Red lipstick tips for brides

Red lipstick is the ultimate beauty signature, and one that many a bride won't want to forgo on their wedding day – as make-up artist and Lancôme's education manager, Antonia Basile points out, “every bride wants to look like the best version of themselves on their wedding day, not like someone else”.

But red's not without risk. From the first kiss (and many thereafter) to the close-up, off-guard photo inevitabilities, and – not to mention – navigating the wedding breakfast and free-flowing champagne, bold lipstick can face many obstacles over the space of a wedding day and night.

But it can be bullet proof. Here Basile shares her expert tips on confidently – and competently – wearing red lipstick for your wedding.

1/ Don’t think you have to wear a bold lip all day

There's a reason why brides traditionally opt for a soft shade of lipstick like a nude or natural pink for their day: less maintenance means less risk (and, ergo, stress). So if you're torn between convenience and committing to your look, an easy way around it is to only wear red for the day or night.

Just as you might update your outfit after-hours, adding a slash of colour to your make-up for a part of the event can play up your aesthetic, giving you a whole new style with minimum cost and effort.

Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson
Getty Images

2/ Opt for a wearable red if you don't already have your signature shade sorted

When it comes to lipstick, red is a whole spectrum in itself. From bright, poppy, orangey-reds, to classic pillarbox blue-reds, and deep, vampy reds bordering on burgundy, there really is a red for everyone. If you know your shade, great – you’ll likely be confident in it already. But if not, Basile says to try first experimenting with a darker variant. “A darker red is elegant, classic and sophisticated.” It’s this that makes it more wearable than a bright red, she feels, as well as wedding-appropriate. Alternatively, a fun, electric chilli red looks modern and playful, while nicely brightening the complexion – as Solange Knowles demonstrated on her wedding day.

3/ Do practice at home

Don't have a signature yet? Or don't feel it's right for your event? Every beauty expert will have advice on finding The One when it comes to red lipstick, but ultimately you are the one wearing it and your opinion is the only one that really matters. Invest in some minis of shades, or a palette, and try them out at home. Ask yourself how you feel in each, test whether the formulas stay put through eating/drinking and how they fade, and check if they photograph nicely or read differently on camera.

Never settle for something you’re not entirely comfortable in. This will affect your confidence and cause unnecessary angst. As a bride-to-be you’ll have enough stress from the never-ending wedmin already – don’t add to it.

4/ Layer your lip products so they last

When your shade is decided on, practice applying it as make-ups artist would. Follow Basile’s four-step approach: Sketch a matching liner all over the lips (not just to the lip lines), layering the lipstick – preferably boasting a long-lasting formula – applied with a lip brush on top. Next, to achieve sharp definition, outline the edge of your lips with concealer using a concealer brush. Finally, spritz your closed lips with a make-up setting spray, such as Lancôme's Fix It Forget It.

5/ Have a top-up strategy

Basile feels that if you apply your bold lip in a pro manner initially, you shouldn’t need to touch it up throughout the day. But, if after testing this on yourself beforehand and finding you do need to maintain it, try her technique.

“You can apply your lipstick straight from the bullet, but you’ll get much more longevity from a lip brush,” she says – so keep a mini brush alongside it in your purse. “Don’t apply your lipstick to the inside of your lips,” she adds, as this is when you get transfer on your teeth. And, to avoid your colour coming off on your champagne flute take a tissue and blot it between your lips as the final step. Or, where possible, sip your drinks through straws.

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