We’re forever fans of chic nude lipstick, but any shade meant to blend in with our skin tone isn’t the first thing we reach for when we want to make a bold beauty statement. On the other hand, if we’ve only got one minute flat to dress up an outfit, nothing beats a swipe of red lipstick—a makeup look that’s always in style. Here’s how to pop on the best colour to go from work to cinq-à-sept and beyond.
Find your dream shade
The trickiest thing about red lipstick? There are so many variations—from bright cherry to deep, vampy oxblood—to choose from. According to classic colour theory, the rule of thumb is that a blue-based red lipstick, like L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lipstick in I Am Worth It, will suit skin that has pink or cool undertones. Meanwhile, an orangey-red lipstick, like L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lipstick in I Don’t, will flatter skin that has warm undertones. But remember: Makeup rules are also meant to be broken, so don’t be afraid to play with your palette of options—and wear whatever you love.
Choose your fave texture
Whether you wear high gloss, semi-shine or pure matte is entirely up to you. You can find red lipstick in any finish, and textures are getting ever more innovative, too. In the past, for instance, the most pigmented, super-matte formulas often had a downside: Your lips would feel as dry as the desert by day’s end.
But thanks to genius beauty scientists, you can now find weightless lip “inks” that won’t leave you parched, such as L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lipstick. The oil-in-water formula has a unique “no-makeup” feel—two times as thin as traditional lipstick—even though it’s intensely pigmented, and a soft-matte finish.
Apply your perfect red lipstick
If your lips are dry and flaky, wearing red lipstick is like shining a spotlight on those rough patches. So, keep yourself in kissably soft condition with a nourishing lip balm, and before you swipe on your favourite red, gently exfoliate to create a smooth canvas.
To apply your red with a precise edge, you can always use a lip liner that matches your red lipstick, but today, even that step is optional. That’s because some of the coolest new lipsticks are designed to make meticulous-looking application practically foolproof, so one lip product is all you need in your makeup bag.
For instance, L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lipstick has a tapered tip, which means you can use it to line your lips for a crisp edge. Outline your Cupid’s bow with the pointy applicator tip, and then fill in the rest of your lips, starting from the middle and moving to the corners. Et voilà! You’ve got your perfect red.