How to Choose the Right Red Lipstick

How to Find the Perfect Red Lipstick by Mademoiselle Magazine

Four beautiful girls with red lipstick - mademoiselle lash

If you have been watching the red carpet you always see it and it makes you want it.  What am I talking about?  Not the dress…that bold red lipstick!!  The perfect red lip is a classic and elevated look that is timeless.  But how to find the right shade for you?  It’s like finding a unicorn.  Seriously, if you get something that’s not right for your complexion you can look older, too intense or just plain blah.  Don’t worry we are here to help.  This is your ultimate guide to finding the right red lipstick for your complexion.

What Undertone Am I?

First off, you need to find out: What is my Undertone?  If you’re already saying huh? Don’t worry…We got you!  So think of your skin as two layers.  So you have a fair, medium, olive and dark complexion but the layer underneath has its own tone; You are either a cool, neutral, or warm undertone.  Ok still confused?  We’re going tell you how to find your undertone.  There are a few ways and just to be sure you can test all of them.

First Test: Check out your wrist and more specifically your veins.  What color are they?  If your veins are bluish or purplish then you have a cool undertone.  If they are more blue-greenish then you have a neutral undertone.  And if you have green then you have a warm undertone.  If your veins on your wrists are a mix of green, purple and blues then you have a neutral undertone.

Second Test: This test requires some props.  So now you can get a gold necklace & a silver necklace.  Which one looks best on your skin?  If it’s gold, then TADA you are a warm undertone; if it is silver you are a cool undertone. And if you look fabulous in both then you are neutral.  Not convinced yet?  Don’t worry we have more.

Third Test: Now try on some clothes.  If you’re better in blues, greens and bluey-reds then you are more likely a cool undertone.  If you are better in yellow or orangey-reds than those then you have a warm undertone. And if you’re lucky enough and can wear all of the above, then you go girl. You’re neutral.

Fourth Test:  OK one last test…now time to think about what happens when you are out in the sun.  You probably don’t actually have to test it you probably just know this answer.  If you tend to tan under the sun and not burn, then you may be a warm undertone and if you don’t tan, you just burn then you have a cool undertone. Those who swing both ways, could be neutral.

Ok now we can dive into it.  Obviously you know your complexion.  So here is your breakdown based on your complexion & undertone.  Here’s how you use your undertones.  You’ll want to follow shades that have the same tones as your undertone.  But if you want some serious pop you’ll want to use the opposite tones of your undertone for the contrast in color.  Now for the color families that look best with your complexion.

Use this guide find that perfect red lipstick:

Close-up portrait of young beautiful woman with red lips

Fair Complexion

The best lipsticks for a fair complexion will brighten your skin tone.  For the fair complexion beauties, we recommend raspberry and cranberry hues to contrast, complement and warm up the cool pink undertones found in very fair skin with the cool-pink undertones in ivory skin.  Stray away from dark maroon-reds as they may have a tendency to give off a goth look.  For pale ladies with cool undertones, it’s generally better to stick to blue-pink based red lipsticks.  However, if your skin leans toward neutral or warm, you can also get away with some fiery orange-reds! The key is not to overdo the rest of your makeup, because those reds really stand out.  We recommend our Chili Creme de Matte Lip Lacquer for a fun red for your fair complexion.

Beautiful woman with medium complexion wearing red lipstick


Medium Complexion including Tan & Olive

Ladies with medium Complexions have the best luck because can get away with a lot – both darker and brighter red lipsticks look great.  Red lipsticks rarely run the risk of overwhelming your face, you can still have fun with your blush, contour, and eye makeup even while wearing a loud red lip.  Most medium skin tone ladies have warm undertones you can pretty much get away with anything.  Try a true red for a sexy evening look, burgundy for a sophisticated look or bright orange red for some fun try our Beso Creme de Matte Lip Lacquer or our Spicy Creme de Matte Lip Lacquer.  Medium skin tones ladies with cool undertones are hard to come by but if you are one then you should definitely stick to blue-based red lipsticks we suggest our Rouge Creme de Matte Lip Lacquer. 

Dark Complexion Woman Wearing Red Lipstick - Mademoiselle Magazine

Darker Complexion

Darker complexions can be a little tricky since red lipsticks often don’t necessarily register as red once applied to the lips. But that doesn’t mean that a traditional red lipstick doesn’t look incredible on women of color! A bright red lip looks fun and summery while a softer red becomes sophisticated lip enhancing color.  The lipsticks that will give you that true red effect will usually lean toward a little darker and look a little cooler while in the tube.  For a great color choice, try our Rouge Creme de Matte Lip Lacquer.





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