Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

Wearing red lipstick is empowering. Hand us a good, liquid lipstick that doesn’t budge and we instantly feel like we can take on the world. But while our love for a fiery red lip color runs deep in our makeup-loving veins, sometimes those matte formulas that don’t budge leave behind a stubborn red stain that seems impossible to remove without harsh scrubbing. To figure out the best methods to remove that annoying red lip stain without scrubbing our lips until they’re raw, we tapped our friend and Emmy-winning makeup artist, Andrew Sotomayor. Ahead, check out his tips and tricks on how to gently remove and even prevent the red lip stain in the future.

Tip #1: Use an Oil-Based Makeup Remover, Then Use a Wipe 

“The best way to remove a bright red liquid lipstick is with an oil-based makeup remover,” says Sotomayor. “I recommend using this to dissolve all of your makeup, then splashing lots of warm water and finishing with wet cotton pads or a makeup wipe.” 

Tip #2: Use a Lipstick Primer to Prep Your Lips

“Prevention is really the best medicine,” says Sotomayor. “If you want to wear a color but also reduce the amount that it stains, sometimes a lipstick primer can help.” He recommends the Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil for its formula that helps lip color last but also creates a barrier between your lipstick and your skin so that the color stays on for only as long as you want. 

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Tip #3: Keep Lips Moisturized 

“Dry, rough skin is more absorbent and therefore stains easily,” says Sotomayor. That’s why it’s important to keep your lips moisturized at all times. He recommends sugar scrubs, like the Bite Beauty Agave+ Weekly Lip Scrub, which sloughs away rough skin. It also softens lips so that they will be plumped and moisturized, and therefore, less likely to get stained. 

Tip #4: When All Else Fails, Reach for Micellar Water or Foamy Cleanser 

“If oil isn't enough to dissolve your lipstick, sometimes a bit of micellar water or a foamy cleanser can help,” says Sotomayor. He adds that just a little drop goes a long way to ensure you’re not overdrying your lips but still can remove the left behind stain.

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