There is nothing subtle about the color red. And if you’re going to wear it on your face, you’d better come correct. There are a few ways to incorporate the classic red lipstick and more into your makeup slay, but as always, you want to make sure it enhances your natural beauty instead of becoming a not-so-flattering distraction.
Ahead, a few makeup artists with plenty of experience share the tricks you should keep in mind before rocking the color of love this Valentine’s Day and beyond.
Finding the Perfect Red Lipstick
It’s inevitable that you may consider rocking a red lippie on Valentine’s Day … or any other day for that matter. Wearing red lipstick doesn’t necessarily require a special occasion. There are more than enough options out there, but the key to finding a shade that works for you is knowing your skin’s undertones. We’ve got an expansive guide for discovering yours here, but according to Kirin Bhatty and Lisa Aharon celebrity makeup artists at Starworks Artists, the quick and easy answers are:
- Blue-based reds for fair skin with cool undertones, like Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Colour in Addiction
- Pink reds for medium-fair skin, like Hourglass Confession Ultra High Intensity Lipstick in I Live For
- Orange reds or classic brick red for tanned fair skin, like Laura Mercier Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick in Fire
- Orange reds for fair-medium brown skin, like CHANEL Rouge Allure Lipstick in Insaisissable
- Berry reds and orange reds for dark brown skin, like Chantecaille Matte Chic Lipstick in Dovima
Alternatively, New York–based makeup artist Lori Hamlin Penske says you can also start with a sheer lip color or stain when you’re not looking for something too intense.
“To apply, pick a shade you like and apply it to the tip of your middle finger,” she says. “Pucker your lips, then press color into the lip. Using your fingers allows the product to smudge perfectly. This gives the look of a ‘Kool-Aid’– or cherry-stained lip.” You should also be sure to treat the lips prior to application by exfoliating and applying a balm, like Inika Certified Organic Lip Balm, so the color will go on smoothly and evenly.
Is Red Blush Wearable?
When it comes to blush, pink is certainly the more popular color. But don’t sleep on red, either! Bhatty says that “all skin tones can wear a red blush. It’s more about finding your undertone and also identifying the intensity of the blush you want.” Aharon adds that red looks especially flattering on dark brown skin tones.
What really matters is how you apply it. According to Penske, face shape and age make a big difference, since we tend to have a more natural flush tone that requires less help when we’re younger. However, once our skin does start to change, we may feel the need to add more color. In that case, “apply blush just behind the apple of the cheek and blend upward and back.”
If you’re low on time, you can also use your lip color as a blush by lightly distributing along the cheeks. No matter what you do, remember to blend, blend, blend!
Making Red Shadow Pop
There’s no in between with red eyeshadow. Regardless of how much you apply, heads are definitely going to turn, based on the richness of it alone. If you want to create a lighter, more subtle flush of color, Bhatty says to use a fluffy brush “so that not too much color is deposited, leaving you room to build your look.”
When you’re looking for a more intense finish, Aharon suggests pressing it on with your finger or a medium-dense shadow brush. “Start near the lash line and blend upward and outward until you reach the crease,” she says. And if you really want that red to pop and be its most vibrant, don’t be afraid to layer cream and powder shadows together.
“Using a lid primer and also a cream-based product underneath the shadow will help intensify the color,” says Bhatty. And if you run out of shadow, Penske says you “can also apply it with a wet brush or mix it with Vaseline for a vibrant gloss.”