Perfect Your Pout, Here’s How To Master A Picture-Perfect Red Lip (Minus The Panic)

Celebrity makeup artist Rae Morris shares her top tips with marie claire Australia.

If you have shied away from red lipstick, deeming it “too hard”, you might want to reconsider.

Speaking with marie claire Australia, celebrity makeup artist Rae Morris explains that a red lip is actually the ideal fall back when you want to look polished in next to no time.

“People always ask, ‘What’s the quickest makeup look?’ And I always tell them a red lip,” says Morris, who famously started her career working on supermodel Naomi Campbell’s lips.

Morris adds that a matte red lip is also surprisingly low maintenance, saying, “It won’t rub off like other lipstick.”  More good news: it works best when everything else is pared right back.

“Simply team a matte red lip with great skin, mascara, comb your brows and off you go,” she says. “Just keep everything simple and really polished.”

How To Find The Perfect Shade Of Red Lipstick

“A true Pantone red will suit everyone,” says Morris, who reveals that MAC’s Ruby Woo red is her go-to.

“It’s a primary red, which is both cool and warm and suits absolutely everybody,” she says. Seek out reds that have “a slight blue or slight mahogany tone. This suits everyone because our natural lip tone is mahogany, which is both cool and warm.”

Retro Matte Lipstick in ‘Ruby Woo’ by MAC Cosmetics

Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo
(Credit: Edward Urruita)

Retro Matte Lipstick in ‘Ruby Woo’ by MAC Cosmetics, $30, at MECCA.

Make Sure Your Lips Are Hydrated

“You want the lips pre-hydrated” – particularly if you’re wearing a matte formulation, says Morris, who has attended to the famous faces of Miranda Kerr and Cate Blanchett. “However, that doesn’t mean layers of balm, because a matte colour needs to grip to a lip,” she says.

Morris recommends nourishing lips from within. “If you have to use lip balms [all the time] it means you’re not hydrated enough. You have to drink a lot more water.”

But if you do want an instant hydration hit, Morris suggests using “a really thick lip balm and let it sit there while you’re getting ready. Then remove it just before you put on a lip.”

Only Wear A Red Lip When It Won’t Bother You

“I wouldn’t wear a red lip outside on a windy day, as it would annoy you too much,” says Morris, explaining that wind and really hot weather will dry out your lips too much with a mattifying product.

“A matte lip is more for an inside, night function,” she explains. But if you want to go matte for day and find your lips are drying out, Morris suggests rehydrating them with a matte lip balm. “Look for a balm made for men – they’re usually a matte formula.”

How To Apply Red Lipstick Easily And With Clean Lines

“One of the easiest applications is with the chubby sticks,” says Morris. “You can draw them on and it cuts out the worry of needing to match your lip liner and lipstick.” And to get that picture-perfect line, Morris prefers to correct afterwards than try to make it flawless the first time around.

“I find it easier to get a clean angled brush or fine-tip cotton bud with your foundation [and run it] around the edge. It works like an eraser and gives you a sharp line that’s still soft.”

Velvet Matte Lipstick in ‘Flame Red’ by Guerlain

GUERLAIN Rouge G Luxurious Velvet Matte Lipstick in Flame Red
(Credit: Edward Urrutia)

Guerlain Velvet Matte Lipstick in ‘Flame Red’, $53, at Sephora.

Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in ‘Dragon Girl’ by NARS

Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl
(Credit: Kristina Yeniko)

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in ‘Dragon Girl’, $40, at MECCA.

Layer Your Lips For Extra Coverage

According to Morris, you don’t need two coats of lipstick. But if you want the extra coverage “do the second layer on the inside of the lip—not the outside. The inside is the one that you touch, kiss and drink out of, and the outside is the bit that bleeds. So you want more on the inside, less on the outside.”

And to keep your colour strong all night long, “try to drink through a straw if you can”.

Matte Lipstick in ‘Poppy’ by Olivia Palermo

PALERMO BEAUTY Matte Lipstick in Poppy
(Credit: Edward Urrutia)

Olivia Palermo Matte Lipstick in ‘Poppy’, $67.34, at Net-A-Porter.

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