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Von’s Vice – The Classic Red Lip

Published on November 1, 2012 . Blog, Issue 54, Von's Vice

Dear Von,

For my winter wedding I want to wear red lipstick. However, every time I try a crimson shade, I can’t seem to keep it looking fresh. The color gets splotchy and smears off my lips. I’ve tried different lip liners but nothing seems to help. Are there any brands you recommend that will give me a more lasting color?

Angela Lynn – Longview, TX

Dear Winter Bride,

The choice to wear red is challenging and rewarding. A bold scarlet lip is a classic look you will appreciate for years to come. The challenges you described are all too common. “Feathering” or “bleeding” refers to the tendency of lipstick to seep into the tiny wrinkles and crevices around the mouth. Feathering ages a lady and has a tendency to make you look like you’ve had a cocktail too many. The key to lasting red lips is good technique rather than any one brand. And while we’re at it, let’s give the illusion of fuller lips with some color variation.

Here is a step-by-step guide to a dimensional red lip.

1.) Apply your favorite chap stick at least 20 minutes before you apply your lip color. I prefer something that is Vitamin E based.

2.) After blotting off any remaining lip lubricant, use a wedge sponge to press translucent powder on the lip area. Focus the application to the area where the lip meets the skin. This step is designed to control “feathering” or “bleeding “lips.

3.) Next, choose a lip liner that is at least two shades darker than your chosen red lipstick. For a deep cherry red, I’m demonstrating with a brown eye liner. The bulk of your time should be used on this step. This initial line must be straight. Steady hand not your thing? Rather than attempting one perfect line, draw a series of dots along the lip line. Then connect the dots to create your perfect perimeter.


Step 3

4.) Apply the lipstick using a brush. With downward strokes, use the creamy texture of the lipstick to blend the liner downward towards the center of you lip.


Step 4

5.) Gently blot your lips using a paper towel. Tissue can leave behind lint.

6.) Using a flat, rounded eyeshadow brush, lightly apply translucent powder to the inner 1/3 of your lips, carefully avoiding the outer part of you lip. This step sets the color and gives you a lightened tone to the center of your mouth creating the illusion of fuller lips.


Step 6

“The key to lasting red lips is good technique rather than any one brand.”

7.) Lip gloss will replenish the moisture and also helps to blend the colors. With a clear or nude gloss, use your finger to apply a tiny amount to the inner 1/3 or your lips. Too much gloss will ruin this look. Goopy gloss will mute the effect of your dimensional red lip and can lead to feathering.

Peace & Lipstick,



Finish with lip gloss

Image by RJ Alvarade

Image by RJ Alvarade

VC_profileVon Criswell is a native East Texan originally from Nacogdoches.  After graduating from Baylor University, she focused her sights on the beauty industry.  Von has worked as a Make up Artist, Stylist and an Art Director for print, runway and film.  She later received her Esthetician’s license in pursuit of understanding the functions of the skin as well as total body wellness.  Von and her family now make their home in Tyler where she works as a freelance Make up Artist and consultant.
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