What could make a girl look more instantly glamorous than a lusciously bold red lip? Icons like Marilyn Monroe and today’s celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and Katy Perry have utilized the power of the red lip on the red carpet. Why not try it yourself at your next cocktail party or night out on the town? Follow these basic steps for a ruby red pout:

1. Prime your Lips: You wouldn’t put foundation over dry flaky skin, so don’t do the same with your lips, especially when it comes to using a bold color like red. First, exfoliate your lips so they are nice and smooth. You can do this with your favorite lip exfoliant or with a simple sugar water paste. Rinse off, dry, and apply a lip primer like NP lip primer ($15 Target).

2. Line your Lips: Lip liner is always a must for red lips. Not only does it help create a shape-defining line, but it keeps the color from fading out of the corners of your lips. For red lips, I recommend “Brick” or “Red Enriched” lip liner by MAC ($13 – $14.50 maccosmetics.com). Line your entire lip with the pencil; then go on and fill in most of your lip with the liner. This will give your lipstick staying power.

3. Time for Lipstick: Now it’s time to actually apply the lipstick! What shade you choose depends a lot on your skin tone. If you have pink undertones to your skin, give “Ruby Woo” by MAC a try ($14). It is a lovely bluish-red that compliments cool skin tones. Those with yellow undertones would be better suited for MAC’s “Lady Danger,” which is a bright coral red ($14). Medium olive skin tones will look great in “Heat Wave” by NARS, a nice red with a warm undertone. Darker skin tones would be best suited with a deep burgandy or brownish red such as “Ruby Vines” by Benefit ($18) or “Dubonnet” by MAC ($14).

Use a lip brush to put on the lipstick for a precise application.

4. Almost Done!: Now blot your lips with a bit of tissue, apply some clear gloss to add some shine, and head out on the town, hot stuff!