Guide to Red Lipstick

Have you ever said or heard anyone saying “I wish I could rock red lipstick, but it doesn’t look good on me.” This is a wrong idea because there’s a red lipstick perfect for every complexion out there. Red lipstick is a basic yet impactful beauty product that every glamorous woman must have. Red lipstick can help you channel your inner goddess of beauty and confidence, and can make you feel gorgeous and undefeatable. Anyone can wear it; a woman just needs to find out what shade works for her skin tone best. Here’s how:

1. Identify your skin tone

The first thing to do is to determine whether your skin tone is porcelain, fair, medium, tan or deep.

  • Porcelain (like Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett) – Porcelain skinned women won the red lip lottery and can pretty much get away with any red shade. Porcelain skin is like a blank canvas, so all reds are flattering. Reds with blue undertones work especially well. Avoid ultra-dark berry shades that can make you look like a gothic girl or a vampire.
  • Fair (like Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson) – Fair skin tends to flush and turn pinkish when subjected to sunlight. Complement a fair skin tone with cool-toned red lipsticks with hints of blue and purple instead of warm tones with orange. Raspberry reds and pinkish reds are perfect, too. These colors can make your fair skin look brighter and even make your teeth look whiter as you smile.
  • Medium (like Megan Markle and Kourtney Kardashian) – Medium skin tone sometimes burns but usually tans when under the sun. For this type, orange reds work great. Oranges mixed with reds and taupes work in harmony with medium complexions. Poppy reds and punchy wine reds also enhance the medium skin tone.
  • Tan (Like Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez) – As the word suggests, tan-colored skin easily tans and rarely flushes. Tan or olive skin can look stunning with full-on reds, such as orange-based reds, coral reds, bright cherry reds to deep merlot.
  • Deep (like Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis) – Deep or dark skin never flushes. For deep, chocolate-colored complexions, deep, bright reds are perfect. Pucker up with candy apple reds, dramatic maroons, deep raspberries, and warm brick red. Avoid anything too bright that can overpower your already powerful skin tone. 

2. Determine your undertone

Another thing to determine is your complexion’s undertone or the color underneath the surface. It can be classified as cool (pink, blue and red), warm (yellow, gold or orange) and neutral (both cool and warm). Some people think that all fair and pale skins are categorized as cool, and all tan and dark colored women fall into the war zone, but that isn’t true. A fair-skinned woman can have a warm undertone, and a deep skinned woman can have a cool one.

So how can you determine your undertone? Here are the following ways:

  • Check your wrists. Look at the insides of your wrists and check the color of your veins. If it appears bluish or purplish, you’re most likely cool. If they’re more greenish, you’re warm. If it’s a little bit of both, you’re a neutral.
  • Look at how your skin reacts to the sun. When you’re out and exposed to the sun, does your skin turn pink? If yes, you’re probably cool. If it turns tan or golden brown, then you’re warm.
  • Check your clothing and jewelry preferences. If your skin doesn’t react to the sun, think about your preferences in clothing and jewelry. Do you look better with blue, purple and greens along with silver accessories? Then, you are cool. If reds, yellows, and oranges suit you more and you tend to prefer gold jewelry, then you’re warm. If you feel like you fall into both categories, then you’re most likely neutral.

For cool undertones, fuchsias, berries, and blue reds will look stunning. For warm ones, coral reds, tomatoes and orange reds work best. However, there are no strict rules regarding beauty. If you think the shade from the opposite undertone looks great on you, then go ahead and wear it.

3. Choose your finish and texture

Besides the shade of red, you have to decide which finish and texture that will flatter your lips most. If you have thin lips, choose glossy, glam red lippies to make your lips look fuller. If you already have full lips, pucker up with a matte finish for a sexy red look.

Best Red Lipsticks

Here are our best red lipstick suggestions for your complexion an undertone:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

The Best Lipstick MAC Lipstick

CHANEL Rouge Allure Radically Intense Long-Wear Lip Colour in Eblouissante

Wander Beauty Lipsetter Dual Lipstick and Liner, Fuschia Class 

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso

Kevyn Aucoin Expert Color Lipstick in Jorjia 

Besame Cosmetics Classic Color Lipstick Carmine

Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick in Fire and Ice 

Neutral - MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in Ruby Woo

NARS Audacious Lipstick for Women in Lana 

Cool – Burt’s Bees Satin Lipstick in Brimming Berry

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Luminous Modern-Matte Lipstick in Red Carpet Red 

Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Lipstick in 111

Neutral - Rimmel Kate Lipstick in #1

Covergirl Colorlicious Rich Color Lipstick in Garnet Flame 


1. Porcelain

As mentioned earlier, anything goes with porcelain. But here are some top picks:

2. Fair

Strut your glamour and flair with these red lippies:

3. Medium

Bring warmth and radiance to your medium skin tone with these shades:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

Cool – Neutrogena's MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Rich Raisin

Lily Lolo Lipstick in Desire

Warm - Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color in Uncensored

Axiology Organic Lipstick in Worth 

Neutral – Dolce and Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Sassy

Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip in Mon Cheri

Cool - Rituel de Fille Forbidden Lipstick in Fortune Teller

Lancome’s Le Metallique Metallic Lip Lacquer in Rouge Magma 

Warm - ILIA Lipstick in Lucy’s Party

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Always Red

Neutral - Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave

Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Pomegranate

4. Tan

Tan is hot, and with red lipstick, you can get hotter. Here are your perfect shades:

5. Deep

The right red shades such as these can create a gorgeous contrast with dark caramel or cocoa complexions: