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A red lip is the champagne of holiday makeup: It’s elegant, festive, and when you see it, you know it’s a real occasion. But which is the perfect red to wear should you happen to find yourself under the mistletoe at just the right moment? And once you’ve found your holy-grail holiday red, how to make it last through the parade of parties? Allow us to help steer you in the right direction.

Now that party season is in full swing, the first step is to find your scarlet type. As a general rule, you’ll want to use the following guide based on your skin type:

Cool and Collected.
Fair complexions should play it cool; bright reds with blue undertones add vibrancy and have the added bonus of making teeth appear whiter. Try Shiseido Rouge Rouge in Poppy.

Complexion Perfection.
Orange-based brick reds flatter medium and olive complexions since they help erase sallowness. Try Shiseido Lacquer Rouge in Blaze.

Bold and Bright.
As for dark complexions, high-pigment orange reds and bordeaux stand out without the risk of appearing milky or pasty. To keep any bright red from looking too jarring, try a raisin or bronzy-brown lip pencil to blur the outer edges of your lips so they meet the skin in a less drastic way. Try Lise Watier Baiser Satin Liquid Lipstick in Infernal Kiss with Twist & Sharp Automatic Lip Stylo.

And now here’s how to perfect red lips in six easy steps.

1. Hydrate.
As any lipstick lover knows, the secret to a good formula is staying power. A quick pre-application prep in the form of a swipe of moisturizing lip balm is key.

2. Prep.
While you’re applying foundation to your face, take your sponge and lightly apply it to the surface of your lips as well. This creates a strong base for the lipstick to hold.

3. Line.
Using a lip liner that is as close to the same shade as your lipstick, outline the perimeter of your mouth first to create depth and contour. Then fill in the entire lip with the pencil. This helps the colour penetrate the lips better and stops it from looking too drawn on.

4. Colour.
Starting from the centre of the lips and working outwards, apply your lipstick in small, heavy strokes. Regardless of whether you’re going for a glossier or more matte lip look, you’ll want to use a lip brush to allow for effortless application and create a super precise pout.

5. Blot.
To ensure your lipstick lasts past the first glass of punch, gently blot your lips with a tissue before you head out the door.

6. Seal.
Finish with another layer of lipstick using the same application process as before. And just in case, carry the tube with you along with a small, chic mirrored compact for needed touch-ups.