Your LBD is hanging in your closet, dry cleaned and ready to dance. You know which tees and heels pair perfectly with your favorite skinny jeans and you're not afraid to use 'em.
But when it comes to lipstick, your usually stylish self is stuck in a rut, one that most likely involves lip gloss in some shade of peach, plum or pink.
This week, I'm breaking out one of my special talents — the ability to carry off lips that are crimson, fuchsia, deep, dark purple and beyond — and sharing my secrets for moving from that safe shade of gloss to a sexy new hue that's just right for you.
There's only one thing you need to sport red lips: confidence. Contrary to popular belief, lips don't have to be plump or perfect to rock red but you do have to "own" the look. Lip liner is a must, as is lip primer, and, of course, a quality lipstick that's built to last. (Watching your red lipstick bleed hurts us as much as it hurts you.)
Step one: Exfoliate and moisturize lips.
Step two: Apply a coat of primer (I like Laura Geller's Lip Spackle).
Step three: Line lips with a nude liner or, if you're super steady with those hands, opt for a red liner.
Step four: Fill 'em in and get ready to flaunt 'em.
For super-long wear, blot lips with a tissue after step four, apply a translucent powder, and then fill lips in again with a creme or matte lipstick.
When it comes to hot pink lips, the don'ts are more important than the dos. Whether you call it fuchsia or magenta, the secret to wearing all shades of pink well is to skip the frost, gloss and sparkle. And yes, I'm talking to you — it doesn't matter whether you're 12 or 82. Hot pink lipstick works best in clear, crisp hues and matte or creme formulas.
Please don't try to match your hot pink clothes and accessories to hot pink lips. And skip the fuchsia with your animal print Roberto Cavalli.
Do think of that "haute" pink pucker as an unexpected element to complement an otherwise understated outfit.
Pucker up Purple
Deep, dark purple (think of an eggplant) is very of the moment thanks either to the world's recent obsession with vampires or our timeless infatuation with the lady as a vamp. Unlike red and pink, I prefer to see this season's purple as an imperfect stain on lips or a glistening gloss. While the darkest skin tones may find vampish purples extremely wearable, even fair-skinned ladies can opt for this season's uber-dark lipstick look by applying a swipe of lip balm topped with a dark purple lipstick of choice. Apply both with your fingers to achieve a chic once-bitten look for lips.
Try Sephora's Lip Attitude Star lipstick shimmers ($12 each) in Audacious Violet, a berry purple; Plum Vertigo, a sheer violet; and Cocoa Excess, a purple chocolate. Or, shine on with Love Junkie Lip Junkie Lip gloss from Urban Decay ($19).
SMACK! That's the sound of you kissing your basic, boring gloss goodbye.
Carolyn Brundage is the founder of www.TampaBay.PrettyCity.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.