"There's something so joyful and expressive about a festive red lip!" says Gucci, who suddenly finds herself reaching for a bolder and brighter shade around the holidays. "Even if you're not someone who might normally entertain the idea of a vibrant pop of color, it feels like a free pass to try something special and go full-on!" This month, just in time for a flurry of parties, she's launching Westman Atelier's very first lip color offering. Featuring four saturated shades—"a striking tomato, a deep wine, a soft and wearable everyday red, and the prettiest fuchsia pigment"—the Lip Suede compact comes in a lacquered case that fits into even the tiniest evening clutch. Here, Gucci shares her best pro tricks for prepping your lips, choosing the perfect shade, and fool proofing your red through the New Year Eve's countdown and beyond.
There's More Than One Perfect Red
There are no rules when it comes to the right red—except this: Go with what makes you feel good. "I like having options, and a palette lets you custom blend or adapt the color to your mood in the moment," says Gucci of the impulse behind the Lip Suede compact. She also likes La Bouche Rouge's refillable bullet and Chanel's Rouge Allure Liquid Powder for big night events. If you don't know where to begin with choosing your shade, this general rule can help: "On skin that has pink undertones, or tends to flush, a bright tomato lipstick with orange undertones looks so pretty," she says. "If your skin is olive or deeper brown, reds with a blue or cherry undertone are super flattering." True alabaster complexions with a neutral undertone "can do almost anything."
This Supermodel Lip Prep is Everything
"Concentrated pigment clings to dry areas and can look patchy," says Gucci, who takes a quick minute to asses how dehydrated her lips are before applying an intense lip color. Years ago on set, "Gisele Bündchen taught me to use a washcloth and warm water to exfoliate your lips. It's easier and less messy than a scrub and damn it works!" Afterward, Gucci dabs a clear balm onto clean dry lips and lets it sit for a bit. Favorites include Omorovicza's clean formula for its perfect texture and By Terry's Baume de Rose for its excellent hydrating properties. "You don't want one that's too slippery or it will interfere with your color application."
Consider Your Goal: Parisian Chic or Juicy Stain?
Technique makes a dramatic difference when it comes to a knockout red: Pressing on the color with your fingers gives a more diffused, soft-focus effect. "If you want a lip that's more of a visible contrast with your skin, a brush adds definition." To refine the color that much more and keep it from bleeding, she follows up with a little bit of foundation around the edges of the lips. "I use a detail brush, which is also a great way to fix the shape or clean up little mistakes. Just make sure you use a pointy Q-tip to blot away any excess foundation afterward."
Make It a Smudge-Proof Situation
"Who wants to stress about touching up their lipstick all night at a party?" says Gucci. A matte formula has more staying power than a sheer or satin-finish pigment, which is why it's her preferred texture for nights out. The Lip Suede palette contains high percentages of active cherry and marula oil to make sure pigments are never drying. Alternately, "you could dab a tiny bit of balm on top, only at the center of the lips where it won't bleed, for a juicy look that's low-maintenance."
It's All About the Big Picture
If you're wearing a red dress, "I think it's really beautiful to offset it with your lip color, rather than match it," she says. For example, a rich bordeaux lipstick with a vermillion party frock. On the rest of your face, "I like to keep it really fresh," says Gucci. "With luminous skin, mascara, and clear shine on eyelids, a red lip has this boom effect in the very best possible way."