How to WEAR Red Lipstick

If you have been following my blog for long, you already know that I’m a big fan of red lipstick because I’ve worn it in numerous outfit posts (like this one), and talked about it repeatedly. What you may not know, however, is how to pick out a the best red lipstick for yourself.

In this post you’ll find information about how to choose a red lipstick based on your skin tone and lip shape. I’ll also provide recommendations for the best red lipsticks, based on this criteria.

Depending on your SKIN TONE

There are shades of red lipstick out there that are specifically designed to compliment every skin tone. It’s simply a matter of finding ones that are right for you. That’s the tricky part.

Pale-skinned women…

Pale skinned women should gravitate toward reds with cool, blue undertones.

Red lipstick recommendations for women with pale skin:
Clinique Angel Red
Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense #42
Urban Decay Revolution (I own this one – Not only does it come is a fabulously sexy tube, but it’s a fantastic red that looks great on light and olive skin tones as well.)


Nicole Kidman is wearing a similar lipsticks to the ones mentioned above, here.


I’m wearing a coral-red here.

Medium-to-dark skinned women…

Medium to dark skinned women can get away with deeper reds that have brown or tawny bases. In other words, warmer reds.

Best red lipsticks for medium-to-dark skinned women:
Kat Von D Painted Love in ‘Underage Red’
Vincent Longo Lipstain Lipstick in ‘Belle Etoile’

Jessica Alba’s medium skin looks beautiful with warm, red lips.

Darker skinned women…

Darker skinned women can pull off pinkish reds, fuchsias and orange-based poppy reds. For example,

The best red lipsticks for dark-skinned women:
Benefit Ruby Vibes
Benefit ‘Ms. Behavin’


Rihanna and Beyonce’ effortlessly master the look by wearing fuchsia reds that look beautiful next to their dark skin tones.

Depending on your LIP SHAPE

When choosing the perfect red lipstick, you should also take the size and shape of your lips into account.

Fuller-lipped ladies…

Fuller-lipped ladies can get away with darker, deeper reds. (Just as a dark outfit is slimming, dark lipstick makes your lips appear thinner.)

Angelina Jolie looks striking with her blood red lips. Because her lips are so full, she pulls off this dark color nicely.

Thinner-lipped ladies…

Thinner-lipped ladies (like myself) can still rock the trend if we lean toward brighter, more neutral tones.


See Blake Lively, above.

Once you’ve found the perfect red lipstick…

Pair it with subtle face makeup. Go light on your blush and bronzer, to avoid looking like a clown. Also, avoid heavy eye shadows. When I wear red lipstick, I like to wear simple black liner and mascara. Allow your lips to be the part of your face that is making the biggest statement.

Another great way to find the shade for you is to go to your local makeup counter (or Sephora store) and test a bunch of different shades. I found mine by asking a Sephora sales person for assistance and help.

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26 thoughts on “How to WEAR Red Lipstick

  1. Not to be snarky, but Beyonce and Rihanna are not "dark". What about Gabrielle Union, Mary J. Blige, or Iman? They look good in red lipstick too. Nars Fire Down Below or Shanghai Express. Just to name a couple.

  2. Hi,I love Red Lipstick,I love Guerlain.Ilove two colors Insolence de Rouge

    and Excess de Rouge .I love the scent and they feel so sexy and the

    color lasts forever.Have you ever tried Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipstick?

    What reds do you like? xoxo joelle

  3. I have become hooked on a new red lipstick color that my hair dresser suggested I try. I look more made-up (in a good way) with only mascara, a little eye liner and lipstick. I have tried other lipsticks, but if there is any orange in it it doesn't work or me. I have Cerise by Aveda. I'm still learning how to apply it with the right amount of oomph, but it makes my teeth and the whites of my eyes POP!

  4. We stumbled over here different website and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking over your web page for a second time.

  5. Informative blog regarding the use of makeup and cosmetics. I think the color of lips also matter while selecting the red shade of lipstick those who have dark lips should buy lighter tones of red while those with light or pinkish shade of lips should buy darker shades of red.

  6. Thanks for this helpful guidance. Wearing a lipstick, especially red colored one is a an art that completes the general look of a woman. That is why it is important to do it correctly in order to keep the balance and elegancy.

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