Finding the perfect red lipstick is no easy task. From undertones and formulations to price point and wear time, there’s a lot to take into consideration as you swipe and swatch your way through Sephora.

While the right red can be an instant mood-booster and look-maker, the wrong shade can leave you looking washed-out and older than you are. With that in mind, we spoke to Fiona Bennett, an Australian makeup artist who lives in Singapore and has worked on numerous music videos, fashion shoots and famous faces, to find out how to wear a red lip like a pro.  

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What are your top tips for finding the perfect shade of red?

My top tip would be to first figure out your skin’s undertone. If you’re a cool tone, go for a blue based red lipstick, but if you have a warm undertone, you’ll want to opt for an orange red. Remember, red isn’t just red, it’s also raspberry, rust and mauve. Also, don’t be afraid to mix colours together. I often use a darker colour on most of the lip, and one that is a couple of shades lighter through the middle of the lips to make the lips look fuller and more dimensional. 

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How about when it comes to picking the texture of your red lipstick?

Lipstick isn’t just lipstick anymore. From balms to gloss and stains, we are spoilt for choice in terms of texture. If you’re going for a more natural look, stick to balms and glosses, which are also great for those who suffer from cracked dry lips. Those who want a bolder look should try a liquid or very pigmented lipstick. I often find matte textures a little drying, but they do have great staying power.

Which shades are best suited towards Asian skin tones?

Asian skin tones can vary from porcelain white to really dark brown. If you’re darker then it’s best to choose a warmer orange-based red. If you’re lighter, choose a blue tone red.

What is the best way to apply a red lip that lasts?

It all starts with a good base, which means your lips need to be in tiptop condition. Hydrating and exfoliating is the key to making sure there are no flakes on your lips. I like to use a sugar scrub and a thick layer of lip balm. Let the balm soak in for a few minutes before wiping off the excess with a tissue, then use a lip liner to fill in as much of the lip as possible before going over it with your lipstick. A good tip is to dust with a little bit of translucent powder over the top to help it set.

Do you have any tips to avoid getting lipstick on your teeth?

The finger pull might be the oldest trick in the book, but it’s also the best. Simply form an “O” with your lips, put your index finger through the “O” and slowly pull it back out. Any lipstick that was waiting to get on your teeth will now be on your finger.

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What advice do you have on wearing lipstick under a face mask without messing it up?

The trick is to apply a very light coating of lipstick (just enough so you can see a hint of colour) before you go out and then reapply when you take your mask off.

What are 5 things everyone should know when it comes to wearing red lipstick?

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different shades and textures

If you want a precision sharp look, use a lip liner and a lip brush

If you’re scared of a bright red lip, mix it with a nude shade and slowly work you way up

If you’ve never worn a red lip before, start out with a sheer red gloss first

To help tie your look together, try using your lipstick as a blush. Simply apply it with a brush or with your fingers on the apples of the cheeks