We happen to believe that every woman should have a red lipstick in her makeup bag. Red lipstick looks are classic after all, and the color pairs well with just about everything. You can jazz up an LBD or jeans and a T-shirt, all with red lipstick.
Yet, finding the best shade of red lipstick for yourself can be tricky. After all, that dark red lipstick you borrowed from a friend might inexplicably not suit you—even if it looks amazing on her. The answer is to let your skin tone be the guide, and play around with different finishes and shades until you find the one you like best. Follow our tips below to find the best red lipstick for your complexion.
HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT RED LIPSTICK FOR YOUR SKIN TONE
If you’ve been asking yourself, “What color of lipstick should I wear?” we won’t leave you in suspense any longer. While you may think that finding the perfect hue comes down to your skin tone, your undertones are really what is most important here. If you have pink or cool undertones, reach for a blue-red lipstick offering. Meanwhile, if you have warmer undertones, opt for an orange-red option for a flattering finish.
An easy way to tell what undertones your skin has is by looking at the inside of your wrists. If your veins are on the bluish side, you have cool undertones. If your veins are more green, you have warm undertones. If you can’t tell, you very well may have neutral undertones, in which case, both orange- and blue-based reds will look beautiful on you.
When it comes to what finish of red lipstick to choose, take your personal preference into account—whether you pick a red matte lipstick or one that’s shimmery or shiny, it’s totally up to you.
OUR BEST RED LIPSTICKS FOR EVERY SKIN TONE
If you’re ready to add the perfect red lipstick to your makeup repertoire, you’ve come to the right place. To get you started, here are a handful of gorgeous options—from bright red to burgundy—for every skin tone.
OUR BEST RED LIPSTICK FOR FAIR SKIN TONES
If you have fair skin, you may be hesitant to reach for a red lipstick. Don’t worry, we have you covered with the perfect shades to complement your skin.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in British Red: This blue-red lipstick is perfect for those with cool undertones—you’ll be rocking a traditional, bright red lip. The creamy formula also contains nourishing ingredients like omega-3, vitamin E, and argan oil to give your lips intense hydration.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Doesn’t Matte-r: You can rock a bold lipstick without toning things down or sticking to a true red shade. Try wearing a burgundy shade instead. The darker color, which suits those with cool undertones, is perfect for slightly more formal events. This is the way to embrace red lips without going too overboard.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Volcanic: Warm undertones, we’re looking at you! This bright orange-red lipstick is the perfect shade for those who want to flaunt a classic look.
OUR BEST RED LIPSTICK FOR LIGHT SKIN TONES
If you have light skin, you may be wary about a red lipstick being too harsh against your complexion. Never fear—your perfect red lipstick is here!
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Classic Wine: Try a slightly deeper red lip with this wine-inspired hue. The hydrating formula will nourish your lips while giving you luxuriously rich color. This deep red shade complements those with cool undertones.
L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain in I Achieve: Candy apple red lipstick makes for a gorgeous look. This orange-based red is perfect for those with warm undertones. The long-lasting matte liquid lipstick will feel so light on your lips, you’ll barely remember it’s there.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Raspberry Rush: This pink-red lipstick will coat your lips in a bright red hue worthy of your next Instagram selfie. And the orange base will look stunning on those with warm undertones.
OUR BEST RED LIPSTICK FOR MEDIUM SKIN TONES
There are a variety of red hues you can rock if you have a medium skin tone. Here are some of our favorites:
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in True Red: This rich, classic red lipstick is ideal for those who have warm undertones. The bright hue will contrast beautifully with your medium skin tone while the conditioning formula will help keep your lips hydrated.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Ruby Flame: This bright red lip has blue undertones that make it the perfect shade for those who have coordinating cool undertones. The formula provides luxurious color while conditioning your lips.
L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain in I Am Worth It: This blood red lip color offers a slightly darker take on a traditional red hue. With its blue base, it’ll be most flattering on those with cool undertones.
OUR BEST RED LIPSTICK FOR OLIVE SKIN TONES
If you have olive skin, you can venture into more daring hues. Here are some of our favorite red lipsticks for olive skin tones.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte at Bat: If you think that you can’t pull off red lips, this offering will make you a believer. Give classic red lipstick another chance with this orange-tinted red that looks amazing when paired with warm undertones.
L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain in I Don’t: Wearing a classic red lip when you have olive skin with cool tones is totally possible. This beautiful, bright, blue-red lipstick is exactly the complement you’re looking for.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Devil’s Matte-vocate Red: This rich red with blue undertones is just slightly darker than a classic red. Your lips will be coated in rich matte color while getting the moisture you need.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Blazing Lava: Matte formulas are not the end-all-be-all for red lipstick. This dark red offering has a satin finish and is a great match for all our gals with cool undertones.
OUR BEST RED LIPSTICK FOR DEEP SKIN TONES
It can be beneficial to have a deep skin tone when searching for red lipstick. Your dark complexion will be flattered by just about any red hue, whether you opt for a candy red or a sultry maroon.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Shine Lipstick in Enamel Red: This bright, orange-based red lipstick will flatter those with warm undertones. The ultra-rich formula provides comfortable wear and rich color pay-off with a glossy finish to top things off.
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Lip Crayon, Lasting Wear, Smudge Resistant in Caramel Rebel: Prepare to be dazzled by this rich and vibrant crimson red hue that’s perfect for matte lipstick lovers. This lip crayon offers smudge-free and feather-free wear that will become your favorite in no time.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Divine Wine: This dark, purple-red color will look seriously gorgeous against your deep skin tone. The blue-based lipstick is perfect for those with cool undertones and will give your lips ultra-hydrating color.
OUR BEST RED LIPSTICK FOR ALL SKIN TONES
While picking a lipstick based on your skin tone is a smart way to find a color that is sure to look stunning, there are a few shades of red that are universally flattering. Consider adding one (or all) of them to your makeup collection!
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte-ly In Love: If you’re in love with classic, true reds and old school swivel lipsticks, make sure to get your hands on this eye-catching hue. The rich pigment glides on smoothly to create a gorgeous lip look that will last through your morning coffee and after-work drinks.
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Stirred: Hey, true reds aren’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get in on this go-to look. Instead of rocking a bright, candy apple red lipstick, consider trying this dustier color, which blends red, nude, and brick hues for a more muted red lip.
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Matador: It can be hard to find someone that doesn’t love a good matte lip. Consider adding this lippie to your collection, so you can score a picture-perfect pout.
HOW TO APPLY A RED LIP
Determining which red lipstick will complement your skin tone best—and finding it in your favorite finish—is only half the battle. How you apply your red lipstick is an important part of the process, too. Here’s how to do it right:
STEP 1: PREP YOUR POUT
Putting lipstick on dry, flaky lips is a recipe for disaster. First, use a lip scrub to exfoliate dead skin cell buildup from the surface of your lips first.
STEP 2: PRIME YOUR LIPS
Use an invisible lip liner as a primer, filling in your lips, and then tracing along your natural lip line. This can help prevent bleeding and help your lipstick stay put all day.
STEP 3: APPLY YOUR RED LIPSTICK
It’s go time, so get to work! Pick up your red lipstick and smooth it onto your lips.
THE BEST RED LIPSTICK MAKEUP: HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR LOOK
Red lips are a total statement-maker, so you may be wondering how to finish your red lipstick makeup look. Consider choosing one of the following for the perfect makeup look to pair with your red lip.
OPTION #1: KEEP IT SIMPLE
Make your red lips the center of your look by keeping the rest of your face simple, fresh, and dewy. To get the look, use a lightweight, glowing foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation. It has a dewy finish that looks fresh off the runway. For best results, apply it with a makeup blender, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender.
Place a small amount of foundation on the pointed tip of the blender. Once it’s applied, use the bottom of the sponge in dabbing and rolling motions to blend it onto your skin. Top off your look with a coat of volumizing mascara, like the L’Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Washable Mascara in Extra Noir, and you’re done. Seriously, that’s it. When you wear red lipstick, it does all the work—so minimal makeup is all you need.
OPTION #2: AMP UP THE DRAMA
Just because you’re rocking a statement lip doesn’t mean you have to forgo a statement eye. Take your whole look up a notch by wearing a classic black smoky eye with your red lipstick. This is the perfect pair for a night out on the town or a special occasion.
OPTION #3: MAKE IT BRONZE
Bronze makeup is a personal favorite of ours, and it happens to be seriously on-trend at the moment. Tie your red lip makeup look together with a bronze eye. This pairing offers a great balance between subtle and dramatic. To get the look, start by painting your lids with the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow in Amber Rush. Then, define your crease with the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow in Bronzed Taupe. Finish your eye makeup with a few coats of the L’Oréal Paris Unlimited Lash Lifting and Lengthening Washable Mascara.
No makeup bag should be without a stunning pink lipstick, either. Find your perfect shade in our article, How to Find the Best Pink Lipstick for Your Skin Tone.