Friday, March 2, 2012

Tutorial: Red Lip

I'm aware this might be off season (though isn't a red lip supposed to be timeless and classic?), but I was inspired by Lara Pulver as Irene Adler in Sherlock (not attaching photo for NSFW reasons), and decided it was high time we had a red lip tutorial here at Messy Wands. 

As we all know, red is the queen of all lip colors, and there's nothing like one to turn heads your way. Unfortunately, red can also be a pain-in-the-butt high maintenance diva. Here are some tricks I picked up over the years reading blogs, watching tutorials, and just applying it on myself that hopefully will lessen your headache over wearing red, or inspire you to start doing so yourself!

Dolce and Gabbana Lipstick in Iconic

1. Prep. I put on a huge dose of balm 15 minutes before I start applying my lipstick. This is because I want to make sure the balm dries down before I begin application (very important to prevent feathering). Prep work is essential because chances are you wouldn't be able to reapply lip balm throughout the day and you want to be sure your lips are well moisturized. A cracked red lip look is not an attractive one.

2. Conceal the surrounding lip area. In my book, this step is the most important of all. Concealing eliminates any redness and accentuates the shape and color of your lips. I usually drag some of the concealer onto the lips to avoid harsh lines after lipstick application. It also locks in the balm applied in Step 1.  

I used Le Metiér 'Dualistic' Lip Pencil in Rose

3. Line your lips with a lipliner. Another feathering prevention measure. I prefer using creamier formulas so the skin around my lips will not dry out. Note: Remember to line the entire lip line! Many women forget the sides of the mouth, which looks rather odd when they speak.

4. Fill in the color. I do it with my mouth barely open so I know I have my whole (exposed) lip covered. This way I also make sure the red will not stain my teeth.

And done! If you have a really steady hand you can consider going over the surrounding areas with concealer again, just to make the line super crisp. Another trick I've tried that really prolongs my lip color is to blot the first layer with a tissue, put a fine layer of powder over it, and then apply the lipstick again. That way it couldn't budge even if it tried.

With red lips, remember to always bring your lipstick and liner with you for touch ups, especially after meals. A travel mirror is essential for teeth inspections (trust me, you can't always wait till there is a washroom handy). As an aside, I heard applying a thin layer of Vaseline on your teeth will prevent accidental staining, but I cannot say if it actually works since I've never tried it. The idea of eating Vaseline is somewhat unappealing to me.

I hope this tutorial is of some help to you. Do you like wearing red? If you have other useful tips and tricks, please do share them with the rest of us!


  1. Thanks so much for the tutorial, Xiao! I've JUST started wearing red, so I'm sticking to juicy and sheer shades for the moment (which also means my application is just slack and low-tech lol). I hope that one day I'll make it this far, and I will bear all your tips in mind! xx

  2. i love a red lip, especially in the colder months. however, i have had some difficulty in matching the lip liner to the lipstick. so i have taken to using a clear lip liner. i like MUFE. and if you fill in the entire lip area with liner, that helps provide a base for the lipstick to cling to.

    but my current most beloved red is Ellis Faas 101. and it is ridiculously comfortable, non-drying, non-bleeding, and long-lasting. so i don't fill in with the lip liner, i just line. and it lasts from morning to lunch, without fading funky, or clumping in odd spots.

    i am certain that i need more of her lip colors! the cost would be totally worth it.

  3. I love red lips! My favorite is NARS velvet matte lip pencil in cruella. I find that matte red lips are much easier to wear, because you don't have to worry about the color smudging.

  4. Red lips seem to suit you so well! Thanks for the tutorial, there's heaps of tips I didn't know about before! I'm quite bad with lipstick and try to be low maintainence with it, but you can't get away with that with a red lip!

  5. Vaseline on teeth is...ew. Haha.

    I am also a fan of matte red lips, actually, though I find that the same tips don't apply - can't apply balm prior, as it ruins the "matte," and the matte lipstick that I have does not like lipliner - it turns funny. Perhaps I just need a new lip liner. I don't own a red one!

  6. You look amazing with red lips! I'm so on the red thing when my ban lifts. I PROMISE.

  7. Thanks for the tutorial! I've tried the concealer method but I find that it muddies up the original color of the lipstick for some reason. I usually apply concealer around my lips now. I also want to see if using a clear or nude lip pencil will work well with all shades of lipstick, since I don't want to keep buying multiple lip liners.

    For an intense red lip I really like referring back to Sali Hughues' beauty video on The Guardian.

    That is a gorgeous lipstick! I've wanted to try a new red and I think this is next on my list.

  8. Guh, you are stunning! This particular red is so, SOOO gorgeous!

  9. You look amazing in red lips! The translucent powder tip is a good one-I remember a Laura Mercier rep showing me that with their powder. It really makes your lipstick stay put if you do that.

  10. Good tutorial. I wear reading glasses when I apply red lipstick (Dolce & Gabbana Devil) and look into an Irving Rice magnifying mirror (10x). I do not line with a pencil; rather, I use a lip brush and line with that, then brush on the color. I blot, then carefully reapply and blot again.

  11. This is a really great tutorial and you look amazing as always. What is the other makeup you are wearing on your eyes and cheeks that you paired with the red lips?

  12. Wow, this was an incredibly helpful tutorial - particularly the bits about the concealer and powder. I can't wait to actually leave my house (I've been working from home on deadline) and try out my Edward Bess Eternal Passion this way. :)

  13. I love red lips and I'm occasionally bold enough to wear them, :-) After lining my lips I put a light layer of liner on the whole lip. This way when you eat you're not left with a red ring of liner around your lips before you touch up. I'm still waiting for a chance to try my Le M de B Red Velvet gloss!

  14. Super helpful post! I just recently bought my first red lipstick -- can't wait to try it! I had a red lip stain before, but nothing beats a lipstick. Red lips are so gorgeous; definitely my queen hehehe ;)

  15. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I have a red lipstick and lip liner in my stash that I haven't mustered up the guts to wear out, yet.

    I will refer back to this tutorial when I decide to break them out :)

    PS. Red lips look absolutely gorgeous on you!

  16. The lipstick is stunning and love the way you organized the post and tutorial. I did something similar on my blog, where I am trying to recreate a look Lisa Eldridge just did. :))

  17. Wow! You look spectacular with red lips! =D

  18. Very handy tips! I'm still easing into wearing a red lip myself, but will definitely be keeping your tutorial in mind when I get the guts together to wear a red like this :>

  19. Hi girls! Sorry for the late replies, I'm currently in London and free time + internet comes by quite rarely :(

    Sunny- Oh you must! You'll look great in red

    Erin- EF is good :)

    Emi- Oooh! I agree with the matte comment, but my lips can't handle matte things :(

    Michelle- Thank you! I'm glad you got something out of it.

    Larie- Glad you agree! Yeah I think this tutorial only works for regular reds (and maybe gloss) but I can't deal with mattes, especially without balm :(

    Liz- get on it! :D

    Audrey- Thanks for the link!

    dani- it's a yummy lipstick ;)

    Tracy- yes it does!

    Nemo- that works too :) thanks for sharing!

    Anonymous- You know, I don't even remember anymore. My eyes are Sunday Riley Indigo Waves, and if I have to hazard a guess, my cheeks should be Sunday Riley Intimate.

    BlushingNoir- aye.

    Elizabeth- yay! Glad it helped.

    Z- That's a good one too! Thanks for sharing :D

    Maggie- Congratulations on your first red lipstick! Let me know how it goes (fabulous, no doubt!)

    ff- Thank you! And YES you have to bust them out!

    Purpleanel- Thank you :)

    Bun Bun- Thanks!

    Angela- Thank you :) You'll look wonderful with red, I'm sure!


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