Problem Solvers

Calling all red lipstick-phobics: here’s a guide to help you find ‘the one’

For a foolproof ‘date night’ look you can’t go wrong with a statement red lippie, which has turned heads since time immemorial. Whether you’re a Marilyn-style bombshell, or Bette Davis vamp, it’s impossible to sport a killer rouge without a little bit of an attitude. Here are our tips on how to pick your perfect partner.

{Prep is key} If you look after your {lips} during the day, the skin should be plump, smooth and perfectly prepped for colour come the evening (not that red should be confined to night-time). Slough away scales with Lanolips’ {Lemonaid Scrubba Balm} which gently buffs dry, chapped lips back to baby-soft best.

And to maintain the moisture levels and shield lips from the environmental onslaught, it’s important to ensure you always have an unctuous balm about your person. fresh’s bestselling {Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy} is packed with conditioning butters and nourishing extracts to optimise fullness and define your lip contour.

{Line up} If you’re going for a bold {lipstick}, creating a crisp silhouette with {lip pencil} will stop the colour ‘bleeding’ and make application easy. And, with artful outlining you can augment your lips slightly – just trace along the upper, outer edge to create the illusion of a fuller pout. {Charlotte Tilbury} {Lip Cheat} in ‘Pillow Talk’ is the bestselling ‘your lips but better’ nude, or try Huda Beauty’s {Lip Contour} which comes in an array of hues to match your chosen lipstick shade.

{Go with your undertone} Those who’re warm tones – think Jessica Alba or Kerry Washington – should opt for a bright, chilli-pepper red with orange undertones to complement their colouring. Charlotte Tilbury’s {Hot Lips} lipstick in ‘Tell Laura’ (inspired by model and writer Laura Bailey) is brimming with colour and light-diffusing pigments for a standout pout.

Or if you’re cool toned – à la Lupita Nyong’o and Anne Hathaway – a flattering blue-hued red like Huda’s {Heartbreaker} will look incred. Not sure of your undertone? Our {guide} will help you figure out which camp you’re in.

{Choose your texture wisely} Those with thinner lips should first prime with a {lip plumper}, followed by a lipstick with a {gloss} or satin finish to create the illusion of increased volume. IT Cosmetics’ {Pillow Lips} in ‘Stellar’ is the epitome of glam, while NYX Professional Makeup’s {Intense Butter Gloss} in ‘Red in Time’ is perfect paired with lamé and chic, slicked-back locks for after-dark drama. And for vintage queens, a matte red lip is always a winner – try NARS’ {Powermatte Lip Pigment} in ‘Starwoman’ which dries to a budge-proof crimson.

{Mix two tones to plump up thinner lips} Just like black kohl eyeliner can make eyes look smaller, so too a dark, flat lip colour can visibly shrink so your lips look a little bit pinched and ‘school marm-ish’ if you’re not naturally blessed with a pillow-esque pair. Our tip? First line with a darker shade (try Hourglass’s {Panoramic Long Wear Lip Pencil} in ‘Icon’), then add a lighter shade with a cream or a high-shine finish in the centre, such as Huda Beauty’s {Demi Matte Cream Lipstick} in ‘Boy Collector’.

{Upgrade your standard red with a foil finish} Foil textures are a great way to bring your killer rouge bang up to date. Natasha Denona’s {Mark Your Lips Metallic Liquid Lipstick} comes in ‘Cyber Cherry’ – a seasonal, ‘sweet wrapper’ shade with a stunning (long-wearing!) foil finish.


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…