Fall Beauty: Mastering the Red Lip

October 3, 2013

Using my grandmother’s lipstick case.

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.


Josie Maran’s Argan Love Your Lips Hydrating Lipstick

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.


Couleur Caramel Lipstick

 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.

Tarte Fierce

Tarte’s Glamazon Pure Performance 24-Hour Lipstick

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 1

Step 1

 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 2

Step 2

Step Three: Fill in the entire lip with your lipliner. This acts as a primer for your lipstick, helping it stay longer.

Step 3

Step 3

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.


Blot by pinching a tissue between your lips.

Step 4

Step 4

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 5

Step 5

Step Six: Don’t forget to smile and wear your look with confidence!

Smiling 2

More in Beauty: Perfect Daytime Eye Makeup Tutorial

Splurge vs. Steal: Natural Deodorants

5 Trustworthy Brands for Vegan Beauties


Photos: Eric Luttrell, Josie Maran Cosmetics, Couleur Caramel, Tarte.

Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


always stay inspired!