The 1, 2, 3s of the Perfect Valentine’s Day Red Lip

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The 1, 2, 3s of the Perfect Valentine’s Day Red Lip featured image
Photo Credits: Alexandra Chepturian / EyeEm / Getty Images

Timeless, classic, stylish—the red lip is the siren call of all lip looks. It’s an easy way to pull out all the stops on date night, and let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is the Super Bowl of date nights. Here, celebrity makeup artist Meredith Baraf—who’s lined the lips of Irina Shayk, Lea Michele, Olivia Wilde and Doutzen Kroes—shares the easiest tricks to getting your red lip right on a night when you can’t go wrong. 

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1. Forget the Rules
“The exercise of picking the right tone of red for your skin tone is a task that relies on intuition,” explains Baraf. “You will be drawn to the colors that look good on you. Typically the rule of thumb is that if you have a cool undertone, you use a cool red and if you have a warm undertone, choose a warm red. You can use this as a guide if you are overwhelmed, but honestly I believe you can wear reds that don’t fit these guidelines.” 

2. Define Your Lips With or Without Liner
“If lip liner is not your thing, don’t stress it,” says Baraf, “you can easily use your concealer to make sure the edges of the lips are defined.”  

3. Don’t Fret About Perfecting the Edges
Baraf says avoid worrying about the perfectly lined edges and opt for a French-inspired effortless-looking rouge lip: “Apply your red lipstick, blot and repeat! A diffused lip is always sexy, and your date may go in for that kiss with less trepidation than if you have on a perfectly painted lip.”

4. Give Your Cupid’s Bow a Glow
“Take a tiny bit of highlighter—with or without a shimmer—and apply right at the edge of Cupid’s bow,” advises Baraf. “This will create an illusion that the lip is further away from the face as it forces the skin above to visually recede.”

As for the spectrum of bold reds she grabs to use on her celebrity clients, Baraf says she has a few standout faves: “I love Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick in Elson ($40), of course MAC’s famous Ruby Woo ($19). For long wear, L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain in ‘I Don’t’ ($12), which I used on Doutzen for the 2019 Met Gala. Another one of my go-to already-made stains is Givenchy Encre Interdite 24 Hour Lip Stain in Radical Red ($33).”

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