A punchy crimson pout has an indisputably sultry appeal that’s at once classic and modern. It may feel extra daring to paint on a bright lip, but the bold hue’s secret is that it can be worn with anything—day or night—to cheer up a cold-weather beauty slump (and perk up a pale winter face) or add some vampishness to a date night ensemble.
French makeup artist Violette is particularly fond of using reds as a “beauty accessory” and points out the inherent Frenchness of the red lip on its own (that is, without much else on your face). A cherry lip (matte or glossy) is best worn with “old jeans, a white T-shirt, boots, and your boyfriend’s leather jacket,” she says with a wink, summing up an effortless look that anyone would do well to take for a spin. In honor of Valentine’s Day (although, really, you can wear red on any day of the year!), we asked Violette to name the five best reds she keeps on hand, and detail the perfect way to wear each.
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