How to Rock a Red Lip, Like a Boss.

Keep calm, and red lipstick on...
Keep calm, and red lipstick on…

While I do have an extensive collection of makeup, including lip wear, I have a really bad habit of leaving my lips out of the makeup party — I’m never really sure what color to wear, and then there’s that whole mess of it on my coffee mug in the mornings, and my wine glass in the evenings.

But I realize having a colorful lip will accent my whole look, so in an effort to utilize the collection of lipsticks, stains, and glosses that I’ve already got, here’s a little how-to (for me and you).


Lauren Conrad's guide to red lip color
Lauren Conrad’s guide to red lip color

Wearing red lipstick is nothing new — in fact, it’s classic. But it’s becoming insanely popular again, giving me the confidence to actually use the few shades of red in my collection. But different shades look good on different people, so here’s the crash course on colors.

— Fair skin: Go with coral-based reds (check out Color Me Coral by Mary Kay, Coral Flash by Mirabella).

— Medium skin: Use true reds, and/or pink-cranberry shades (try Really Red by Mary Kay, Red by MAC, La Vie En Rose by Paul & Joe, Continuous Cranberry by Mabellline)

— Dark skin: Stick with deep, rich colors such as brick and burgundy (check out Wild Thing by IMAN, Red Velvet by Revlon, Black Rose by Manic Panic)

If you’re daring, or just not sure, try a red lip palette to see which shade looks best with your skin (or just mix and match). Try the MAC Pro Lip Palette, Sleek Makeup Lip 4 Palette (in Tease or Siren), or Mineral Shine Lip Palette by Everface.


Matte, meaning “not shiny,” are most of what you see on celebrities lately — while glossy lips are said to be stuck in the 80s. But you know what? I love a glossy lip!

If you want a matte look, it’s best to choose a lipstick that actually has “Matte” in the name, just to be certain. You can also try out a new lip texture called “Velvet” — it will say Velvet finish — which gives the matte appearance, but goes on like a gloss. Velvet lipstick is said to dry weightless and have long-lasting wear.

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, get a matte red lipstick and a red gloss — wear both when you’re feeling saucy, or just go for the matte when you’re on trend.

A red gloss alone probably won’t give you that standout BAM! thing you’re going for. Here are some great red glosses to check out, to wear over your lipstick, or even over your stain or crayon.

A lip stain gives the appearance of just-bitten lips — very sexy. It comes in a liquid form, sometimes in a tube or a felt-tip marker. Some stains can be used on the lips and cheeks. The stain is going to provide a naturally matte look, unless of course you apply a gloss over it.

Lip crayons are said to have all the great things about lip color rolled right into one, housing color, sheen, and moisturizing properties, all while remaining easy to apply (something I can’t really say about lipstick).

…I kind of thinking I’m SOLD on the stain or the crayon — never tried either!


All the essentials...
All the essentials…

Now that you’ve picked the perfect red to go with your skin (and style), and you’ve got a texture to be excited over, let’s get this lip rockin’!

Start by prepping the lips. Use a lip scrub (try Fabulips by Bliss or make your own with a little honey and sugar) or simply use your toothbrush to rid your lips of any rough patches — we want a smooth application here. 

Next, apply a good lip balm (not a gloss), even Chapstick is okay here, and let it soak in for a minute. 

This is when you would apply liner, but that’s totally unnecessary. If you’re worried about the lipstick bleeding away from your lip use concealer around your mouth to ensure everything stays in place. 

Next, apply the red. If you’re using a lipstick or a crayon, fill in the lips first with short strokes. Using a stain? Apply that now. Blot with a tissue. 

Then, apply a second coat of color. 

Next, if you want to top with a gloss, do so, or top with a balm if you used a stain. 

Finally, place your index finger in your mouth, purse your lips around it and pull your finger out to prevent any chance of color on your teeth. 

Other good things to keep in mind when wearing red lips? While it’s not a must, it is a good idea to dial down other makeup. You can still have eyeshadow and all the normal stuff, just don’t go for the black smokey eye along with the red lip — unless you’re performing on stage. No, seriously.

As far as clothing goes, you CAN go matchy-matchy, or total opposite (sexy black dress, sexy red lip), and it’s definitely okay to rock your red lips at the office, or when meeting the gals for lunch.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely feeling confident about my red lip look and I’m ready to show it off. Now, where is that little black book?


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