At first, I toyed with the idea of letting everyone off easy. Maybe, I thought to myself, I should just say “Find Your Best Bold Lipstick” and offer options, like coral or hot pink, for the red-lipstick-phobe. But I believe in standing up for what matters. And red lipstick matters. It matters because it’s fabulous, and you deserve fabulousness, even in sweats. Especially in sweats. Red lipstick is a game changer. It makes you look more polished, sophisticated, and confident. Also, it’s hot. (Not hot as in warm, hot as in cute).
Not convinced? My friend A.G. tried red lipstick and said it changed her life. Okay, she didn’t say that exactly, but she did say that she loves it, but her mother hates it. Which is pretty much win win. (Just kidding, mom!)
Fortunately, there are reds that work for absolutely everyone. Yes, even you. Safe bets for universal reds include MAC’s legendary “Ruby Woo,” Revlon “Fire & Ice“, and Chanel “Pirate” (the most popular shade in a six-shade range of universal reds called Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour). But like anything worth learning, there is an art to wearing red lipstick. Here, all you need to know to find and wear your best red lipstick ever.
1. Well Red
Now that you’ve learned whether you have cool, warm or neutral undertones, you can easily choose the best red lipstick for your skin tone. (If you don’t know your undertone, then you missed this post. Take a moment to read it now!) For a harmonious, and more subtle look, choose a warm red lipstick if you have warm undertones, and a cool one if you have cool undertones. For a more dramatic look, pick a lipstick with the opposite undertone. Here, the best red lipstick to harmonize with your skin tone, and my top picks in each category.
The Best Red Lipstick by Skin Tone
For Fair Skin with Cool Undertones
Look for… True red with a hint of pink, like a cherry red
BeautyMommy Pick: Nars Audacious Lipstick in “Jeanne,” $32
For Fair Skin with Warm Undertones
Look for… True red or bold orange-red
BeautyMommy Pick: Troi Ollivierre Lipstick in “George”, exclusively for J. Crew, $28
For Medium Skin with Cool Undertones
Look for… True red or berry red
BeautyMommy Pick: Rimmel “Kate” Lipstick in #1, a true scarlet, $4.99
For Medium Skin with Warm Undertones
Look for… True red or orange red
BeautyMommy Pick: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Creme in True Red, $4.99
For Dark Skin with Cool Undertones
Look for… Deep plummy red like maroon or raspberry
BeautyMommy Pick: Kat Von D. Studded Kiss Lipstick in Vampira, $44
For Dark Skin with Warm Undertones
Look for… Deep warm red like brick or crimson
BeautyMommy Pick: Iman Cosmetics Luxury Moisturizing Lipstick in “Wild Thing”, $9.99
2. Red Lipstick for Girls Who Don’t Wear Red Lipstick
Still not convinced? Ease into a crimson lip with these starter reds, in varying levels from beginner to advanced.
The Beginner Red
The “Not-Quite-Ready for Red” Red
The Advanced Red
The Grown Up Red
3. Apply Yourself
With red lipstick, application is everything. Here, 5 simple steps to applying the perfect red lip.
- Start with a clean, dry lip. If you want to apply lip balm, apply then blot first.
- Using a lip brush (preferred) or the tube, apply the first coat of color carefully. Keep the coat light and even.
- Line lips with a matching lip pencil or, for a softer less defined look, a clear lip pencil. (Applying lipliner after lipstick keeps the line more natural and less obvious).
- Apply a second coat of lipstick.
- Insert your finger into your mouth to remove any lipstick that might migrate onto your teeth.
That’s it! I hope I have been able to talk you through the sometimes daunting process of choosing the best red lipstick for your skin tone, and that you’re inspired to try it! It might just become your signature look!