Even in her late seventies, my grandmother was one of the most glamorous people I knew. Fond of a red lip, she’d look into her lipstick case mirror and swipe her mouth with a practiced hand. I admit, my nostalgia is part of what draws me to lipstick. These days the cosmetic world offers us an array of options for our pouts—tinted balm, lip & cheek stain multi-taskers, lip gloss, etc.—but there’s just something classic about a tube of lipstick, especially red lipstick.
Unfortunately, most conventional lipsticks contain ingredients that we don’t want to put on our skin—or inadvertently eat! According to a study performed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, over 60% of the tested lipsticks contained lead, a neurotoxin. Additionally, conventional lipsticks are likely to contain the preservative BHA, deemed a likely carcinogen, and parabens, preservatives that mimic estrogen and can increase skin damage when exposed to UV light. No, thank you!
Fortunately, there are natural, non-toxic, vegan-friendly alternatives.
Josie Maran makes Argan Love Your Lips Hydrating Lipstick. Made with Maran’s signature organic argan oil, this medium-coverage product promises to hydrate, pigment, and gloss your lips.
Couleur Caramel Lipsticks come in both matte and pearly shades and contain castor oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, and olive oil for some seriously nourishing lipwear.
For this tutorial, I’m using Tarte’s glamazon™ pure performance 12-hour lipstick in “fierce.” It contains mango, avocado, and shea butters to keep lips moisturized. I would describe “fierce” as a middle-of-the-line red—that is, it doesn’t lean towards either blue or orange. Cooler, blue-based tones suit pink-toned skin while orange-based lipsticks are better for warmer complections. Finally, if you’re going to rock a bold lip, keep the rest of your face fairly neutral. For example, pair flesh-toned eye shadow with a moderate amount eyeliner.
Step One: Prep your lips. Gently exfoliate lips with a damp washcloth and pat dry. Apply foundation or concealer around the lip and over the natural lip line. This softens any redness around the lips while providing a canvas for a clean lip line.
Step Two: Use a lipliner to draw a precise line around your lips. Begin with the “V” of the cupid’s bow and slowly drag line to the corners of the mouth. The purpose of this step is to prevent pigment from bleeding and looking smudged. It’s always great if you have a matching lipliner for this step. If not, it’s also okay to use a neutral liner. I’m using Origin’s Sheer Stick in “pink lemonade.”
Step Three: Fill in the entire lip with your lipliner. This acts as a primer for your lipstick, helping it stay longer.
Step Four: Apply lipstick with a lip brush. My world turned around when I began using a lip brush since it makes precise application much easier to achieve. Begin at the corners of the mouth and work inwards. Blot with a tissue and apply another coat.
Step Five: Dab gloss on the center of your bottom lip to create the illusion of a fuller lip. I’m using Josie Maran’s Argan High Gloss Lip Quench.
Step Six: Don’t forget to smile and wear your look with confidence!
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Photos: Eric Luttrell, Josie Maran Cosmetics, Couleur Caramel, Tarte.