Giambattista Valli SS17
Credit: Getty images

Sexy, bold, cool, kick-ass – is there any make-up product as transcendent and statement-making than the classic red lipstick? A go-to on the runway, red carpet and on the street, a swipe of red lipstick has proved itself as the off-duty IT-girl essential time and time again, but for many of us red lipstick can be intimidating to rock in real life. As it turns out though, we’ve been totally over thinking it. “I don’t like lipstick to be too perfect, like you’ve stuck a piece of paper on your face,” says make-up artist, James Kaliardos who has collaborated with MAC to create a capsule make-up collection out later this month.

Backstage at Giambattista Valli SS17
Credit: Getty images

“Even if you’re wearing a really dark shade, it should still look smooth and cool.” After seasons working backstage at fashion week and on countless famous faces including Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Victoria Beckham, Kaliardos has nailed his approach to applying red lipstick. “I love to use my fingers to create a stain,” he says. “I’ll roll a cotton tip around the outside, so even if there is a lot of product in the centre of the lip it softens and smoothes out to the same texture as your skin at the edge, and somehow looks more natural.”

Backstage at Giambattista Valli SS17
Credit: Getty images

A similar technique was used to create the cool-girl red lips at the Giambattista Valli Spring/Summer 2017 show. Using MAC’s new Retro Matte Lip Colour in Feels So Good, make-up artists Val Garland blended the edges out with a soft brush for a blurred, imprecise appearance. So grab yourself some cotton tips and perfect your crimson pout with these cult red lipstick buys below.

MAC, Retro Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Feels so Grand, $46. SHOP NOW

NARS, Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, $39. SHOP NOW

BurberryBURBERRY BEAUTY, Lip Velvet in Oxblood, $42. SHOP NOW

CHANEL, LE ROUGE CRAYON DE COULEUR Jumbo Longwear Lip Crayon in Rouge, $53. SHOP NOW