Everything you need to know to master this intense fiery shade
From Uma Thurman’s velvet pout in Pulp Fiction to Olivia Newton-John’s glossy digits in Grease, red is the colour that commands attention. It’s also universally flattering for all skin tones and ages, and it’s a shade that’s truly memorable. Rae Morris, expert makeup artist and author of Makeup Masterclass, shares her best advice for pulling off the bold colour.
#1 / For lips
Whether you prefer a statement matte lipstick or one that has a glossy finish, there’s something for everyone this season.
How to do it: Swipe on the colour straight from the lipstick bullet or lip gloss wand, or for a more precise application, use a lip brush to really accentuate the shape of your lips. “A good trick for all red lipsticks is to apply the colour so that it finishes slightly above your lower lip line, which makes the shape a bit smaller and your lips ultimately younger,” says Morris.
Avoid if: Your skin looks inflamed. “Red will enhance other redness in your skin, so it’s essential to remove any traces of it on your skin with the right primer and foundation.”
Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Old Hollywood simply melts upon contact, coating lips in an intense burst of colour.
Dior Rouge Dior Lipstick in 999 is made with hyaluronic spheres to hydrate the skin’s layers.
Dab L'Oréal Paris Infallible Matte FX Lip Colour in Say My Name straight onto your red lipstick; the lip powder will intensify the colour.
Toolkit: Lip glosses
Swipe Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in Flesh straight onto lips for an intense burst of colour that feels light and not at all sticky.
Enriched with avocado and jojoba oil, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Lethal Red is a nourishing product that you’ll keep reaching for over and over.
Keep lips hydrated underneath your red lipstick with a coat of Mecca Cosmetica Tinted Lip De-Luscious in Cherry; it’s loaded with softening vitamin E.
#2 / For eyes
It may seem incredibly daring and scary, but a touch of red can add a sultry touch to your overall look.
How to do it: Experiment with different mediums on your eyes. “A burgundy or orange red can can be really beautiful, and a nice simple way to wear it is with eyeliner. Smudge it around the lash line and add lots of mascara to frame your eyes. Or, try a burgundy red eyeshadow for a translucent wash of colour, or even a bronze eyeshadow with really fine red glitter in it.”
Avoid if: You’re feeling tired. “I would very heavily suggest keeping eye drops on you as well as a creamy white eye pencil to take out any redness in the waterline,” states Morris.
Toolkit: Eye makeup
Although Nars Blush in Exhibit A is technically a blush, this deeply-pigmented colour can be used on your eyes, even without primer.
Etch Maybelline New York Color Show Crayon Kohl Liner in Coralista across your lash line, then use a small fluffy brush to smudge the colour in for a more lived-in look.
Add a wash of matte colour over eyelids with Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow in Red Carpet.
#3 / For nails
Looking for a bolder punch of colour than pastel shades this season? Then a fire engine red nail polish will do the trick.
How to do it: It’s not always true that warm skin tones suit only orange or brick reds. Take your favourite jewellery into consideration; “If you wear silver rings around your hands I would go for a more burgundy or a blue-based pink-red. If you wear gold, then choose something more orange-based,” says Morris.
Avoid if: You’re bad at DIY manicures. “Anything red is going to bring attention to your hands, so it needs to be done really, really well,” advises Morris. But don’t be afraid to try stick-ons - they’ve come a long way since the duck-billed shapes we saw in the early 2000s. “They don’t look fake and are so beautifully manicured. I use them on shoots all the time.”
Toolkit: Nail polishes
Layer Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Rouge Radical over red nail polish to add a three-dimensional edge.
OPI Nail Lacquer in Amore at the Grand Canal is a classic red nail polish that we simply can’t get enough of.
Elegant Touch Express Press-On Nails in Red look just like the real deal. Peel off the adhesive back then stick them onto clean and dry nails to fake a flawless mani.
Main image photography: Edward Urrutia
Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinky-nude nail polish and wispy false lashes, she has a healthy obsession with face masks and skin care ingredients. Her previous work can be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and SHOP Til You Drop.