I've been wearing a bold, bright lipstick almost every day for the past decade. I have friends that tease me because they have never seen me without it, be it 6am on a movie set, on a hiking weekend or at the beach. The truth is that lipstick can have an incredible positive impact on your image, and women who discover this can be very empowered by it. Bold red lipstick is not for everybody, this is true, but it is not even half as scary as you might think.
Having a go-to shade can help you on those days where you slept way past your alarm clock and you only have few minutes to look like a million bucks or give you a stronger voice in a room full of strangers.
I have been asked innumerable times how to pick the right color or how to wear it all day without frequently re-applying. So I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that I learned throughout the years.
WHAT A GOOD LIPSTICK CAN DO FOR YOU
Gives you a boost of confidence. A bold red lip is the easiest way I can think of make you look and feel powerful. Consider it the "blazer of make up".
Makes a statement. Just like a great piece of jewelry, but way more affordable.
Draws your attention to your face. Keeps eyes focused where you want them. If people are focused on your mouth, they're more apt to listen to what comes out of it.
Makes you look sophisticated in 2 minutes. A little concealer, a bit of mascara and some lips and you are ready to go.
Smooths out your wrinkles and make your teeth look whiter. The right lipstick creates definition and contrast.
Give you an aura of mystery. That sexy Je ne sais quoi. ;)
HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT SHADE & TEXTURE
A good lipstick should brighten you up. When trying on a new lipstick, wear very little make up. If the lipstick is a good one for you, it should immediately lift you up. If the redness around your nose, your dark circles and your imperfections become more noticeable, it is the wrong shade. This to me is the only essential rule.
Sure, consider your skin undertone as well, if you know for sure how it is.
If your skin undertone is warm, you should privilege shades that contain yellow (orange-red, deep coral, brick red). If your undertone is cool, you should choose shades that contain blue (cherry red, berry red, carmine). But be ready to be surprised about this too.
Forget about fair, medium and dark skin. Anyone can wear red lipstick. The paler you are, the more it is going to pop. Be ready for the power that comes with it.
Pick a rich creamy texture. It is going to last all day and it is not going to dry out your lips. A matte finish can be very dramatic too, but it can make you skin look dull.
And no shimmer. It rarely looks good.
A FEW TRICKS ABOUT LIPSTICK
Exfoliate your lips. Whether you brush them with your toothbrush, or use a fancy lip scrub, you should create a smooth base for your lipstick.
Apply straight on your lips. This comes from my experience, and some might disagree, but I don't use any lip balm or primer under my lipstick. I have tried, and it does slightly change the color of it, plus the lipstick doesn't last as long. If you moisturize at night, your lips are not going to be dry.
Apply straight from the tube. For a full coverage, apply up to 3 layers, blotting with a tissue between layers. No need for lip liner.
Prevent from getting it on your teeth. This is the trick: insert your index finger into your open mouth, and close your lips around it making your lips into an O shape. Now pull the finger out. This will remove the lipstick from the inner part of your lips, and prevent it from getting on your teeth. For God's sake, don't do this in public!
Use it as blush as well. If you don't know what blush to match your lipstick with, lightly dab a bit of the same lipstick on your cheeks. The effect is balanced and sophisticated.
SOME GREAT LIPSTICKS
I conducted wide research comparing old favorites to new shades, and came up with a selection of great lipsticks, with different price points.
DRUGSTORE vs. LUXURY LIPSTICKS
I personally don't discriminate. I must say that the majority of my favorite lipsticks are drugstore finds. Revlon is probably the best lipstick value on the market, with a quality consistency and the best range of colors in their price category. At the same time I am fascinated by a beautiful packaging, especially when it resonates with my passions (like the beautiful bullet lipsticks that Besame makes), or the green ingredients (like Bite).
Obviously, fancy packaging confers status upon you if you are applying lipstick in front of others. But my advice is to use the best brand that looks good on you and apply it discreetly in private. After all, you want people to wonder how you look so damn good all the time. Why give away secret weapon?