You Can Do: Red Lips
Like the perfect leopard-print stiletto, an amazing red lipstick can transform even the most basic black dress into something startlingly chic. Case in point: Despite some stiff competition from her ambitious right leg, Angelina Jolie's red lips won us over at the Oscars, and Rooney Mara's matte lipstick gives the classic look a modern edge.
The Basic Tips
• Ditch the chapped lips! For a pitch-perfect crimson like Rihanna's, exfoliate lips with a wet washcloth, followed by a dab of lip balm.
• Fill in with a liner that matches the natural color of your lips-not the lipstick.
• Apply color with a tiny brush, starting at the center of your mouth and blending outward.
The Basic Products
amp#149; A blue-based crimson like MAC's Red ($15; maccosmetics.com) brightens up your smile, and neutralizes any discoloration on your teeth with its cool undertones.
amp#149; MAC's 318 Retractable Lip Brush ($23; maccosmetics.com) creates a seamless finish, and thanks to its compact size, is perfect for touch-ups on the go.
I can't find shades for fair skin.
Your complexion is prone to redness, so the first step should be evening out skin with a little foundation; otherwise, red can highlight ruddiness. When choosing a lipstick shade, look for sheer, blue-based reds. We love Revlon's Color Burst lipstick in True Red ($9; at drugstores). Though bold, these cool hues don't look overly harsh against pale skin tones like Gwen Stefani's.
I can't find shades for olive skin.
If you have medium skin like Minka Kelly, you can pull off almost any red -even a super-bold hue like NARS's Heat Wave ($24; narscosmetics.com)-thanks to your complexion's warm undertones. To keep the overall look clean, avoid wearing bronzer, which can seem muddy when paired with intense lips. A touch of concealer and a quick swipe of mascara or black liner are all you need.
I can't find shades for dark skin.
I'm scared it will look too harsh.
If a full-on red is too much commitment for you, try out a lip stain instead like YSL's Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in Orange de Chine ($32; yslbeautyus.com). Just dab a bit of it on the inside center of your lips, then smack them together. The effect is subtle, rosy, and youthful-like you've just finished a cherry Popsicle.