Undertones are important when picking out your go-to red, but it’s by no means the only factor. “Skin tone is something else to consider when you’re looking for your perfect shade of red, and ultimately, the level of contrast you’re looking to achieve when you put on your red lipstick,” Saenz explains. You’ll want to find the right depth of color to achieve the most intensity of pigment—or if you’re gunning for a more subtle look, feel free to select a sheer lippie.
Of course, the formula itself matters, too. Is your red creamy or matte? Is it buildable? Does it provide long-wear? All are important criteria to mind as you browse. If you’re looking for a versatile liquid option, Saenz personally adores the KVD Beauty Everlasting Hyperlight Liquid Lipstick collection: “It has a lightweight yet long-wear finish that doesn’t budge when it’s dried down,” she says.
In terms of application, prepping the lips is key. Ensure a clean, even surface by exfoliating away flakes, then layer on a moisturizing lip balm; let those hydrating ingredients sink into the lips for a beat, so that your color glides on effortlessly. Then dab your red lipstick in the center of your top and bottom lips, using your finger to diffuse the pigment (that will give you a lighter red tint). “When I’m looking for serious color pay off, I’ll follow with a second layer,” Saenz adds.