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How to Choose the Right Red Lipstick

There is perhaps nothing more classic in the world of makeup as iconic red lips. Crimson pouts instantly bring to mind Old Hollywood glamour, femme fatales, and timeless elegance. Red lipstick can instantly dress up an outfit, lift your mood, and make you feel like a star. It’s surprising how the color red on your lips can say so much without having to say a word. That’s why red lipstick will forever be an essential in any makeup collection. 

However, bold red lipstick can also be intimidating. You may have worn a shade of red once that didn’t work for you, and immediately--and erroneously--thought that red lipstick wasn’t a right look. You may not know which option to grab when standing in front of a huge wall of lipsticks staring right back at you, or scrolling online amongst endless options. Red lipstick may be something you want to rock, but where do you start when it comes to selecting the best shade? These doubts and questions can leave you giving up and going for a “safer” option. 

We want you to love your red lipstick, instantly know which shade of red is meant for your lips, and wear it with ease. That’s why we are sharing this easy-to-follow guide on how to select a fabulous red lipstick based on your skin tone, under tones, and the look you are striving to achieve. 

Your Skin Tone

When selecting the perfect shade of red lipstick, you will want to start by taking a look at your skin tone. The rule of thumb is that the lighter your complexion, the lighter your red lipstick (and other colors) should be. Accordingly, medium skin tones look great in medium shades, and dark skin tones are complemented by richer, more intense hues. 

Know Your Skin’s Undertones

Probably more important that your skin tone is your skin’s undertone. Not knowing your undertone can lead you to choose lipstick colors that are beautiful, but just don’t work well for you. To select the perfect shade of red lipstick, first take a look at your face in the mirror, preferably with a white sheet of paper held next to your skin. Does your complexion throw off more yellow, peach, and golden hues? If so, you are warm-toned. Is there more pink, blue, or red? Then, you are cool-toned. Neutral would be somewhere in the middle, and/or no visible undertones at all. The same concepts apply to your hair color. 

Next, look at your veins. If your veins are more on the blue or purple side, you are cool-toned; if they are more green, you are warm-toned. A color in the middle means you are neutral. Now that you know your skin’s undertone, you know to shop for red lipsticks in warm, orange-red colors if you’re warm-toned, and blue-reds if you are cool. 

What Mood and/or Style Are You Going For?

Sure, there is a bit of science behind which lipstick colors look best on you, but part of the fun of wearing red lipstick is just that--the fun. Red is an adventurous shade, so why not be adventurous with the lipstick you choose?! You can truly have a red lipstick for every mood and style. If you are going for a classic glam look, opt for a timeless red lipstick, that is neither too light or dark. Feeling edgy? Go goth with a red that is darker and moodier (or just try a true red with a shaded black liner). In a bubbly mood? Go for a red lipstick that is as light and bright as how you feel.