Earlier this week in the comments on the MAC Unsung Heroes Red Lipstick post I got to chatting with reader Dana Jae about a question a lot of us wrestle with — “What can I do to get over my fear of red lips?”
We may love the way red lips look on other gals, but for one reason or another, we just don’t feel they work as well for us.
“I have such a hard time with red lipsick. I have Ruby Woo, and it looks like my lips take over my whole face (and my lips aren’t that big). It just doesn’t blend well, sticks out too much.”
– Dana Jae
I feel like the holidays are a perfect time to rock dramatic, rich red lips, but I know they’re not for everyone. Red can be daunting, especially if a particular shade of red contrasts heavily with your skin color, or even if you’re just unaccustomed to seeing yourself in something bold and/or bright.
But here’s one of my favorite things about red lips: you can dress ‘em up or down, and you don’t have to wear a red that’s fully opaque.
If you don’t feel quite red-y (haha!) for full-on red BAM! — here are a few less intense ways to wear one of the hottest colors around.
1. Using a lipstick as a light stain
Wearing a red lipstick as a stain is probably the quickest, easiest way I know of to dial down the intensity of a red lipstick while retaining much of its rich color. If you already own a red lippie that you like but don’t wear very often because of its rich red might! — this little trick might help you two get along even better.
To create a stain, lightly dab your lipstick directly from the tube to your lips, aiming for a very light wash of color. Then, pat and blend it out with a finger.
MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger ($14.50) worn as a lip stain
I usually don’t wear a lip liner when I do this because I find that the blending doesn’t leave me with a crisp line around the edges of my lips, but it’s still an option. Unless you’re trying to maintain the contrast between the liner and the lipstick, blend it out with a finger or brush until it looks nice and seamless.
2. Reach for a lightly tinted lip balm instead
Red lip balms are another fun way to rock red. Because they’re often sheer and very lightly tinted, they tend to look softer and less intense than a lipstick or gloss.
Benefit Benetint Lip Balm SPF 15 ($20) is a favorite of mine. I reach for it a lot of the time when I’m in the mood for a tinted red balm with a super shiny finish. It’s also moisturizing, which is great, and has a glossy finish with a light rose flavor and scent.
Benefit Benetint Lip Balm SPF 15
And when I’m in the mood for a shine that’s even more subdued, I grab Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia ($7).
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia
I flat-out LOVE this hydrating balm. It comes in a tube, which I prefer to jars, and because it’s not sticky, I don’t have to worry about it catching my hair when it’s windy outside.
3. If you’re looking for a little more bling, try a sheer red gloss with sparkles
So maybe you’re a gal who craves shimmer (you and me both!). A sheer red gloss with glitter, like MAC Dazzleglass in Love Alert ($18.50), will do you right.
MAC Dazzleglass in Love Alert
Raspberry red Love Alert has been a favorite of mine this season. Because of how sheer it is, I feel like I can wear it by itself without having to fuss with a lip liner, and the glitter gives it an extra festive touch.
Now who’s ready to rock some red lips with me? On three, let’s go…
One, two, three!
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,