We like to think of hot pink as red lipstick’s cooler, younger sibling. It’s a fresh take on the classic statement lip, and it’s what we around here call an “instant makeover.” If the thought that you “couldn’t pull off” the shade has ever come to mind, think again—if you have lips, you can wear hot pink lipstick, it’s just a matter of how you do it.
Bold lip colors look best with simple eye makeup, but that doesn’t mean you have to go bare. Brown shadow applied with a light hand offsets a vivid lip beautifully, as does a thin flick of black liner or an understated cat eye. Like red, a one-size-fits-all bright pink shade is hard to come by, but they do exist. We’re partial to NARS Pure Matte Lipstick ($26, narscosmetics.com) in Carthage, a true fuchsia that brightens up every complexion and undertone. For a glossier finish, try Lancôme Rouge in Love ($28.50, lancome-usa.com) in Pink Bon Bon, seen on brand ambassadress Lupita Nyong’o.
To get in on the hot pink game in a slightly more subtle fashion, a well-blended hot pink blush is the fastest route to a healthy, natural-looking flush, whether you’re pairing it with a full face of makeup or going relatively bare. The balanced tones in a true pink make it universally flattering, which is why it’s so versatile on so many different colorings.
It is possible to overdo a bright blush, so start with a light application, then build up to your desired intensity. We love cream formulas when using vivid shades, because they’re easy to blend, and the right formula provides a dewy glow that never looks streaky or clownish. MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Blush ($26, sephora.com) in 215 goes on super smooth and feels weightless on the skin thanks to a unique satiny finish. There’s also the excellent Stila Convertible Color ($25, stilacosmetics.com) in Fuchsia, a sheer, creamy tint that can be used on both lips and cheeks, making it perhaps the easiest, most multi-functional way to wear this look.
Read more: Top 10 Bold Lips