How to Apply Red Lip Color

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‘Tis the season for festive parties, holiday dresses and beautiful red lips. Even those of us who don’t normally wear red lipstick on a regular basis can have a little fun with the color during the holidays. Whether a light wash of red or a full matte lip, the key to achieving a long lasting and gorgeous red lip is proper preparation.

The first and most important step is to exfoliate the lip. Sugar scrubs, soft toothbrushes or warm water on a washcloth in circular motions across the lip works wonders to remove dead, flaky skin from the lips.



The next step is to moisturize the lips. Work a bit of beauty oil or lip balm into the lips and press lips together. Blot off any excess oil or balm on the back of your hand.  The trick is to make sure the lips are hydrated without leaving a residue on the lips that will interfere with the adhesion of your lipstick.

When selecting your color, be mindful of what you plan to wear. If you’re wearing red, try not to match the lip color exactly. It’s much more flattering when the color compliments rather than mimics the color of your clothing.



Now it’s time to apply your lipstick. I find it easiest to begin in the center of the lips and work your way to the corners. This deposits the most pigment in the center and allows you to spread the rest to the corners without running outside the lip line. If you’re using a satin formula, use your finger to pat the color in. This will create a stain like effect that will keep the color on longer. A second coat can be applied on top for sheen. If the formula is matte, it helps to use a lip brush to make sure the color is applied evenly. This can be especially true with liquid lipsticks as the wands are often too thick to properly apply the color to the corners of the mouth.

No matter how talented an artist you are, it’s difficult to create a perfect line around the lips. I like to take a small synthetic brush with a bit of my foundation and trace the edge of the lips. This will conceal any minor dips in color and prevent the lip color from bleeding.

Beginner tip: use a matte lip crayon. Crayons allow you to draw around the lip line and fill in with ease.


  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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