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How to Wear Bold Lipstick

Updated on September 28, 2008

General Information

When wearing bold lip colours, it is extremely important for your lips to be hydrated and smooth. If your lips are chapped, exfoliate them by mixing a little water and sugar together and scrubbing the mixture gently on your lips. After washing the product off, follow with some hydrating lip balm, preferrably more greasy than waxy for added moisture.

As a note, it is worth the cost to buy a lip primer; this waxy-looking, clear product literally primes your lips, so the lipstick will adhere better and last longer. As well, it doesn't hurt to buy lipliner in a shade as close to the lipstick as possible, especially if your lips are on the smaller side. Lip liner acts as a sort of frame for your lips; it helps you see where to apply the lipstick and also adds a more polished look. Remember to keep the lipstick matte, making sure it doesn't contain gloss or sparkles, etc.

Also, when first experimenting with bold lipsticks, you may not feel comfortable wearing them matte at first. Don't worry, a little hesitation is normal. But if you do find yourself nervous after applying the lipstick, simply add some gloss on top of the lipstick and mix your lips together. Now you're wearing gloss, not lipstick.

You should only refrain from doing this if you're wearing bright pink lipstick and you are past your mid-30's, as the look may resemble an 80's flashback and age you.

Remember, lipsticks in bold colours are meant to be fun and playful, so have a good time wearing them. At the same time, a bold lip can also be classy, especially with lipliner, so it's definitely a look that is office-appropriate. Keep your other make up minimal and add a little confidence, and you're off!

Examples of Lipstick Shades: Red, Pink, Berry and Mocha

A classic red lipstick that's sure to look great on anyone and transition effortlessly from day to night.
A classic red lipstick that's sure to look great on anyone and transition effortlessly from day to night.
A gorgeous modern, brick-red lipstick.
A gorgeous modern, brick-red lipstick.
A bright, super-feminine pink lipstick. You go, girl!
A bright, super-feminine pink lipstick. You go, girl!
A shade of pink for the less adventurous... don't worry, you'll work your way up to bright pink!
A shade of pink for the less adventurous... don't worry, you'll work your way up to bright pink!
Two great berry shades. The lipstick in the gold tube is for those with smaller lips; the lipstick in the black tube is a darker shade.
Two great berry shades. The lipstick in the gold tube is for those with smaller lips; the lipstick in the black tube is a darker shade.
A sensational dark mocha lipstick that looks stunning on brunettes.
A sensational dark mocha lipstick that looks stunning on brunettes.
As the packaging says, that's a sexy gold lipstick! It's a twist on mocha that's perfect for blondes and those with smaller lips.
As the packaging says, that's a sexy gold lipstick! It's a twist on mocha that's perfect for blondes and those with smaller lips.

Classic Red

Many women shy away from this vibrant hue, but it can be pulled off rather easily. Best of all, a classic red lip is becoming on all women, no matter what skintone or age.A very bright lipstick is for a more 50's look, and for those with smaller lips, whereas a brick-red lip is more modern, and more for autumn.

Have no fear of bold lipstick! Toss away your foreboding. It's a look that's classy and easily done, trust me. Be fearless, young grasshopper, and you will learn much! ;)

Haven't run away in terror? Congrats to you! You'll be well rewarded for your bravery.


  1. To start, lightly apply the lip primer to lips; don't worry if you don't have lip primer handy, it's recommeded but not essential.
  2. Next, follow the outline of your lips with the lipliner, being careful not to press to hard and to draw neat lines. If your lips are on the smaller side, draw your lipliner on a little above the natural line of your lip, so as to make your lips appear fuller. Be careful when doing this; you don't want to stray too far from the natural contours of your lips, or this will look artificial and overdone.
  3. After you have lined both your upper and lower lips with liner, fill in lips with red lipstick, applying the lipstick either with a lip brush or with your fingers, to avoid applying too much product.

  4. Smooth your lips over several times with a finger or a lip brush, to ensure even distribution of the lipstick. Mix your lips together a couple of times if you are having trouble.
  5. For the final step, lightly blend the lip liner down into the lipstick to soften the lines around your lips, again using your finger or a lip brush.

Voila! You know have a perfectly painted, bold, classic red lip!


When you ever have a bold lip, make sure that the rest of your make up is subtle and complementary to avoid looking trashy or overdone. As such, complete your look with only mascara, if you feel like playing it safe. For the more adventurous, or for a more night-appropriate look, create a subtle cat's eye with black liquid liner on the top lash line only, winging the liner out slightly at the corners.

For day, a cute pencil skirt (particularly tweed or hound's tooth) with a frilly, or lacy blouse is a stunning combo. Red patent leather pumps or black leather boots work well too. To keep the look classic and 50's retro, keep your clothing and accessories white, black, red, and navy. For night, this look is great with an ultra-feminine little black dress, or for an edgier approach, with black skinny jeans and leather boots.

Bright Pink

This look is a bit more risky than a classic red lip, and so I suggest trying this shade only after you've tried red lipstick if you're more of a sheer gloss kind of girl. Still scared? Never fear. Try out a slightly more subdued pink lipstick first, then go for a brighter pink. Be brave!


  1. As before, start with lip primer if you have it. This increases the staying power of the lipstick. Although I recommended lip liner when wearing red lipstick, it's optional for pink, as the look is less formal and more playful, so it's your call.
  2. Next, apply the pink lipstick with your fingers or a lipbrush, applying the colour first in the centre of your lips and pushing the colour outwards. Be sure to blend well.

You're all done! Now don't you just look great?


As with any colour of bold lipstick, keep your other makeup minimal. White, shimmery powder dabbed on the inside of your eyes, near your nose, and spread out just under the eyebrow is simple and makes you appear fresher. You could also try applying a light, orangey-pink eyeshadow on your lids. Finish with mascara.

Pink is a fresh and almost innocent shade, so if you're in a girly mood, do it justice with frilly, lacy clothes from head to toe, in shades of white and pastel colours. This is an exceptionally cute look for spring. In colder weather, pair your bright pink lip with pale yellow and orange clothing, as well as with grey and black. Whatever the season, it's definitely a cute, ultra-femme look.

WARNING: do NOT wear orange and black together, or risk looking like a Jack-O-Lantern!

Berry Shades

This is definitely a more fall/winter sort of look, as it pairs better with the colours of those seasons. A berry lipstick with bluish undertones will make your teeth appear whiter: keep that in mind! So you've stored your berry lipstick away for fall, and luckily for you, it's finally autumn. So let that berry lipstick share in the limelight!


  1. Again, start by applying lip primer, if you have it. Just a light coat will do.
  2. For this look, try not to use lip liner. Berry shades work better as a stain, so you want to keep the look natural. Because there is so much less work involved, this is by far the easiest shade to pull off! Use your fingers, not a lip brush, to spread the colour over your lips, starting at the centre of your lips and working outwards. Because you're not using liner, be careful not to apply the lipstick outside of the natural lines of your lips, and blend well.
  3. You could just stop here for a matte berry lip, which is great, but there is the extra step you could take, and I know you're the type of girl to do it! It's simple, really - just take a paper towel (NOTE: NOT A TISSUE OR TOILET PAPER), and blot. That is, gently press the paper towel to your lips several times. This removes some of the product and leaves you with a berry stain.

How chic and modern you look!


As before mentioned, this look should be reserved for fall/winter. Try a subtle golden shade on your lids, or possibly a small amount of deep purple eyeshadow in the creases of your eyes if you're sporting a berry stain. Complete the look with mascara.

Pair your berry lip/stain with deep purples, dark, rich browns, burned oranges and dark tan coloured clothing. Buttery leather boots and bags in light tan or rich chocolate brown go well with the look. Dark leggings also look very mod and cute with a berry lip. Remember that if you have smaller lips, opt for brighter berry shades, with more pinks, purples, and blues to avoid very dark hues that will make your lips look smaller.


Despite the lack of brightness of a mocha lip, it is still a bold lipcolour. Because of the lack of brightness, I recommend buying a creamier lipstick than say a red lipstick, as the creaminess will give the mocha colour added shine and luxury. Although coffee shades can be one of the most intimidating colours for many women, you needn't fear. Mocha shades are universally flattering, and with my help, you'll have a polished pucker in no time!


  1. Lip primer, lip primer. You know the drill.
  2. For a mocha lip, it's best to use lipliner, to give yourself some boundaries when applying the colour, and also for more polish. Rim your lips carfully, make the lines neat. As before mentioned, draw the line a little higher than the natural line of your lip if you have small lips. Also, stick with a lighter, more golden shade of brown if you have smaller lips.
  3. Apply the colour with a lip brush or apply directly from the tube; it's not adviseable to apply the creamy lipstick with your fingers. As always, blend well.
  4. For the last step, ever so gently blend the lines of lipliner down into the lipstick with a lip brush, or with a Q-tip if you don't own a lip brush.

Don't you look super-sophisticated!


The dark hue of the lipstick makes mochas a very fall/winter make up look. You can accompany the look with brown eyeliner smudged into your upper lash line, and half of your lower lash line. Be sure to blend well. A light shade of brown blended into the crease of your eyes makes the eyes pop. Don't forget a swipe of mascara. Wear brown clothing, in golden tones or rich chocolate browns.

For added luxury, wear buttery leather shoes and bags in chocolate brown and cremy tan. Metallic acessories, like a golen-hued belt, add shimmer and glitz to the look. Mochas look best on brunettes, but blondes can also sport mocha hues if there is a golden hint to the lipstick.

What's Your Shade?

Which Shade of Lipstick Do You Prefer?

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    • ms_independent profile image

      Celine 8 years ago from Canada

      no problem, my pleasure :)

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      Superdork 8 years ago

      this is a fantastic article thx a bunch