Is there anything better than a classic red lipstick? The tricky part is finding the right shade. “I truly believe that there are no rules when it comes to makeup,” says makeup artist Kristee Liu. “However, there are colors and shades that work better with certain skin tones.” We asked Liu and makeup artist Jeannia Robinette to walk us through the most flattering red lipstick shades for all complexions. Get ready to find your best red ever!
For Fair Skin Tones
“For pale skin, I tend to go for reds that are brighter, with a hint of blue,” says Liu. Robinette also recommends reds that have blue undertones for an “Old Hollywood glam look that is beautiful on the fairer-skinned woman.”
Confused about which colors have blue undertones? Imagine a color spectrum with orange on one side and dark purple on the other. If a red lipstick looks closer to orange in color than purple, then it has orange undertones. If the red is closer to purple in color, then it has blue undertones.
Why It Works: Liu says, “Reds with a hint of blue help to balance out pink or yellow undertones in your skin, and will also make your teeth look whiter!”
For Medium Skin Tones
“Bright and fierce orange reds look best on olive skin tones,” says Robinette. While Liu thinks any shade of red can look gorgeous on medium skin tones, she prefers reds with a hint of pink.
Why It Works: Reds with pink draw more light to the face, while wine-reds will make skin look more sun-kissed.
Their Picks: Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick ($30, sephora.com), Estee Lauder Signature Hydra Lustre in Rich Red ($22.50, esteelauder.com), and Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in #7 ($19, sephora.com).
For Dark Skin Tones
“For dark skin, I like orange-reds and reds that are a bit deeper, with some burgundy,” says Liu. Robinette agrees, saying burgundy gives a more modern and sultry look.
Why It Works: “Orange-reds will make dark skin look warmer and more glowy. Burgundy reds will add depth to the face,” says Liu.
Their Picks: Chanel Rouge Allure in Incandescente ($34, chanel.com), Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Créme in Icon ($30, barneys.com), and Giorgio Armani ‘Rouge d’Armani’ Lipstick in #609 ($30, nordstrom.com).
When trying out these shades, Liu suggests wearing red lipstick while you’re doing things around the house. Any type of red will look shocking initially, but once you’re able to get used to it, then you’ll be able judge whether a particular shade is right for you.
No matter how gorgeous your lip color is, it won’t look cute when it’s all over your teeth. Before leaving the house with your new bright lip, take your index finger and put into your mouth and close your lips around it as you take the finger out of your mouth. It may seem weird, but it’s a great way to take the excess lipstick off.