Code 8’s guide to great red lips

December 10, 2021

Code 8’s guide to great red lips


There’s a lot to be said for a nude, pink or plum lipstick. But if you’re looking for a truly transformative colour, there’s only one way to go. Red. 

Bright, bold, beloved red.

  A red lip is timeless, it makes a statement, and can do wonders for your confidence. 

Whether you’re heading into the office or for a night out in town, a red lip shows everyone you’re ready for whatever the day (or night) throws at you. 

Red lipstick should be a staple in every makeup bag. But while many of us love the look of a bold red lip, not everyone feels they can pull it off. 

Just for the record: they’re mistaken. From crimson to claret, matte to gloss, there’s the perfect red shade out there for everyone. As long as you know where to look... 

Here are a few tips on how to pull off a killer red lip.


Find the right shade 

Let’s start by saying: Anyone can wear whatever shade of red lipstick they like. If it makes you feel good, it’s the right one for you. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by how many different shades there are, a few pointers might help.

First up, think about matching a red to your skin tone. Some shades will compliment your complexion more than others. For example:

-        Deep skin tones can handle more intense shades of red, so think brick reds or berry reds.

-        Darker complexions and cherry tones are a match made in heaven.

-        Olive skin looks great against orangey-reds (anything from coral to poppy). TryMatte Velour Lipstick in Pop Art for a shade that’s versatile, warm and fruity.

-        For medium tones, you’ve got the pick of the bunch. Anything from cool to warm to blue-based shades will suit your skin tone. Just stay away from those corals.

-        For light or fair skin tones, pick cool reds or berry reds that have blue undertones. These shades will make your skin tone shine. Code8’s Matte Velour Lipstick in Opera has blue undertones and brings a little Hollywood glamour to any occasion.

 When searching for the right shade for you, don’t be afraid to experiment. That doesn’t just mean swiping a tester across the back of your hand – actually apply the colour on your lips. If you’re testing lipsticks in store, use a tissue to wipe the lipstick bullet and use a cotton bud to apply.

 Experiment with different shades to see what looks good – and more importantly, to find out the shades you love wearing.


Decide on your finish

 Once you’ve chosen the perfect shade for your red-lip look, it’s time to decide on the finish - sheer, gloss, or matte?


For everyday wear, a sheer lipstick should be your go-to. Choose a lip tint like 5Secs Express Lip and Cheek Tint and you’ll get the hydration and repairing benefits of a lip balm and subtle colour, too. If you’re touching up on the go, this is the solution.


If you want a finish that turns heads, gloss is the one. Rich buildable colour that enhances lips and gives added dimension and depth. Code8’s Glazé Lip Lacquer creates a highly pigmented, semi-glossy film that melts onto your lips, leaving them beautifully hydrated. This is a glossy, glamorous finish that lets your lips shine.


At the opposite end of the scale from gloss is matte. A matte lipstick creates volume, the perfect lip contour, and long-lasting finish. Try Code8’s Matte Velour lipstick and you’ll get a modern, velvety look that glides on beautifully. It’s matte, but never flat.


Think about the whole look 

Whatever shade or finish you go for, a red lip is always going to make a statement. If you want to let your lips do the talking, give some thought to the rest of your makeup.

If you’re rocking a red lip during the day, keep your eye makeup simple. Or, if you’re dialling up the glamour on a night out, team those bright red lips with a smoky eye and a matching manicure. 

 But if deciding what other makeup to wear feels too much, don’t worry. Just evening out your skin with foundation and defining your eyebrows creates an ultra-modern look - and that might be all you need.

 For the rest of your look, it’s fair to say (almost) anything goes. Red is a neutral so can be worn with all sorts of colours and styles. Black, white, blue, tan, red, leopard, polka dot, even neon. Whatever your outfit, there’s a red to match. Go all out, or keep things simple. Just make red work for you.

Prep your lips for the perfect pout 

 Getting the red lipstick look just right can take time.  Prepping your lips is essential for avoiding dryness. Use a scrub or lip balm and blot away any excess with a tissue to prevent unwanted bleeding.

 Follow with a primer – not just on the lips but around the lip line, too. This will prolong the lipstick’s wear and help the colour stay exactly where you want it.

 Next up, lip liner. Use liner to define and amplify the outline and create perfectly symmetrical lips. For extra staying power, why not use it across your entire lip? For a foolproof, waterproof smooth finish, check out the Lip Surrealist Lip Liner and Lipstick Duo.

 Now you’re ready to apply your lipstick. Use a lip brush to fill the upper and lower lip with colour, blot, and reapply.

But let’s be realistic. Following a multi-step process to apply lipstick isn’t always practical. If you’re looking for a lip product that will hydrate, repair and leave your lips looking subtly sheer, why not try the5Secs Express Lip and Cheek Colour in Carmen? The colour is subtle, but long lasting and doubles up as a blusher to give your cheeks a healthy glow.

Is it time you rediscovered red? From marvellous matte to megawatt shine, we’ve got the perfect shade for you.