Red my lips: The ultimate guide to wearing bold red lipstick

How to wear the classic trend for red lips

A bold red lip evokes sex appeal and mystery and luckily for all of us, they're oh-so-on-trend.

Models sported bold red lips on the Marc by Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen AW12 runway shows to name but a few, but getting red lips right is not as easy to achieve as it looks.

Whether you want a power pout for work or you want to channel a forties screen siren, here is a fail-safe guide on how to achieve a bold red lip without looking like a joker... and there is nothing funny about that.

Softly, softly

First of all, you need to start off with a good canvas so make sure your lips are smooth and soft. A cheap lip exfoliator that works a treat is to mix Vaseline and some sugar and apply to lips with a toothbrush. Once your lips are kissably soft, pat the lips down with some translucent powder which helps the lipstick stay put.

Line up

Next, line your lips with a similar colour to the lipstick - this will keep you from straying over the lip line and will also prevent the lipstick from bleeding. If you are a red lipstick virgin and you make a mistake, just dot a little concealer for a quick fix.

Read my lips

Apply lipstick with a lip brush, apply twice if a deeper colour is desired. If you are looking for complete precision, you can line the lips again, this will prevent fading. For a glamorous evening look, apply a little clear gloss to the centre of your pout.

Shady lady

Important! Always make sure you choose the right shade for your skin tone, for cool tones pick a red with blue tones and for a warm tone, pick a shade with orangey tones.


Always prep the lips before application.

Always line lips to stop bleeding.

Use straws while drinking to avoid unsightly stains on your cup or glass.

If eating, be prepared to touch your lippy up.

Always check teeth for lipstick - smudged red teeth will kill the sex siren look making you look more femme fail than femme fatale. Make sure your compact is always tucked in your clutch!


Don't apply lip liner or lipstick straight after prepping your lips, let them settle first.

Don't over exaggerate your own lips, keep as natural as possible.

Don't overdo the rest of your make-up, make your red lips the statement, it's eyes or lips, not both.

Don't drink red wine as this will add a purplish tone to the centre of your lips (from personal experience!), unless you want to look like a vampire, that is.

Never apply red lips casually - if you don't want to make multiple red lipstick offences.