Pucker Up: 5 Ways To Wear a Red Lip


I understand why Valentine’s Day can be a nuisance. It overcrowds our favorite restaurants and leaves us with extra to-do’s on our list: make kids’ valentines. Buy card. Make reservation. Book sitter. Eat entire heart-shaped box of chocolates on way back from Publix. (Wait. Just me?) But I love it anyway. A whole day that celebrates love? I’m here for it. 

It’s also a perfect opportunity for us to shake off our daily uniforms (yoga pants and messy bun, anyone?) and slip into a little red lipstick.

Slay the day with a bold matte look or dip your toes into the pool with a more subtle, rose-tinted pout.

Here are five ways to conquer a red lip.

from left: Clinique Chubby Stick, Maybelline Baby Lips and Korres Lip Butter (photos via vendors)

A tinted lip balm offers hydration and subtle color. It wears off easily, and it’s easy to reapply. 

Try: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Passion or Ruby, $24 at Sephora or Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me, $5 at drugstores or Korres Lip Butter in Wild Rose, $12 at Sephora or Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Chunky Cherry, $17.50 at Ulta.

from top: Rimmel London Oh My Gloss Oil Tint and NYX Butter Gloss (photos courtesy of vendors)

A sheer gloss offers more color than a tinted balm, but isn’t intimidating for a red lip novice. 

Try: NYX Butter Gloss in Cherry Pie or Red Velvet, $5 at Target, Walgreen’s, and CVS or Rimmel London Oh My Gloss Oil Tint in Pop Poppy, $5.99 at Walgreens, CVS and Walmart. 

from left: Laura Mercier Lip Glacé and MAC Lipglass (photos via vendors)

Prefer your red lip with a lacquered finish? Pick a bold gloss that shines like the Chrysler Building. 

Try: Laura Mercier Lip Glacé in Poppy, $26 at Sephora or MAC Lipglass in Ruby Woo, $17 at Belk.  

Wearing bright lipstick in a flip-flops town has a way of making you feel garish. My favorite way to wear color without the full commitment is to swipe on my favorite lipstick and blot a couple times for a DIY stain. You can finish with lip balm or leave it as is.  

Try: The lipsticks below!

from left: NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment, Bite Beauty Multistick, e.l.f. Matte Lip Color, Revlon HD Gel Lip Color, MAC Russian Red, Sephora Liquid Lipstick (photos courtesy of vendors)


Anyone can rock a red lip. It just requires the right attitude. This one, to be exact.

To wade through the endless array of red lipsticks on shelves, play with them. (Sephora has an amazing return policy, should you take a color home and find it’s not working for you.) Don’t hesitate to ask for help at makeup stores or beauty counters.

To get you started, here are a handful of options curated from the favorites of beauty editors and my own personal stash.

For hydration, try: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Red, $5.99 at Target or Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lip Color in Adobe, $8.99 at Ulta. 

For a lightweight feel, try: Bite Beauty Multistick in Mochi, $24 at Sephora.

For cult classic reds, try: MAC in Russian Red and Ruby Woo, $17.50 at Belk.

For a matte finish, try: Bite Beauty Creme Lip Crayon in Red Velvet, $24 at Sephora or STILA Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso, $22 at Ulta or NARS Starwoman Powermatte Lip Pigment, $26 at Sephora or e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in Rowdy Rouge, $2.99 at Target.

For creamy finish, try: Bite Beauty Sour Cherry Amuse Bouche lipstick in Sour Cherry, $26 at Sephora. 

For longwearing liquid, try: Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in Always Red, $14 at Sephora or NARS Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte, $34 at Sephora.

Tip: To keep bold color in place, prime lips by moisturizing with a balm to fill in creases. Use a lipliner to create a defined shape and prevent bleeding. (Great tutorial here!) Consider using a lip brush like the pros for more precise application. Apply, blot, and reapply. If things get a little messy, don’t panic. The blurred lip trend is still in. Wear that red lipstick with confidence. 

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After years of holding various editorial posts, including the shopping and beauty editor, at a magazine in Dallas, Raya found herself swept off her feet by her now military husband. Saying goodbye to family, friends, and her favorite shops, she decamped to Destin to pursue beachside married life, freelance writing and incorporating color into her mostly-black wardrobe. The sartorial transformation was not a success, but she did find joy in the freedom of working from home and even more in becoming a mom to their tiny guy, Finn. Though she left big city life behind, her arsenal of beauty products traveled with (Sorry, Charlie!). Now with a tot on her hip, Raya is navigating motherhood, working to cultivate style, beauty and substance in all corners of their messy new life. Her heart flutters for girl power, champagne, and a good, glowy makeup look. A trifecta, if you ask her.   Find her on Instagram at @myvioletheart.


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