A Quick Makeup Tip: For Fiery Red Lips, Set Boundaries

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

Makeup Tips for Red Lips

Red lips, like fire, are hard to contain. They’re also hard to resist. Every gal I’ve ever known has wanted to wear red lips at one time or another. Even my staunchly anti-makeup BFF Cindy, who will get in her car and drive 50 miles away from me if I approach her with a lip brush, craves crimson sometimes.


MAC Red Red Red Lipsticks

One trick to controlling the fiery power that is red is containing it within a boundary, like by lining the edges of your lips with lip liner. For a defined, distinct boundary around your red, use a liner shade slightly darker than the red lipstick you plan to apply, then fill your lips with the same liner, except for the middle of your top and bottom lips (to create subtle variations between the color in that middle area and the other parts of your lips for extra dimension).

Now, soften any harsh edges with a lip brush, while keeping that open area in the middle of your lips clear for the next step: your lipstick.

Layer the lipstick you’ve chosen all over your lips now, and blend it seamlessly into your lip liner.

Whoop! Contained, defined, fiery red lips. Ooh-la-la.

If you can, marry a man who…

…says sweet things about you while he’s heavily sedated.

I realized this when I was at the hospital on Monday with El Hub, who went in for an endoscopy, which is a test where they look inside your tummy with a tiny camera.

Shortly after the procedure, which doesn’t take long, the nurse let me into the recovery room.

When I walked in, El Hub was still loopy from the sedatives they gave him but awake enough to make loopy conversation. He smiled at me with half-lidded eyes and slurred, “There she is — the most beautiful girl in the world.”


Then he turned to the nurses and said, “See this girl? She’s my wife. I married the most beautiful girl in the world.” πŸ™‚

Of course he can’t remember any of this now, LOL! I asked him about it this morning, and he just shook his head.

But I’ll always remember it, and I will keep it close to my heart.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 30 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Erin says:

    I really need a clear lip liner for my reds!
    Erin recently posted … When Bad Wine Happens To Good People

  2. Ann says:

    Oh those red lips, hard to resiste yet hard to achieve. Hope your hubby’s feeling better and by the way, he sounds like a keeper! You did god gurl!

  3. Agata says:

    So I got a red lipstick today and a red lipgloss!

    Your hubby is so sweet πŸ™‚ Hope they didn’t find anything seriously wrong with his tummy!
    Agata recently posted … Holiday Gift Guide

  4. Shannon says:

    Related question: what do you do with something like the YSL Rouge Pur Couture glossy stain? I have one of those in the yummiest tomato red, but it ends up bleeding past my lipline after about 4 hours of wear. I don’t feel like a liner would play very well with that glossy formula, but then again, I haven’t tried it….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shannon,

      You have a few options. Try —

      1) A clear lip liner + a skin-toned pencil. Line the edge of your lips with the clear lip liner, apply your YSL glossy stain, then trace the edge of the lips (just outside of your lip line) with the skin-toned pencil, then blend out that edge so that it’s not obvious. I like the MAC Chromographic pencils for this.
      2) A lip liner just slightly darker than your glossy stain. The trick to this would be to feather the crap outta it so that it doesn’t look obvious under neath the stain.
      3) A lip liner just slightly darker than your glossy stain + skin-toned pencil.

      I hope this makes sense. Lemme know if you have any other q’s!

  5. tirurit says:

    Well at least he said nice things. I know some shameful stories of people who woke up from anesthesia and were rude or behaved like kids!
    tirurit recently posted … New: Schwarzkopf Osis+ Refresh dust

  6. Alison M says:

    That El Hubs…what a sweetheart! I hope the doctors get the results to you both quickly so you can move on and rest easy.

    I’ve been a big fan of Urban Decay Ozone lip pencil lately for all colors. I love red lips and without lip liner they wear off quickly on me (more so than other colors) so I’m always on the hunt for a great liner! NARS Nihiwatu is my fave right now and I love the NYX Retractable formula. Do you have any others to recommend?
    Alison M recently posted … Too Faced Cat Eyes Palette: Review, Swatches, and Look

  7. Fancie says:

    Your husband seems so sweet! I hope you guys enjoy many more years of marriage ;). Really great tip too! I actually do this with a lot of my more intense lipsticks. I hate when bold colors bleed. Makes you look like you’ve had a messy meal or something lol
    Fancie recently posted … MAC Studio Conceal & Correct + Prep + Prime for January 2015

  8. Nicole says:

    Awww! El Hubs is awesome. He’s raised the bar for men everywhere. πŸ™‚

  9. Rachel R. says:

    Great tips. I adore red lips of all shades.

    What a sweet story about your hubby.

  10. Rachel says:

    Lol, your husband sounds adorable! Since turning 30 (almost 2 years ago now) I ALWAYS wear lipliner, especially with bold colors like red. It has changed my life!

  11. Maritess Lee says:

    El Hub is so sweet!!!

  12. Efrain says:

    I told you everything was going to be OK, now just wait the results to be calmer.

    El Hub seems to be amazing: he understands (or at least try to) your love for makeup and cats, stayed with you while watching Gilmore Girls and now this; girl you won the lotto.

  13. Lancy says:

    The shades look gorgeous..!! Hope your husband is doing fine now! Take care and have a great day!
    Lancy recently posted … Omved Gotu Kola Gold Leaf Night Cream : Review, Photos and My Experience

  14. That was such a sweet thing to say, he really is a keeper!

    I will buy a clear lipliner soon, to give that a go. Some of my reds aren’t waxy enough to keep the lipstick from bleeding.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II

  15. gio says:

    Aww your husband is so sweet! I hope he is ok. πŸ™‚
    gio recently posted … Product Review: Skin Actives Antioxidant Serum With ROS* Terminator

  16. Aw, your hubby’s a keeper πŸ™‚ I hope he feels better soon. You always know how to rock a red lip, Karen. And your application is always perfect.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Couleur Caramel Pearly Eye Shadow, Blush Powder & Lipstick

  17. Abby says:

    This made me smile. What a sweet memory to cherish, despite it being a stressful time, too. Hope he’s doing OK!

  18. Ruchita says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve never done a red lip before, but it would be a great look for the holidays. Aww, that is so sweet what El Hub said to you. Hope he’s doing okay. Sending positive vibes your way. πŸ™‚

  19. Fran says:

    Karen, that story about your husband under sedation is one of the cutest I’ve heard! I know that would make me feel very happy πŸ™‚

    When my son was a toddler, he was sedated for the same procedure, and was staggering around saying, “I’m a cutie pie!” (guess where he got that from, lol).

    I have a hard time getting perfect edges on my red lips, so, for a casual red lip, I turn makeup contrarian and blur the edges (especially on my lower lip, where my own lip line has become indistict) instead. I take one of those pointy cosmetic cotton buds (regular cotton buds have too much lint) and lightly run the edge of the flat end along my lip line. The effect is pretty cool, and it’s a great alternative for when you’re in a rush.

  20. Fran says:

    Oh, also, when I’m going to wear any really bright or dark lip, I line around my lips with concealer (it Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye) before I put on my CC Cream. I think that helps to keep the edges distinct and prevent feathering/bleeding, too.

  21. Tatiana says:

    El Hub sounds like a keeper. So sweet.
    Thanks for the red lip tip. I love a red lippie, I’ve just been having a hard time keeping it within the lip line throughout the day. The upper lip does fine, but somehow the color on my bottom lip just seems to grow outside the line.

  22. Jordan says:

    Aww, so sweet!

    And red is such a great color on you.

  23. veronica r says:

    Oh what a sweeet heart! Definitely a keeper.

  24. Stephanie says:

    That’s so sweet! A few years ago my husband had to have knee surgery for a torn meniscus. It was the first time he had ever had surgery and been knocked out, so he was very nervous. One of the nurses brought me back to sit with him while he woke up. As I was walking back I could hear him singing songs from the Sound of Music. The nurses told me he had been asking for me, as soon as he opened his eyes he was asking for me. He kept asking the nurses if they were me and if they knew where I was and when I’d be able to come back and see him. He didn’t use my name though, he was using the nickname he gave me, which they thought was very cute. He was very happy to see me and he told all the nurses who I was and how lucky he was. The nurses loved him, they said he was a very happy patient.

  25. Martha Nelson says:

    I hope El hub’s health is ok Karen, wishing you both the best.

  26. I used to be scared of red lips but now I am in love with red…it is also my go to lip color this season.. !!

    Ohh myy that’s so cute of him to say that.. Hope he is doing better now.. πŸ™‚

    I am yet to experience any such incident but I am sure will love him even more after that πŸ˜‰
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … Colorbar Just Smoky Kajal – Just Green Review, Swatch, EOTD

  27. Kim says:

    Oh, Karen. I literally just started crying at my desk. Darn you, El Hub! Some of us have coworkers, you know! Now I’m all puffy and have to pretend to be looking at something very interesting outside my window. πŸ™‚ And by “darn you”, I mean “nicest thing ever”. πŸ™‚

  28. tabassum says:

    I’ve recently discovered your blog, along with some other things like makeup, beauty and the possibility of me wearing makeup and getting away with it..anyways, I’ve been visiting your blog regularly for the last tabassumcouple of months, and this is by far my favorite post..may your marriage be blessed and may you guys stay together forever

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