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Marilyn’s cherry kisses seduced the world in the ’50s; Sade brought her own sleek, power-babe vibes to classic rouge in the ’80s; and today, Taylor Swift charms with “that red lip, classic thing that you like.” Then and now, bold crimson lipstick is as iconic as the women who wear it. Though the look is definitely timeless, the most modern way to sport it is with a shine-free finish, as seen all over the Spring 2017 runways.

Matte red lips were the backstage stars at Giambattista Valli, Valentino, Olivier Theyskens, and Mary Katrantzou—and at Creatures of the Wind, key makeup artist Mark Carrasquillo was so committed to the flat finish that he dusted red blush over painted lips to eliminate any sheen. The result was stunning on the catwalk, but don’t worry, we’ve got an easier way to get the look for every day.
  1. Get off to a smooth start. 
    Matte lipsticks tend to be less forgiving than their glossy counterparts—picture how a shiny top coat reflects light away from any small imperfections in your mani—so a flawless base is crucial. Begin by exfoliating to get rid of any flakiness. A lip scrub, which is specifically formulated for the delicate skin on your pout, is ideal, but in a pinch, you can also massage balm into the area with a soft toothbrush. 

  2. Line your lips—invisibly. 
    Kylie Jenner ignited the overdrawn lip craze, but the faux fullness looks far better on Insta than it does IRL. Skip the red pencil and grab a clear one like Know Cosmetics No Bleeding Lips Secret Lip Liner instead. Trace the colourless tip along the skin at the edge of your lips to create a barrier that will help contain your colour and prevent it from feathering (when your lipstick seeps into the fine lines around your mouth).

  3. Go lightly.
    For long-lasting rouge, pick a lightweight liquid lipstick (we love Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Bawse, a true red) and work in super thin layers. Use the neck of the tube to wipe any excess formula off the applicator, then swipe the colour over your lips, pressing firmly to help it spread uniformly. Don’t worry about correcting your natural lip shape at this point; just cover your mouth in a light, even layer. Blot with a tissue to really make sure you’re left with just a veil of colour.

  4. Shift your shape.
    At this point, if there are any small adjustments you want to make to your lip line, go for it. (Doing it after you’ve applied the colour will prevent you from going overboard.) Rather than trying to find a perfect-match pencil, dip a lip brush into your liquid lipstick and use that to make your tweaks. Once you’re happy, add another thin layer of colour and blot again.

  5. Dab as needed.
    If you’re out and about and need a touch up, use a minimal amount, and pat the colour onto your lips rather than rubbing. This will help keep the outline intact, and also leave the previous layer in place while gently filling in the gaps. If you have a tissue handy, blot for good measure.