“There is nothing more chic and confident-looking than a woman who can swipe on a statement lip color and call it a day,” says NYC Makeup Artist, Mathew Nigara. Easier said than done.

From lopping off locks to sporting high-octane makeup hues, we all have our beauty fears. “I love when I see girls wearing bright red or pink lips, but I’m too afraid to try it myself,” says Makeup.com reader, Laura Claps. Instead, she plays it safe by coating her pout daily with a nude lip-gloss.  “Reds and neon pinks are so attention-grabbing, and my lips are super dry, so I’m afraid the bright color will emphasize flakes.” But with a little coaxing (and a few ingenious lip tips) from Nigara, Claps worked up the courage to pucker up to a fire engine red lip shade. Here’s how she faced her biggest beauty fear:

First, prime your lips by gently exfoliating them with a washcloth, and following up with a generous coating of moisturizing lip balm. “You need to begin with a healthy lip because the bold pigment will naturally bring out all flaws,” says Nigara.

 

Welcome matte

Apply a matte shade like Lancome Color Design in Red Haute or Bite Beauty’s High Pigment Pencil in Grapevine.  “The matte finish holds a lot of pigment and will last longer than other textures,” says Nigara. Add a bit of gloss to the middle of your bottom lip for some added depth and allure.

Keep skin au naturel

Add a slight flush to the apples of your cheeks with a cream blush, and keep your eye makeup low-key with just a shimmery neutral shadow and mascara.