Hair & Makeup

The Lipstick Color That Everybody’s Wearing

Red lips are everywhere at the moment, from awards ceremonies to TikTok. Here, SUZANNE SCOTT gets the lipstick lowdown from GUCCI WESTMAN to discover the best ways to wear it now


The off-duty red lip

It’s a myth that red lips are high-maintenance and only synonymous with glamour – our favorite way to wear red is often low key, with more of a relaxed weekend vibe. According to globally renowned makeup artist Gucci Westman, the desired look all comes down to texture. “A matte or stain-like finish looks more lived in and relaxed,” she says. Indeed, the joy of an ‘off-duty’ lip is that it is easier and less time-consuming to perfect. Either apply the color straight from the bullet to the center of your lips and use a fingertip to blur it out towards the edge, or forgo the bullet altogether and press the color on with your finger. Westman Atelier Lip Suede in Les Rouges is ideal for this kind of application.

But forget neat edges – this halfway red lip should look a bit worn in, like you applied your lipstick hours ago and just the barest hint remains. As for the rest of your makeup, simplicity is key here, too. “To get the most out of matte textures and stains, you should keep the rest of your skin radiant and clear. Any kind of heaviness will just make your red lip feel too serious,” says Westman.

The one-stop red

Mimicking the shade on your lips over your cheeks, nose and even eyelids is a method we often see makeup artists deploy when they want to create a soft and tonal look with minimum effort. Simply apply the same color chosen for your lips to your cheeks (just above your apples and up onto your cheekbone), then pat the excess onto your eyes, into your temples and lightly across the bridge of your nose.

Far from being too bold, this tried-and-tested application technique can appear relaxed and youthful – again, it all comes down to texture. “You want something with a high sheen but not super-thick. It should feel comfortable on your skin,” explains Westman, who recommends Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Lip Oil in Pipsqueak. “You get a good color payoff, but skin also benefits from the oils.” The color you choose should appear sheer against your skin tone and patted in with fingertips to avoid brush marks. If you need to powder, make sure to do so after applying your color and only powder areas that need it most, keeping the shine on your cheeks, lids and lips.

The classic

The classic red lip remains popular for good reason: it’s timeless, elegant and instantly makes you look pulled together, whether you’re wearing denim and a tee or something more formal.

To achieve that perfect red lip, you also need to prepare the skin with a scrub and balm, to ensure you exfoliate and hydrate, prior to application. “Make sure there’s no dry or cracked skin,” says Westman. “Red lipstick can be unforgiving, especially a matte lip color, which is prone to sinking into patches.” Westman also suggests utilizing a tool. “I like to apply the lipstick with a lip brush, and use a slightly lighter lip liner close to the natural lip color to fill in where the lip fades.”

A crisp, picture-perfect red pout requires attention to detail. Once you have applied your color and lined your lips, dot a hydrating concealer, such as Kjaer Weis Invisible Touch Concealer, around your lip line and use a concealer brush like Rae Morris’s Jishaku 20 Vegan Concealer Brush to tidy up your edges. The concealer’s formula should be silky and ‘buildable’ to avoid accentuating any lines around your lips. “A proper red-lip look definitely takes some time to tidy up,” agrees Westman. “But it’s worth it because a red lip will always make you feel a bit more refined.”


The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown