Red Alert – Tips On How to Get Red Lips Right by Binky Felstead

Hey beauty buddies. Or should that be “mwah-mwah”! All the air-kissing that goes on in TV land has started me thinking about the state of my lips and how best to perfect my pout. As you guys know, I’m a bit of a lipgloss girl myself – I’m never without the stuff. But every once in a while I fancy a bit of colour and I dig into my lipstick collection.

Certain products have earned the title of “beauty classic” thanks to their never-ending glamour and I reckon red lipstick comes top of the list. It doesn’t matter what the fashion world is wearing, perfect scarlet lips will never fail to look stylish, sexy and sophisticated.

That said, after a few seasons of clean, colour-free lips on the catwalks, fashion designers (and the make-up artists who work on their catwalk shows) seem to have rediscovered the power of red. The spring/summer 2013 catwalk shows were packed with real power-pouts: carefully, professionally applied hits of pure colour, from shocking pink at Giles to fire-engine red at Prada, berry red at Burberry and delicious deep maroon at Jonathan Saunders.

Inspired by these luscious looks, I decided to get to grips with my lips and start wearing red. There are two important rules to red lippy: first, take the time to find your perfect red; second apply your lipstick with precision and care – so no lippy on the teeth, no bleeding colour and no streaks or smudges.

Now, you may be thinking red is red is red so I’ll just pick the first lipstick I see. No my beauty babes, the red-lippy colour spectrum runs all the way from pinky berry reds, through warm corals, juicy orange reds, postbox brights and rich ruby, all the way to deep blood red and lush burgundy shades.

Naturally your choice of clothes and the time of day will play a part in your selection (brighter postbox red really zings by day while deeper darker shades look stunning in the evening). However, the most important factor when picking your lip colour is how it works with your skin tone and hair colour.

So I gathered up my girls, and we spent a couple of hours trying on red lipstick, all in the name of research – we’re like beauty scientists working on important studies into the art of beautification! A ton of lipstick-smudged tissues later, we came up with the following results:

Blondes, redheads and fair skins: lucky you – beautiful pale faces suit pretty much all shades of red lipstick. After all, the classic make-up look is sooty-black lashes, a porcelain complexion and luscious red lips. That said, my fair-skinned, blonde-haired testers looked best of all in classic “true” red and in cool pinky reds. Make-up pros describe these as reds with a blue undertone. Pale skinned redheads, meanwhile, can carry off more orangey-red shades of lippy. Our pick of the best reds for fair complexions are: Dior Rouge Dior in Favori Red, Guerlain Rouge G De Guerlain L’Extrait Luxure, Daniel Sandler Lipshine in Cherub and Guerlain KissKiss Strass in Rouge Taffetas.

Brunettes and medium, tanned or Asian skins: if, like me, you have a tanned or olive complexion (be it natural or achieved with the help of fake tan and bronzer), you will look great in warm corals, vibrant fire-engine red and orange-toned reds – like the amazing fiery shade I’m wearing in this week’s photo, which is Daniel Sandler Micro-Bubble Lipstick in Micro Red. Medium skin tones can experiment with berry reds, such as cranberry, raspberry and plum. Our favourite lippies for medium complexions are:  Too Faced La Crème in Cinnamon Kiss, bareMinerals Natural Lipcolour in Cherries On Top and Stila Long Wear Lip Colour in Lover.

Dark brunettes and dark tanned or black skins: like all skin tones, you suit the classic “true” reds, but look for scarlet with a blue undertone rather than brighter orangey shades which can look harsh with your colouring. Best of all, you can also carry really rich, deep shades, from vermillion to juicy cherry reds and on to the burgundy and dark maroons which are massive this autumn. Our top reds for darker skins are: Dior Rouge Diorific in Roulette Red, Daniel Sandler Micro-Bubble Lipstick in BerryGuerlain Rouge Automatique in Samsara and Dior Addict Lipcolor in Spectacular Mauve.

Now, we come to application: The trick to a perfect red lipstick pout is careful prepping. Begin with totally clean lips. When applying your foundation, take it right over your mouth to conceal your natural lip colour. Fix with powder. Now take your red lip pencil and draw a neat outline – obviously it makes sense to pick a lip pencil in a similar shade to your lipstick, so it’s a good idea to buy them together.

Finally, the lipstick itself. As you know, I’m the lipgloss queen and will always choose either glossy lipstick or actual lipgloss when I’m doing my beauty shopping. But make-up purists say that matt lipstick is best for painting the perfect red pout, as the intensity of colour is stronger. Plus, matt lipstick tends to have greater staying power so your pout will last longer. The other trick to achieving a longer-lasting finish is to apply your lipstick with a lip brush – we used the Stila no.6 Lipbrush but Dior and Daniel Sandler also do great brushes. So paint on your red lippy, blot with a tissue and then reapply a second coat of colour for a really stunning shot of red that will last for hours.

Voila! You now have the perfect scarlet-lipped pout. I’m loving mine – I’ll happily air-kiss all day with lips that look this good. Mwah-mwah darlings!

PS, just in case you were wondering, this blog offers my honest thoughts, feelings and opinions about make-up and beauty products. I’m not paid by any of the beauty brands to plug specific products and I write about whatever I fancy. Me and my pals also try out everything we recommend. So while you might not agree with everything I have to say, you can trust that the products I mention are the ones I really love. I hope you love them too. xxx


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  • Su

    Binky looks fab. Love the colour.

  • Kylisa

    Thank you Binky! – This has definitely helped me find my red. Ready to rock my red lipped pout!