How to apply the perfect red lip this Christmas

There is no shade more universally flattering than a classic red lip. Although red lips are for other occasions too, they’re particularly holiday-appropriate right now. Christmas is a time for bright colours and bold patterns, but the most memorable of the bunch is arguably red.

A red lip can be a smart and sophisticated choice for holiday parties and have a touch of sparkle about them. To help you identify what shade of red lip would suit you, and how to apply it perfectly, The Lady spoke to makeup artist, Saffron Hughes from

How to choose the best red lipstick for your skin tone:

Determining your skins undertone will help you choose the best red lipstick for the holiday season. If you know your skin burns in the sun, the likelihood is that you have a cooler skin tone. Also, look at the veins on your wrists. If they are blue or purple, you have a cooler skin tone, whereas if they are green, you have a warmer skin tone.

If you have dark skin, try holding a white sheet of paper to your face. In comparison to the white paper, if your face has red or purple undertones, you have cooler skin instead of gold or yellow undertones, which signals warmer skin tone. Those with neutral skin tones will find it difficult to decipher the above, and will suit both silver and gold jewellery.

Once you have determined your skins undertone, you can pick the perfect shade of red for your skin type. For cool tones, opt for blue-based or pink-based reds – think raspberry tones. Orange-based reds can also really help brighten up your complexion. For warmer tones, think fire engine reds with gold or peachy undertones. These won’t wash out your complexion. For neutral tones, you can go for universally complementary shades of red, with equal amounts of blue and orange. The brighter and bolder reds will suit neutral tones and are perfect for the Christmas season!

How to apply red lipstick like a pro:

Step one: Prep the lips

This is a vital step most people miss out on, usually because they are in a rush doing their everyday makeup! However, for Christmas day, take the time out to prep the lips so your lipstick lasts all day and doesn’t flake off. Make sure the lips are exfoliated properly. To do this, mix 1tbsp of coconut oil with 2 tsp sugar, massaging this mixture onto the lips to get rid of any dead skin cells for a smooth surface to apply the lipstick onto. To moisturise and ensure your lipstick lasts all day, use a lip primer, and spread it evenly. Wait 5 minutes for the primer to seep into the skin, before going in with lip liner.

Step two: Line the lips

Lip liners are essential for creating the perfect red lip. They prevent smudging, make your lipstick stick longer and can make your lips look fuller. If you’re a beginner to lip liners, stick to a red lip liner and don’t overline your lips to start. This will give you extra staying power and a peace of mind. However, if you wish to experiment a little, you can overline your lips with a red-brown lip liner. Mark an X on your cupid bow to create definition and join this to your natural lips in the outer corners. Then overline the bottom lip slightly, beginning at the centre and slowly work your way out by tracing over the natural edges of your lips.

Step three: Fill the lip in

You’ve taken the time to master your lip liner, now it’s time to fill in the lip- the fun part! Using a flat, lip brush, apply the red lipstick carefully over the initial pencil layer. This trick will make your lips look fuller and super red for Christmas day.

Step four: Clean up and define

To fine tune your lip shape or fix any lip colour mistakes, finish by going around your lips with concealer. Not only will this colour correct any slip ups during application, but it will make your lips appear clean and crisp throughout the day. Make sure the concealer is blended into your foundation well, so it doesn’t look like an odd bright outline around your lips.

Step five: Add gloss or mattify 

If you decide to stick with a matte lipstick, apply a tissue paper over the red lipstick and dust with translucent powder before removing the tissue. This will help increase the staying power of your red lipstick, ensuring it doesn’t fade or smudge whilst eating Christmas dinner. It will also deepen the mattifying effect of your red lipstick. Alternatively, you can apply lip gloss as the final step to complete your holiday makeup. Gloss can really elevate your red lipstick, but too much can be a shine overload! Simply apply a clear lip gloss on the middle of your bottom lip only, and then rub your lips together to spread out a subtle shine.