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Makeup artist Sam Fine and model Iman

Talking Pretty caught up with celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine at the 2011 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and asked him to spill his tips and tricks for achieving the perfect red lip and the must-have color of the season. Grab your pen and paper ladies, or key it into your favorite piece of latest technology. Whichever is your forte, you don’t want to miss this inside exclusive on how to give your pout some well-deserved scarlet fever. –mckenzie harris

What is a step-by-step guide to achieving a perfect red lip?

A perfect red lip… Long before you get to color and liner, it’s important to use a little bit of foundation and powder around the mouth. That’s going to keep it from bleeding. It’s going to make the lips look more consistent because a lot of women of color have varied tones around the mouth. Apply a little concealer and foundation, blot it, then use a lip pencil in either a brown or coordinating shade of your lipstick. Then, of course, apply your lipstick with a lip brush. I mean, if you aren’t using a lip brush, then you don’t want to look like Queen Latifah.

How do you know which shade of red is right for you?

Well, it’s your choice. You could rock an orange-red, if you have blonde hair, or a blue-red would look great as well. Blue-reds and brown-reds are traditionally deeper. Orange-reds and pink-reds are usually brighter because orange and pink take over. So, it’s important to think about if you have the same skin tones as Naomi Campbell, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, then you want a blue-based red or a true red because it will look true on you against your darker, deeper, more brown, beautiful skin.

What’s a great color that we should all be wearing this season?

I think orange is the go-to color this season because it looks great on our skin, and we’re seeing it trend on all of the runways. And I have to say, a lot of times when you look on the runway, you’re not seeing colors that really look great on us. So, orange … I’m so happy to see it in magazines because it’s actually something we can wear.

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