Troy Surratt, who is a celebrity makeup artist for such stunners as Ashlee Simpson, Jennifer Lopez and Paris Hilton, it doesn’t have to be.
There are a few simple steps that you can take to avoid red lipstick mistakes – such as the dreaded lipstick on teeth (my personal pet peeve) or bleeding of color outside the lip line – and make sure you look as fabulous as Gwen Stefani does (pictured left).
For ensuring the durability and lasting of your perfect red lip, Troy has a few Lipstick 101 tips:
1. Make sure to use a lip pencil matching the natural color of your lips, and use this color to fill in your entire lip. This will provide a base for your lip color, while adding balance and symmetry to your look. Troy’s favorites include Kevyn Aucoin’s The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil, which I’ve tried at Sephora and can vouch for its beautiful and creamy color, as well as the Serge Lutens Lip Pencil.
2. Depending on how comfortable you feel with red lipstick, you can either apply it using a lip brush for a more precise look or straight from the tube. For a less committal look for an amateur (like me), you can also dab it on with your finger for less dense color.
Insider Secret: To give the lipstick more lasting power, after performing steps 1 and 2 noted above, Troy recommends using a sheet of oil blotting paper and press it against the lips to remove all oil. He then applies another layer of color, which adds a whole other layers of indestructibility to the color.
For those of you intimidated by the thought of such a bold lip color, Troy also had a few tips for making sure that you choose right color to suit your coloring:
Fair to Medium skintones: Try a true Blue Red shade, classic Red, which also acts beautifully as a teeth brightener. Troy’s favorites include Dior Celebrity Red.
Medium to Darker skintones: Try a warmer Red, with deeper russet/brown. Troy’s favorite is Kevyn Aucoin’s Bloodroses.
Lastly, if you want to wear red lipstick for day as well as night, make sure that you differentiate your look. For a Daytime look, Troy recommends that you keep the focus on the lips and downplay the rest of your makeup by using only a soft mascara, and a strong groomed brow to appear as effortless as Kirsten Dunst seen here. Nighttime can be revved up with a glamorous smoky eye, with a beautifully highlighted cheek and a shimmering champagne shade on the lids.
Ultimately, the best tip for wearing red lipstick is to wear it with confidence, as it is a beautiful look that can look great on everyone and is the beauty equivalent of the little black dress. Be sure to check it out these easy tips from Troy to find your own beauty LBD.