This Is The Coolest Way to Wear Red Lipstick Right Now

Updated 01/30/18
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Red lipstick dominated the A/W 16 catwalks (surprise, surprise), but this season the look was less Hollywood glamour and more cool-girl nonchalance. But what makes next season’s red lip so covetable that we want to wear it now? The secret is in how you wear it. There were three factors at play on the catwalks that helped make all the difference. The texture: either powdery matte or high-shine lacquer; the colour: vivid, almost neon flashes or brick-red hues dominated; the supporting makeup: think barely-there lashes and a delicate wash of foundation that let the lip pop from the face. To find out the rules of how to wear red lipstick in 2016, who better to call on than a makeup artist who worked on countless faces backstage at the A/W 16 shows? Keep scrolling to see what MAC Senior Artist Rebecca Butterworth had to say on the rules of red…

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BYRDIE UK: How can you make a red lip look more cool girl and less retro?

REBECCA BUTTERWORTH: The cool-girl lip has an insouciance and a nonchalance to it. Intense colour paired with diffused edges or a definite texture (car paint high shine or powdered matte) separate the modern lip from the overly precise, stamped-on retro lip.  

Getty/ Selin Alemdar /Contributor

BYRDIE UK: What other factors come into play? 

RB: Red lips are all about context! Cool girls need to look like the lipstick is swiped on as an afterthought (even if the actual process is totally the opposite!), so a "done" eye or opaque, matte skin is a no-no. Let every single one of your freckles show through. Skin should be as raw and real as possible to offset the perfection of a red lip.  

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BYRDIE UK: What eye makeup should you consider to keep it super modern?

RB: If you can cope with the idea of going without mascara, this is the best way to keep it absolutely modern. Curl lashes, gloss your eyelid with a slick of highlighter or lip balm and you're good to go. Alternatively, if you can't live without your mascara, make it a second focus and layer it on for a post-punk feel.

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BYRDIE UK: Do you need a lip liner?

RB: Opacity is a really important step in the making of a modern lip and a lip liner that matches the colour of your chosen red is crucial for a clean, opaque finish.  

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BYRDIE UK: The new shape seems to be more curved on the Cupid's bow—how can someone create this look that isn’t their natural lip shape? 

RB: Using a brush will make this easier. Try out a brush that has a curved edge because it'll do so much of the work for you. My go-to brush is actually an eyeshadow brush—the MAC 248 Small Eye Shader Brush (£21). It's flexible with a slender profile and a rounded edge. Use the rounded edge to stamp the curved shape onto your Cupid's bow.  

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BYRDIE UK: How should you find the right red for your skin tone?

RB: The following is a good rule of thumb:

o   Brick red: warm, undertoned skin. [Ed note: Try Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Burnt Red, £21]

o   Orange red: blue eyes, brown eyes and deep, warm skin tones [Ed note: Try MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger, £16]

o   Blue red: green eyes, cool undertoned skin [Ed note: Try Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red, £23]

o   Neutral postbox red: everyone! [Ed note: Try Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice, £8].

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Byrdie UK: What are your tips for getting a high-shine finish versus a modern matte (not too matte but definitely not sheeny)?

RB: High shine is back in a big way. Modern women want extremes of texture that make definite statements. MAC Lipglass Clear (£15) is the ultimate shine-maker. It's Perspex shine in a tube. For a modern matte, take cues from old-school makeup techniques: Separate a tissue into one ply and blot your lip colour. While the tissue is still covering the lips, dust a layer of loose transparent powder on top.  

Keep scrolling to shop Byrdie's favourite red lipsticks…

Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Burnt Red $21
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MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger $16
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Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red $23
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Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice $8
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