The Bolder the Better:
How to Correctly Apply Red Lipstick

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Let’s get real. Life is better in heels and red lipstick. When I was younger, crimson was much too bold for my awkward teenage look; however, as my style has evolved, I’ve become such an advocate of the classic Hollywood beauty tactic. Famous wearers of the showstopping shade include starlets Audrey, Marilyn, Lucille Ball, and ((throw back)) Cleopatra. Egyptian fab.

This past weekend, I was ever-so-lucky to shoot ((again)) with Lakeside Photography for some new glamour-esque shots, as well as batch of swimsuit photos, to round out my portfolio as a permanent brunette (that’s right; I’m officially putting blonde on the back burner- boo).

Bill wanted a classic red lip–I wanted to channel my inner Marilyn, so I worked together with professional makeup artists, as well as Wikipedia  (it’s offish, right?), to perfect the scarlet process. The problem I, as well as most of my friends, encounter when I attempt the crimson application myself is that the color runs and fades so quickly.  If I don’t pay enough attention to it, I’ll inevitably end up with red lipstick all over my teeth, raw lips, and an outline around my mouth resembling that of a red wine connoisseur. So classy.


Ergo, follow these steps to avoid looking like a rough lush:

How to wear red lipstick, how to apply red lipstick, red lipstick, beauty tips, Stephanie Ziajka, Diary of a Debutante


 Clean and dry your lips prior to application. Moisturizing is the key, so use either regular Chapstick or Vaseline. Wait for it to dry before proceeding.



Find your go-to lip liner. MAC lip liners has never lead me astray. This prevents the lipstick from running and bleeding, while also giving your lips a more voluminous edge.



Apply the lip product. I say “product” instead of lipstick because lip lacquer can be just as, if not more, glamorous and long-lasting. I’ve listed my Top 5 favorite lip products a bit further down.



Brush nude-colored foundation//powder around your mouth. The contrast will make your lips pop, eliminate imperfections, and also prevent the color from running or bleeding.



Dab the lipstick with a tissue.  Make sure you do it lightly, or you’ll end up with tissue paper on your mouth. Attractive.


Add shine. Clear or colored gloss will do. My favorite clear gloss would have to be Wet n Wild’s Megaslicks Lip Gloss in Crystal Clear (seriously, y’all.. it’s under $2).


Prepare to show stop. Turn up the charm and take lots of pictures.


As stated in #3, I advise against limiting yourself to lipstick. Rimmel London’s Show Off Lip Lacquer is hands down the best product I’ve found. It’s cheap, bold, and lasts a minimum of 2 hours, even while eating and drinking (which I do frequently). The caveat here, obviously, is that if you’re sloppy with application, you’ll end up looking like you have some kind of rash (don’t nobody want a rash) because the color just doesn’t fade. My other favorite brands for classic reds are MAC, NARS, and Christian Dior (listed below):



Does anyone else love Rimmel London as much as I do? What is your favorite shade for playing Marilyn? Share, Share, Share!


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18 thoughts on “The Bolder the Better:
How to Correctly Apply Red Lipstick

  1. Ashley Brooke

    Great post! I also like using a reverse lip liner when using bold products- basically it's sort of a clear wax lip liner that helps prevent feathering and lipstick bleeding.

    1. Stephanie Ziajka

      Hi Jodie! Seriously, give Rimmel a try! It's so inexpensive and has proven time and time again to be one of the best brands for red lipstick (in my opinion)! Hope you had a great weekend!


  2. Cheryl Bryant Rushing

    Love, love, love red lipstick, been wearing it since my first tube at age 12. Check out the line, Besame for some retro reds, especially the one called Besame Red. You will love the retro "bullet" look, right from the twenties and thirties. Another favorite is Ruby Woo by MAC, a fav for the perfect red red. I do it this order: foundation, lip liner, loose powder to set, lipstick with lipstick brush. Blot, reapply from tube. Check Teeth ;*). Thanks for the blog post, Every girl needs to find their inner red!

    1. Stephanie Ziajka

      Oo, thanks for the tips! I'll be sure to check out Besame. And Ruby Woo is my second favorite red hue from MAC; they have quite a few red tints I adore actually. Glad to find another longtime advocate of crimson lips 🙂 Hope your weekend was fab!


  3. rose jimenez

    Great post!! I wear red every day and it makes me feel powerful when I step into a room!! 😉 I use the Red Rimmel occasionally, but my everyday go-to color is Sephora's lip stain #1 red. It stays put all day and I always get complements on the color!!


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