The Best Red Lipstick

by Angel

Is one that matches your skin's complexion and undertone to the lipstick undertone.

What is the Best Red Lipstick?

Wearing red lipstick is not as easy as it sounds. It can look horrible if it is not the right color red. What is the right color red? How can you determine what red lipstick will look best on you? You have to make sure the lipstick's undertone matches your skin's undertone and complexion. Once we determine that, we will determine what is the best Red lipstick for your lips.


Skin Complexion

Lets start with your skin's complexion. Complexions are considered either cool or warm. Complexions also have undertones. Someone with cool complexion has pink or blue undertones to their skin. Someone with warm complexion has tan, peach, brown, or golden undertones.

You can determine your skins complexion by taking a piece of white paper and holding it up to your face while looking into a mirror. What tone do you see on the paper? I am not so sure this method is the best to determine your skin tone. I have been to a professional makeup store and had a consultation after I did the paper method. Both ended up with the same result. So try it and see if you can tell by the paper method.

To summarize:

Cool Complexion = Pink or Blue Undertones

Warm Complexion = Tan, Brown, Peach or Golden Undertones

Lipstick Undertones

Lipstick also has undertones that need to be considered. Red lipstick has blue and orange undertones. The key to this is matching them to get the best looking red lipstick on your lips. Just take a look at the lipstick and see what tone it is. You can usually tell by holding it up to the light. If it has orange in it then there's your tone.  Orange toned lipsticks are more in the brick and tomato color families.  Blue toned lipstick are more in the berry family.

To summarize:

Red lipstick = blue and orange undertones.   


Matching the skins undertone to the lipstick's undertone is what you want to do. Anyone can wear red lipstick. Wearing it well is something different. It is all up to you and what you are going for.

An orange undertone lipstick will look “oranger” on someone with warm complexion. Red lipstick with blue undertones will look “pinker” on someone with a warm complexion or pink undertones. This is what you are going for.   

Best Red Lipstick for.......

Someone with pale skin and red hair should avoid red lipstick with blue undertones. They should use red lipstick with orange undertones.Brick red is an example of a color area to be in.

Someone with medium skin and medium brown hair should avoid red lipsticks with orange undertones. Go with red lipsticks that have a blue undertone. The color area to be in is berry reds.

Someone with fair skin and blonde to medium brown hair should go with blue red lipsticks. The berry family.

Someone with brown or tan skin and brown hair should stick with red lipstick with orange undertones. Stay in the tomato type red family.


Angel Wearing MAC Russian Red
Angel Wearing MAC Russian Red

Tips for Wearing Red Lipstick

  1. Exfoliate your lips and use a moisturizer on them one hour prior to wearing your red lipstick. The last thing you want is crusty dry lips peeking out from behind your red lipstick.

  2. Apply a lip primer to your lips top and bottom.

  3. Use a NEUTRAL lip liner on the outside lines of your lips AND on the inside of your lips. Under your top lip and inside the bottom lip. Trust me. Red lipstick runs a lot and bleeds. This will help contain the lipstick to your lips. ONLY use a red lip liner if you are sure it is the same color as your lipstick. This is a difficult thing to do unless you can get the same colors together. Neutral is always safe and goes with every color. It should be about the same color as your skin tone.

  4. Apply your red lipstick and you are set.

  5. Don't overdo the rest of your makeup. Your lips are the focal point when wearing red lipstick. Your eyes should be neutral. Very little eye makeup except for mascara.

  6. Do not wear lip gloss with red lipstick. It is just too much.

If you are scared to be that bold with all out red lipstick then use a red lip gloss. It will be a lot lighter and easier to wear no matter what tone it is.

If you wear nail color, please make sure your red nail color either matches exactly or don't wear it at all. Go with a neutral or french manicured look to avoid clashing.   

Wear it and Be Proud

Remember, anyone can wear red lipstick. It is not a color you want to wear all the time but there may be that special occasion where you want to stand out in a crowd. The paler your skin the bigger the pop of color will be. Look at Gwen Stephani. She is gorgeous with her blonde hair, pale skin and bright red lips. She wears it well. You can too.


Updated: 02/09/2012, Angel
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BrendaReeves on 02/09/2012

I'll try the MAC Russian Red.

Angel on 02/09/2012

Brenda - try something in the brick red family. I will look next time I go to CVS and send you names of some options. If you have worn the more oranger ones in the past and didn't like the shade try to go darker to brick. I think it will look better. Or try a lip stain or lip gloss if you don't want the color to be so bright. I have read and been told that anyone can wear MAC Russian Red.

BrendaReeves on 02/09/2012

Oh, I forgot. You require approval. I was thinking something was wrong with my computer.

BrendaReeves on 02/09/2012


BrendaReeves on 02/09/2012

I'm confused. Which red should I wear? I have warm undertones thanks to my Native American heritage coming from my father's side of the family. Remember, I have a small mouth which normally makes red look like it was put on with a rubber stamp.

BrendaReeves on 02/09/2012

Okay Angel, tell me what I should wear. I have warm undertones thanks to my Native American heritage coming from my father's side. I love red and would have been wearing it all my life, but my mouth is small and red makes it look smaller. By the way, you have to have pearly white teeth to wear orange or else your coffee stains really pop out. Time for me to get a teeth whitening.

Angel on 02/08/2012

Ha - I knew you would like this one. I thought about you when I put on my MAC Russian Red this morning.. lol.. I went to the salon and the stylist complimented me and said that she could not find a red lipstick that looked good on her. It inspired me to write the article.. Thanks for stopping by Katie.

katiem2 on 02/08/2012

I love MAC, being a red head I can't wear just any red, your so spot on thanks for the helpful tips. I love wearing red lipstick, I think everyone needs to wear red lipstick from time to time it so speaks femininity. I'm so happy to be a chic!

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