It’s Gwen Stefani’s 47th birthday, and unfortunately, serenading Shelton and Stefani at her birthday dinner was out of the question. So keeping in true Billboard “Rock the Look” style, we figured the next best way to celebrate was by having the pop-punk icon’s makeup artist, Gregory Arlt, break down how you, our dear readers, can get Stefani’s signature red lip.
Step 1: Choose your color
“Both of us love a bright matte red,” Arlt told Billboard in an exclusive interview. “We stay away from brick reds and dark reds because they can get too sophisticated.” For the perfect bright matte red, go for something like Urban Decay’s Mega Matte Bright Red or MAC’s Ruby Woo.
Step 2: Prep your lips
Matte lipsticks dry out lips, making cracks and flakes more apparent, so be sure to always exfoliate beforehand using a lip exfoliate like Fresh’s Sugar Lip Polish. If you don’t want to spend the money, a dampened soft toothbrush rubbed in light circular motions also does the trick. Finish off with an ultra-hydrating lip balm like Aquaphor Lip Repair.
Step 3: Line the lips
When doing Stefani’s signature pout, Arlt likes to “stay within the line and just round out the center instead of making it pointed.” If you want a fuller look, stretch your lips and draw just outside the line, separating your mouth into quadrants and starting with the cupids bow. Make sure your pencil is sharpened and don’t be afraid to take things slow.
Step 4: Fill in the lines
“With any red lip, it’s all about filling in with a pencil,” Arlt says. Use the side of the pencil to shade inside the lines, working your way from the edge to the center. Using a lip crayon, like NARS Red Square, helps to smoothly coat the lips without any harsh lines or missing spots.
Step 5: Top off with lipstick
Because red is such a saturated hue, you want to make sure all the color stays on your lips and not on your skin. The best way to prevent any bleeding or missteps is to use a lip brush, like this one, for application. Using a lip brush not only ensures each line is precise, but it also helps to press the color in, making sure it lasts from morning till Stefani karaoke night.