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How To Apply a Red Lip Like a Pro

A step-by-step guide to building a matte red lip that’ll last through dinner.
  • How To Apply a Red Lip Like a Pro
    Start Slideshow
    7 slides
  • Exfoliate
    1 of 7

    “Any dry flakes on your lips will be emphasized by a matte texture, so it’s important to prep the lips first,” Maitri says. You can use a lip scrub, washcloth, or soft toothbrush to buff away dryness. “Exfoliate two or three times a week,” she says. If you have excessively dry or flaky lips, try Laura Mercier's Lip Silk ($22): “It has glycolic acid in it, so use it before bed to wake up with super soft lips.”

  • Moisturize
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    The trick to maintaining moisturized lips is to apply balm right after you exfoliate. Do the rest of your makeup before reaching for color, this will give the balm time to soak in. (Any hydrating balm will work!)

  • Line
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    Don’t even think about skipping this step: the trick to long-lasting color lies in the liner! “Blot your lips to remove any excess lip balm, then, using a lip liner the same shade as your lipstick, outline and fill in your entire lip,” Maitri says. “This creates a layer for the lipstick to adhere to.” her favorite is M.A.C.’s Pro Longwear Lip Pencil ($20) in whichever shade you prefer. Go slow and use a light hand on the border of your pout.

  • Paint
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    Go over your entire lip with a brush coated with your lipstick. Try Bite Beauty’s Lip Brush ($20) or Maybelline’s Lip Brush ($8).

  • Powder
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    You can turn any lipstick matte with translucent powder. (Don’t worry, it won’t change the color of the lipstick!) “Lightly dust the powder over your entire lip with a fluffy eye shadow brush,” Maitri says. Her go-to is Laura Mercier’s Loose Setting Powder ($25), or try CoverGirl’s Professional Loose Powder ($6).

  • Add Another Coat
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    Add Another Coat

    Finish up with one last coat of lipstick, applied with a brush. “Use a pointed cotton swab with a little bit of oil-based makeup remover to clean up any mistakes you’ve made,” Maitri says. Try Bobbi Brown’s Instant Long-Wear Makeup Remover ($25) and the Precision Tip Cotton Swabs ($3) by Q-Tips.

  • Final Look
    Next Slideshow
    7 of 7

Whether you wear a bold lip everyday or save bright color for special occasions, the idea of it lasting through dinner is a doozy. So we tapped makeup artist Sage Maitri—she’s worked with celebs like Erin Wasson and Elizabeth Banks—for an easy how-to on the ultimate lip challenge: a matte red lip that lasts for hours. The easy step-by-step, above.

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