When crafting a red lip that lingers between classic and modern for model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s VIOLET GREY cover story, makeup artist Kate Lee calls upon a unique strategy. “It’s no longer cool or sexy to heavily line your lips,” she explains. Instead a soft, but still defined, edge is the telltale sign of expert application. Lee’s meticulous, nine-step technique includes reverse lip liner by way of concealer, blotting papers, and matte lipstick.
The 9-Step Red Lip Tutorial
By Kate Lee
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CAREFUL COLOR CONSIDERATION Equally important to the application, is selecting the right shade of red. Lee chose Chanel’s Rouge Allure Velvet Intense Long Wear Lip Colour in La Malicieuse for its rich blue undertone, a tried-and-true Hollywood trick to make teeth appear whiter and eyes brighter.
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KISS, KISS, PAT, PAT Create a delicate outline by making a kissy shape with your lips first, then gently patting and pressing the lipstick onto your pout with the pad of your ring finger. This technique allows for the pigment to stay within the boundaries of the outer lip line.
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ESTABLISH THE SHAPE Once you’ve applied a thin layer of product, the natural crest of your mouth will be more visible. To complete the application, remember to stay within the crest’s perimeter when lining and filling in the lips.
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STAY INSIDE THE LINES Working from the inside center of your pout and moving out, smooth lipstick directly from the tube onto the lips. The goal is to apply a full coat of lipstick without encroaching outside of the soft outline you created in step two.
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STRETCH THE SMILE Next, subtly polish the outline of the lipstick. To do so, force a smile that stretches your pout. Doing so will make the outline of your lips more clearly visible.
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DEFINE THE EDGE The key to a natural-looking border is a curved lip brush, which will naturally hug the undulations in your mouth’s shape. Chanel’s Pinceau Levres Biseauté Angled Lip Brush #33 allows you to draw a perfect line on a curved surface. Begin with a clean brush and gently blend the product you applied in step four over the entire lip, further smoothing and defining the border.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOTTING PAPER Instead of tissue, use blotting paper to remove excess oil and waxes while leavings the pigment behind. When you paint on another coat, your lips will have twice as much pigment and half as much emollient.
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SHARPEN THE SHAPE For further contrast, call upon concealer to act as a reverse lip liner. “Use a shade slightly lighter than your skin,” Lee says, who opted for By Terry’s Touche Veloutée Highlighting Concealer Brush. Carefully follow the brush tip around your lips and blend well with your fingertips to soften any harsh lines of demarcation.
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SMOOTH FINISH Using the curved lip brush, apply a second dose of pigment to your entire pout.
“I was one of those irritating kids who always knew exactly what they wanted to do,” explains British makeup artist Kate Lee of her once precocious nature. Pressure from guidance counselors as a child to aspire to hair styling instead of makeup—an easier endeavor in her small village in Yorkshire, England—had no effect compared to her mother’s influence. “She was quite glamorous, she wore no less than three sets of false lashes per day,” Lee says. Now the Los Angeles-based artist faces wildly-different challenges, such as preparing clients like Anne Hathaway, Diane Kruger, Rooney Mara—and long-time friend Rosie Huntington-Whiteley—for the red carpet and magazine covers, from Vogue to GQ.
Eyes and brows are my SIGNATURE, but the most important element to every look is always the skin. You should be looking at the quality of the COMPLEXION, not the makeup.