How To Apply Red Lipstick

Discover how to apply red lipstick like a makeup artist with my expert guide to perfecting a classic red lip.


  1. How to apply red lipstick step one: apply lip oil to hydrate lips

    Step 1: Hydrate lips with lip oil

    I know you’re excited to apply your red lipstick, darling, but it’s important to prep your lips with a hydrating lip oil first. Glide on a lip-loving formula like Charlotte’s Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir to nourish your lips and help them to look smooth and supple. This magical formula is enriched with Swertian Leaf Extract to help reduce the appearance of lip lines as well as hydrating ingredients from my Magic 8 Matrix to help lips appear plush and pillow soft. Once your lips look smoother and more hydrated, your red lipstick will apply more seamlessly and is less likely to feather or flake.

    Discover my lip care routine

  2. How to apply red lipstick step 2: choose your perfect red shade

    Step 2: Choose your perfect shade of red

    Everyone can discover their perfect shade of red lipstick in my NEW! Charlotte’s Hollywood Beauty Icon Lipstick collection! I’ve created 5 magical red lipsticks in my Matte Revolution formula to give everyone, everywhere their perfect Hollywood red pout! Each shade defines the look of contours and is universally flattering, giving every skin tone a beautifying rush of red that exudes pure Hollywood glamour. Use my Lipstick Finder to discover your perfect shade recommendations, then use my virtual try on tool to see the magic for yourself!

    Discover your perfect reds with my Lipstick Finder

  3. How to apply red lipstick step 3: line your lips with a red lip liner

    Step 3: Apply lip liner in a heart shape

    Red lipstick requires more precision than nudes, browns, and pinks as it stands out against the natural tone of your lips. The secret to a flawless red lipstick application is using a lip liner to outline your lips, then filling them in to create a no-budge base colour for your look. My Lip Cheat lip liners are waterproof and last for at least 6 hours with no smudging* – they’re the perfect beauty secrets for creating a well-defined lip shape and will help your red lipstick to last longer and wear more seamlessly.

    Discover how to apply lip liner

  4. How to apply red lipstick step 4: fill in your lips with a red lipstick

    Step 4: Swipe on your red lipstick

    Once you’ve lined your lips, reach for your perfect red lipstick shade and swipe on for instant glamour! Apply straight from the bullet until your lips are saturated with beautiful red lip colour, being careful not to go outside of the lip line you’ve just created. For greater precision, use my Lip Brush to apply your lipstick; swipe back and forth on your lipstick bullet to pick up the pigment, then use the fine tip to apply onto the lips. This method can be particularly helpful for finer details like the corners of the mouth and on thin lips.

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  5. How to apply red lipstick step 5: clean up and define the edges with concealer

    Step 5: Define with concealer

    To further define the look of your pout, take your concealer on a clean Lip Brush and trace around the edges of your lips. A brightening shade of Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer will trick the light and enhance the look of your lip shape, while also covering up any areas where lipstick may have travelled outside of your lip line. Think of your concealer as negative space around your pout and use it to create crisp, defined lines. This concealer trick is especially useful for highlighting the Cupid’s bow and sharpening up the corners of your mouth.

    Shop Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer

  6. How to apply red lipstick step 6: apply a red lip gloss

    Step 6: Reach for a red lip gloss

    Lip gloss is the secret to an irresistible lip glow! Give your favourite red lipstick a gorgeous, glossy finish by adding a slick of lip gloss. I love to add Lip Lustre in Red Vixen on top of a red lip to give it the most magical glossy glow. To apply, coat your lips in lustrous lip gloss for all-over shine and add a little bit extra to the centre of your lips to capture a fuller, poutier look.

    Tilbury Tip: For a gentle plumping effect, reach for Collagen Lip Bath in Walk of No Shame or Refresh Rose.

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  7. How to apply red lipstick step 7: check your teeth for red lipstick

    Step 7: Check your teeth

    Darlings, we’ve all been there… A good friend will tell you when there is lipstick on your teeth, but a makeup artist will tell you to take the lipstick test before you leave the house! Take your index finger and place it in your mouth, making an ‘o’ shape with your lips – when you remove your finger, any red lipstick that is likely to travel onto your teeth should come away.

    The main cause of lipstick on teeth is over-application. Applying too much lipstick means there is more opportunity for lipstick to slide around and risks getting onto your teeth. My lipsticks are designed to build up gorgeous colour opacity with minimal application – one swipe will do wonders!

    Tilbury Tip: Lip products naturally move as we talk, eat, and make facial expressions, so it’s always a good idea to check on your lipstick after a meal or when you go to the bathroom.

How To Apply Red Lipstick: More Tips & Tricks

Cheng red lipstick

How do you apply lipstick for beginners?

Darlings, practice makes perfect! Follow the steps above to learn how to apply red lipstick and before you know it, you’ll be wearing red lipstick at every opportunity! My top tip for red lipstick novices is to reach for a longwearing matte lipstick formula because they generally last longer on the lips and require less maintenance throughout the day. Discover my NEW! Charlotte’s Hollywood Beauty Icon Lipsticks – they look fabulous on everyone and are a gorgeous first foray into red lipstick for makeup beginners.

Shop Charlotte’s Hollywood Beauty Icon Lipsticks

Discover my makeup tutorial for beginners

How do you apply red lipstick to stay?

You can help to increase the staying power of your lipstick by avoiding touching your lips or moving your mouth while it settles. Avoid rubbing your lips together to prevent your lipstick from moving around and try drinking with a straw to avoid transfer onto your glass. Matte formulas like AIRbrush Flawless Lip Blur and Matte Revolution lipstick are generally more longwearing than satin and glossy formulas – they’re perfect for red lipstick lovers that want to top up their red lipstick as little as possible.

Tilbury Tip: Always set your makeup with AIRbrush Flawless Setting Spray to boost its longevity for up to 16 hours!*

Discover more long-lasting makeup must-haves

Why does red lipstick not suit me?

Red lipstick looks gorgeous on every skin tone, lip shape, and lip colour, but many think it does not suit them because they haven’t discovered their perfect shades! Use my Lipstick Finder to discover your perfect shades of red lipstick; it’s a beauty-tech innovation that uses colour theory to find your most flattering lipstick matches according to your skin tone, hair colour, eye colour, and makeup preferences. You can try on your red lipstick using my virtual try-on tool to discover just how magical my red lipsticks will look on you!

Discover my Lipstick Finder

What colour lip liner do you use with red lipstick?

Red lipsticks look best when paired with red or brown-toned lip liners. I like to pair red lipstick with a ruby-red lip liner like my NEW! Lip Cheat in Red Carpet Red to give lips a statement-making red outline ready to be filled in with red lipstick. Deep lip liners like Lip Cheat in Hollywood Honey or Berry Naughty are also fabulous pairings for red lipstick; darker lip liners are perfect for giving your pout a contoured effect, shading the outer line of your lips to create a three-dimensional lip shape for your red lipstick to rule over.

Discover expertly colour-matched lip liner and lipstick combinations

How do you apply red lipstick without lip liner?

When applying red lipstick without lip liner, it’s important to pay close attention to the outer edge of your lips. Gliding on a red lipstick without lining your lips first can result in a messy and misshapen look, so I always recommend using a lip liner. If you don’t have a red lip liner to hand but still want to mesmerise with a red lip look, try using a lip brush to apply lipstick along your lip line to create the appearance of lip liner before swiping onto the rest of your lips. If you need to, you can sharpen up your look with concealer.

How do you make red lipstick look natural?

To get a just-bitten look with red lipstick that appears naturally tinted, blot red lipstick onto your lips then blend out the edges with your ring finger. Focus on tapping red lipstick into the centre of your lips, then gently patting it out to diffuse its pigment and create a blur effect. My AIRbrush Flawless Lip Blur liquid lipstick is perfect for creating this look; swipe on Ruby Blur or Flame Blur to give your lips a rush of red, then blend until you get a natural-looking, blurred red lipstick look.

Discover how to apply liquid lipstick

Darlings, I always say that red lipstick is instant glamour! Now that you’ve learned how to apply red lipstick flawlessly, discover magical red lipstick makeup looks to try! There’s a red for every mood in my lipstick wardrobe including 5 NEW! Charlotte’s Hollywood Beauty Icon Lipsticks! Discover your perfect shades with my Lipstick Finder and wear red lipstick with total confidence!

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Author Details

Charlotte Tilbury

Founder, President, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty

With over 30 years experience, Charlotte Tilbury MBE is the world's number 1 makeup artist and British beauty entrepreneur. Charlotte established Charlotte Tilbury Beauty in 2013, which is now a record-breaking beauty brand that has won over 400 awards.

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