Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Beauty Discovered

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Choose the Perfect Red Lipstick

Share your best tips and tricks for choosing the right red lipstick!  Feel free to share your first experiences, how you’ve grown, what you’ve learned, and what, ultimately, you found most helpful in learning how to choose the right red.  (And if you haven’t conquered it, hopefully some of these tips will help you get there!)

Temptalia’s Tips

  1. Deeper, darker reds are always more universally wearable than brighter reds.
  2. Naturally, warm-toned reds (those that are orange-based) tend to be more flattering against warmer complexions, while cool-toned reds (those are that are blue-based, and often, those that look pink when sheered out) tend to be more flattering against cooler complexions.  Cooler-toned reds are more universally wearable than warm-toned reds.
  3. Look for a formula that isn’t too creamy, thick, or “feels” like a balm or gloss, as these formulas are more prone to bleeding. (They can, of course, be nice and wearable, but they might take more work to apply/prep for.)

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46 thoughts on “How to Choose the Perfect Red Lipstick – Tips & Tricks

  1. My tips for wearing red are

    1. Prep your lips with a balm, but make sure to wipe almost all of it off before applying the red. It will make a huge difference in how to lipstick applies.

    2. Use a lipliner. A lot of younger girls don’t think lipliner is necessary, but with a red color any mistake you make in the application will show. With a liner you can really control the outline and shape of your lip, and the lipstick will look really neat and finished.

    3. Try a lip primer. I used to be really anti-lip primer, but I have come around to it in a big way. It can make the application on long-wearing formulas much smoother, and it also extends the wear of regular formulas in a big way.

  2. mirian

    your third point is the best! I have to go more matte with reds because my lips just BLEED color. i have like a pink line on the brim of my lips. I started using those reverse nude liners too. They can help, but if you’re not precise, more bleeding.

    • Carla N.

      I like a red lip stain (e.l.f.’s “Crimson Crush” is a good one).
      A red stain can look great on its own(with a bit of gloss on top), but when used as a base under red lipstick, it really helps the lipstick look fresh longer, and wear much more attractively.

  3. Pamela

    Consider the size of your lips. Thin lips can look harsh with a matte formula so a shiny red lip is necessary to both emphasize and plump up lips. Full lips need a matte finish for balance otherwise it’s lips planning a hostile takeover of your face.

    Also think about your confidence level. If you are scared by hot red, wear it sheer and glossy. It takes the shock factor down a notch.

    And of course, choosing the right tone (cool v warm) is imperative.

    • xamyx

      My lips are on the thinner end of the spectrum, and matte lipstick looks no different on me than a glossier one, whether in person or photos; conversely, I’ve seen women with fuller lips totally rock a glossy lipstick. It’s all a matter of preference.

      • Miss J

        I have a thin top lip and a fuller bottom lip, but my mouth overall is on the smaller side… I do dark and matte, LOL. I actually think it makes my mouth look fuller and more prominent. *shrug*

  4. Instead of a lip primer I use a waterproof lip pencil in a shade of red or clear. This act as primer as well and the red pencil will last long shade wise on your lips.

    I also apply my red and dark shade lipstick with a small angled brush to get a scrip edge.

  5. Dominique

    I have so many red lipsticks : amber red, blood red, deep blue red, bright red, red with rosy undertones…. To me the most important of all is to have a perfect skintone when wearing a bold red.

  6. katie

    Perfect timing! Just last night I starting researching my best red for my first red lipstick! (If anyone can suggest a great universal red or great for neutral tones people I would appreciate it. I just bought revlons really red but I think it looks a bit orangey on me)

  7. Katie

    I have a question. I have neutral or beige tones, neither pink nor yellow (as told by a makeup artist). Why do orange-reds look awesome on me and blue based reds make me look awful?

    • xamyx

      I’m completely neutral, as well, but I have the opposite happen, LOL. Warm reds look hideous on me, while cooler-toned reds look beautiful.

      I’m only throwing a few possibilities out, but it could be that you have warmer overtones. It could also be you have a warmer hair and/or eye color. It could be that the colors of makeup you gravitate towards happen to be warmer in tone, or in general (ie, clothing, etc.).

      As I said, I’m not an expert, and without seeing what you look like or knowing your coloring, I can only offer an opinion. For the record, I have black hair, dark-brown (nearly black) eyes, that are cool-toned with a grey outer ring. I also have neutral overtones & tend to wear mostly black or other dark colors when it comes to both makeup & clothing. HTH

      • Katie

        Ugh, it’s so confusing! I wear neutrals mostly for work. When I wear red lipstick I don’t wear any eye shadow, just mascara otherwise I look too overdone! It’s probably my hair, which is a warm brown and naturally has some red tones in it. I didn’t even know I had overtones, skin is confusing 😀

        • JC

          I’ve been commenting that I think your hair color (which greatly influences your overall look) has something to do with whether warmer or cooler reds look better on you. You say you have warmer tones in your hair and Xamyx says she has cooler tones. I have naturally dark hair with cooler tones and although I have a lot of yellow/olive in my skin (Asian, NC25), cooler reds look a lot better on me than orangey reds.

    • Elzi

      This happens to me too.
      I think I’m neutral toned, leaning to warm (tanned Asian).
      Orangey-red looks horrible to me.
      I bought a massive bunch of NYX black labels to experiment,
      and I found the most flattering Red lipsticks on me tend to be red-pink (blue based I assume?)
      Warm red like NYX apple, pumpkin pie looks horrid on me.

  8. Experiment with drugstore reds to figure out what formulas and colors / undertones you prefer – NYC and Wet n Wild both make several fantastic reds at the $1-$2 mark. My favorites are NYC Sheer Red, NYC Retro Red, Wet n Wild Cinnamon and Wet n Wild Stoplight Red. And Revlon has several $7-8 reds that I love too, especially Romantic Kissable Balm Stain.

  9. r0saL1n3

    Reds with blue or cool tone makes your teeth appear whiter!

    To make red lipsticks last. Apply. Blot. Apply another layer.
    Apply lipstick. Put some translucent powder on your lips. Apply another layer of lipstick. Put powder on. Add another layer of lipstick. It seems like a lot of work but it keeps the color on and going strong all day.

    Use lipliner to prevent bleeding and feathering on the lips.

    I love matte lipsticks but make sure your lips are well hydrated before wearing them. Apply a lip balm before you start your makeup and by the time you get to your lips, they should be nice and soft.

  10. Sasha

    I have the opposite experience with lipsticks. I’m cool toned and I tend to prefer warm lipsticks. Blue toned and true reds don’t look good on me but orange-toned ones do. I look bad in Guerlain Garconne but good in Genna for instance.

  11. Cecile van W.

    I love red lipstick, have loads of different shades, maybe someone will find this useful :)

    1. If your lips aren’t very full, a brighter red will make them pop & appear larger, whereas a darker colour will have the opposite effect. Gloss also helps to make your lips look fuller. I’ve got a pretty big mouth (literally and figuratively), so I tend to go for darker, matte shades :)

    2. Make sure your skin looks nice and even. Red lipstick can make imperfections stand out more, to prevent that you can just use some concealer/foundation/tinted moisturiser etc.

    3. DO NOT BE AFRAID! Literally everyone can wear red lipstick, I mean ev-ery-one. If you’re not sure about whether you’ve got the right shade, take a picture of yourself and look at it later, or ask a friend who is cool with this kind of thing (some people dislike the red lip, and to these people I say ‘Go bother someone else with your dullness! I’m freaking majestic!’).

    Simple rule: if you think it looks good, it looks good. If you secretly think it looks good, but are scared to admit it, it probably looks AWESOME.

  12. Ellie

    For way too long I tried red after red without checking out a matte formula. I finally tried Bite matte lip pencil in Tannin and thought it looked much more flattering than anything else I had put on before! Sad it’s LE. Anyway, I agree about the deeper reds being more wearable and pretty… on me, at least.

  13. I must say that I’m kind of at odds with conventional wisdom about red lipstick. I find it’s a pretty easy colour to wear and that I don’t have an issue finding ones that work against my (neutral-cool) complexion.

    My advice would be to start with more muted shades to get a sense of what works on you- they’re less likely to look very awkward and they can be worn more places than really bright shades.

    I firmly believe that there is no one who can’t wear a red lipstick if they want to.

  14. beth

    Any suggestions on reds for auburn hair? Or reds that won’t play up pinker/ruddier coloring?

    • Heidi

      My hair is dark red. I wore revlon’s colorburst lipstick in crimson today it’s very classic, Clinique spiced apple is a very wearable brick red, I also like Mac Russian red

    • I think the Dancing Queen by Poppy lipstick set will look perfect on you especially if you choose the pinkish shade. It will help you balance and not to overload your look with dark shade. It will also emphasize the other parts of your face aside from your lips. Let’s put it this way, they will all compliment each other :)

  15. Vincent N

    One of my favorite red lipstick feels and hydrates almost as well as my favorite lip balm! (Jack Black) Guerlain Rouge G is simply amazing and lasts and lasts! Really expensive, and too me, not worth it since it’s not my FAVORITE DIE HARD I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT RED, and for the price, it needs to be. It’s an amazing formula though!

  16. roselyn

    I like giorgio armani red lipstick (the LE 408). I think if you’re new to red lipsticks look/research for ones that are universally flaterring. lisa eldridge made a really nice youtube video red lipsticks as well

  17. Heidi

    Try a more subtle brick red. When I first started wearing red everyone told me to use a “blue based” red since I have cool undertones. I kept buying them and always felt like a hooker. I switched to a deeper brownish brick red and discovered it was easier to wear. After I got used to seeing myself with red lips I was able to go more bold.

  18. blueraccoon

    I’m afraid of bright red lipstick, so when I do wear red I tend to sheer it out. MUFE has a Rouge Artist Natural lipstick in I think N45, just “Red”, which is a sheer cherry red that I love. I got it as a sample and intend to buy the full size. That one, although it’s bright, doesn’t feel as “HI! I’m RED LIPSTICK” to me.

    I do have a couple bold reds, including Garconne and Shiseido’s Nocturne, but I’m always so self-conscious when I wear them I never end up reaching for them. It’s a shame, too; I look really good in Nocturne!

  19. Rachael

    Revlon’s Really Red matte lipstick is a good place to start. It’s a classic red that’s not too warm or too cool toned, or too bright or too dark. It’s also not too expensive and often goes on sale for a good price.

  20. Harmonia

    I have neutral skin tones in the light/medium range, but I can wear both warm-toned and blue toned reds, and my skin tone seems to morph. I currently wear OCC NSFW and Revlon lip butters in red velvet and candy apple. I was looking into a matte red. Any suggestions on which to go with?

  21. Good tips, I don’t have anything to add except that I’m not sure I agree with darker reds being more universally wearable. If you have very fair skin (as I do) then dark shades can wash you out. Perhaps if you tally up all skin depth, from fair to deep dark, that would ring true, though!

    • Peggy

      I agree! I have a lot of problems finding darker reds I’m comfortable with. I’m pretty pale too and I stick with my bright, vibrant reds most of the time / almost every day, really.

  22. AwwRITE!

    I don’t know if anyone wants to offer a personalized recommendation, but I’d love to hear which Guerlain Rouge G shade would look good on me with my pale skin (I wear Giorgio Armani lasting silk in 04), dark brown eyes, and black hair? I have to do all my shopping online and by looking at swatches.

  23. Xero

    I think something that’s really important when you’re looking for a red lipstick is the look you’re trying to go for. I’m warm toned, pale, and look very young. I can only really wear very bright/light warm reds, because darker or cool-toned reds end up aging me. This might be something other people would like, but I usually wear red during the day so I want a bright, casual red. “Universally flattering” shades like those similar to Russian Red and Ruby Woo look horrendous on me, as if I was a little girl that broke into her mother’s makeup.

  24. Suzanne

    If you’re NC 40-42 and have had a hard time finding a good red, here’s what I’ve found success with:
    Revlon Really Red + Chanel Exces gloss
    Revlon Really Red + Dior Runway Red sheer but microsparkly lip colour.

    The matte red is great by itself but can be too much for some. The gloss corals it up, and the sparkle makes it more fun

  25. ID

    Agreed and also searching the reds worn by a celebrity closer to your skintone helps. Hey Christine, can you suggest the best red lipstick in chanel

  26. Renee

    I am always confused by this because I am MAC NC 30 and have olive skin and I suit russian red and Ruby woo, but I look better in a orange based red like Illamasqua En-counter.. I look hideous (my skin tone shows yellow, and the lipstick turn pink!!) in any of macs described “true red” lipsticks like marilyn monroes “Charmed im sure” or mac illustrated “Must be red” which come out dark red on people with fair skin and pink on me.. :(

    • Renee

      could anyone please tell me why true red colours (cool reds) come out pink on me? Ive lost alot of money on accidentally buying MAC that will never work with my colouring…

  27. Julie

    Hi Christine! I was wondering if you were familiar with the revlon matte lipsticks and if you were how riri woo compared to Revlons matte lipstick in “really red?” Thanks!