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How to wear red lipstick when you think you're gonna get the shift

Can you successfully smooch wearing a strong lip without smearing it all over your kissing partner’s face? Louise has the answers.


Hello and welcome to the first edition of Skin Deep with Louise McSharry. You may be wondering, who are you and why should I listen to what you have to say about beauty? Those are both fine questions.

I’m Louise, I do a radio show on 2fm and I wrote a book last year about my life. But none of that is relevant here. What is relevant here is that I am obsessed with makeup. Obsessed.

I have spent thousands of euro trying new products over the years, countless hours applying and reapplying makeup, and probable days reading articles and watching tutorials.

I’m also honest and direct, so I’m not going to BS you. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. I will endeavour to give you options across all budgets. I will do my best to make this column something you trust and enjoy. Here goes…


There are few things as joyful as a perfect red lip. Even without any other makeup, if you’ve found your favourite red, a good application can bolster your mood and bestow confidence. For these reasons, it is the perfect lipstick to wear on a first date. Until you start wearing the face off whoever you’re with while sitting on a high stool at the bar in a crowded pub, revolting the bar staff who literally can not avoid the visual you are creating. Or maybe that’s just me…

Anyway, there are some outfits and occasions which simply require red lipstick, despite the fact that the risk of it smearing across someone’s face in a mortifying fashion at some stage in the proceedings.

Fortunately, lipstick has come a long way, and these days there are options which look great, last, and transfer minimally. I’m talking about liquid lipstick, my friends, which is what I chose to wear on my wedding day, when only a red lip would do. At the time, choice was limited, so I ordered a Limecrime Velvetine online after my pal Lorraine demonstrated on her hand that it wouldn’t budge when it was kissing time. It worked, and looked great, but was quite drying.

download (1) Me on my wedding day, wearing said red lipstick! Louise McSharry Louise McSharry

Unfortunately, some drying is always the cost of wearing a liquid lipstick, so my first suggestion is to apply your favourite lip balm before you get to the hard stuff (I like EOS and Mac Prep and Prime for under lipstick, and recently have been enjoy L.O.V. Smoothing Lip Scrub if you want to go the extra mile). Blot off any excess so as not to diminish staying power, and it should stave off severe dryness. After all, no one wants to shift someone with flaky lips.

These days there are liquid lipstick options at every budget, but I have found that this is one product where you get what you pay for. There are good budget options like Nyx Lip Lingerie and Sleek Matte Me Liquid Lip Cremes, but the applicators aren’t great and they tend to be extra drying.

They also don’t react brilliantly to liquid, and tend to crumble a bit. They will give you the look, but perhaps not the feel you’re looking for when you’re planning on mashing your face up against someone else’s for a large portion of the night.

If you can afford to spend a bit of money, I recommend Kylie Jenner’s lip kits. The formulation is excellent and they are quite comfortable to wear with minimal drying. I think the secret is that you need very little product to cover your lips with opaque colour, so you feel like you’re wearing nothing at all (to quote Ned Flanders).

PastedImage-50537 Kylie Cosmetics Kylie Cosmetics

Mary Jo K is a great classic red, and one I wear enough to have bought a second time. Keep an eye on the Kylie Cosmetics social accounts (and Kylie’s own Snapchat) for occasional free international shipping which will reduce costs significantly. Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick is also solid, and you can buy that in Marks and Spencer Beauty Halls to avoid the shipping palaver.

If you’re not into liquid lipstick or don’t have the time or money to invest in one, you can turn a traditional lipstick into a matte with lasting power easily with translucent powder.

Apply one coat, blot and dust with powder, before applying a second coat and repeating. It won’t be as kiss-proof, but it’ll do a temporary job. My favourite reds in traditional format are Kate Moss’s range for Rimmel, Charlotte Tilbury’s Red Carpet Red and Mac’s Lady Danger.

If all else fails, wear your lipstick as normal, and when you feel like the smooching is approaching, nip to the loo and wipe it off, replacing it with a coat of the aforementioned lip balm. At this stage you won’t care and he won’t notice. Seriously. He probably didn’t even notice in the first place, because let’s be honest, the makeup is for you, not for him. And if it’s a her, she’ll admire your strategic and considerate mind. Go forth and snog, friends, and if you have any tips, share them in the comments!

New product alert!

Essence Essence

  • Essence are responsible for a long-time budget liquid eyeliner fave of mine, and their new Sponge Eyeliner is also excellent. You need your own brush, but one dip gives you the perfect amount of product and it glides on easily. It’s properly black too, as all eyeliners of this type should be, and only €3.80.

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