Some things are really hard — climbing Mount Everest, saying no to the last French fry, learning how to breakdance when you’re over 30 and completely inflexible (particularly in the hamstrings) — but other things, like achieving a perfect red lip, aren’t that hard at all.
Smooth, symmetrical red lips with crisp, yet not harsh, edges are easy with the right tools, a few tips and a little practice. By the end of this post, you will NOT look like a demented clown about to go on a rampage at a children’s birthday party (although this happens sometimes when I try to do lip liner on bare lips). Pretty soon you’ll be doing ’em like a seasoned pro.
So, let’s start at the very beginning, which is a very good place to start. 🙂
Um…I think I may or may not have just quoted Sound of Music, but whatever!
1. Apply lipstick to the center area of your lips
Begin by applying (directly from the bullet) the red lipstick you’d like to wear around the center area of your lips. The key here: don’t take the lipstick all the way out to the edges.
At this point, as is the case so often with makeup, if you’re doing it right, it’ll look kinda weird…
2. Now drag the lipstick out to your natural lip line
Using a lip brush loaded with the same red lipstick, fill in the edges around the area you applied from the bullet a moment ago, dragging some of the existing lipstick out while also painting all the way to the edge of your lip line. We’re doing this because the brush is more detailed than the lipstick bullet.
Try to get that lip line smooth and even, but it doesn’t have to be perfect at this point.
3. Line your lips with a lip liner in a complementary color
Now set aside the lip brush, and grab a sharpened red lip liner (sharpen it first, because we want the point to be nice and sharp) in a color that complements your lipstick.
Take that lip liner, and start drawing a line right around the edge of your lip, following your natural lip line, and we have two reasons for this. First, we’re creating a boundary for our red lipstick outside of which we won’t go, and second, we’re also using this as an opportunity to tweak the shape of our lips, if need be, to make them look perfectly symmetrical. Like, one side of my lips is thinner than the other, so I slightly overdraw that side at this step to make my lips look even and full.
Next, with the same lip brush you used earlier, although this time without any extra product on it, gently merge the line you created with your lip pencil into the lipstick to soften the appearance of the lip liner.
4. Clean up any mistakes with concealer
If you made any boo-boos, like if you accidentally drew outside your natural lip line, or if you just want to sharpen an edge a bit, correct the line by drawing along the edges slightly beyond your natural lip line using either a flat, thin concealer brush with a little bit of concealer on it, or a flesh-toned eye pencil (like I’m doing here).
After you’re done fixing, pat and smudge the concealer in (if you used any) with a Q-tip or your finger, because we don’t want to just leave that line of concealer there as it is.
5. Highlight your Cupid’s bow
Lastly, and this is kind of a bonus step, gently run a brush or finger with a cream or powder highlighter on it across the top of your Cupid’s bow. That way, when the light hits your lips, your Cupid’s bow will reflect that shimmery highlight and look even fuller.
5. The finished look
Ooh-la-la! You did it! 🙂 Perfect red lips. 💋
Lip products I’m wearing (along with the highlighter)
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,