Red lipstick has long fascinated scientists and beauty editors alike as we all try to understand and quantify its everlasting appeal. Over time, we’ve learned a lot. Studies have shown that red lipstick makes you appear younger, more likable, more seductive, and, probably most surprising of all, more competent at work. And if that weren’t enough, at Prada’s fall 2016 show, the designer and makeup artist Pat McGrath provided one more reason to wear the classic hue—plus a trick for making it last all day.
Prada’s collection, which included sailor hats, military-esque coats, messenger-style bags, and a variety of prints, was inspired by the notion of an independent, world-traveling woman. “The color red on the mouth enhances that independence because, well, you can’t get more independent than a red lip,” said McGrath, who mixed together three different shades to create a “rich, matte shade with lots of dimension.”
And in the spirit of traveling, McGrath ensured that the models’ lip color would withstand more than just a journey down the runway. “The girls arrive early, so we have to make sure the lipstick stays on for six hours, even through eating and everything,” she said. So to render the shade bulletproof, McGrath prepped the lips with a layer of foundation, followed by a layer of concealer, followed by a dusting of translucent powder. “Only then do you put on your lipstick, which we did with both our fingers and brushes, skipping lip liner since we didn’t want it to look artificial.” And while the lip look involved multiple steps, McGrath kept the rest of the makeup as simple as possible so as not to compete with the statement-making shade—a shade that, as McGrath summed up, “is a symbol of bravery and strength,” which is reason alone to once and for all give the bold hue a go.