There’s no doubt about it—red lipstick is daring. “Red lips are sign of power, femininity, and sex appeal,” says Eve Pearl, makeup artist for Jolii Cosmetics. “Red on your lips is like high heels for your legs.” she says. Think of all the glamorous style icons who have famously worn a red hue, from Marilyn Monroe to Lucille Ball, Madonna and Gwen Stefani to Rihanna. Perhaps it wasn’t their confidence that allowed them to rock a red lip, but the red lip that gave them that confidence!
The next time you don’t feel like applying makeup or even doing your hair, let your lips do the talking with a pop of fearless red. To pick the best red lipstick for your skin tone, be prepared to try on as many as possible—and then choose the one that makes your face light up. Pearl offers these guidelines to help you find the perfect hue for you.
(Watch out for these sneaky ways that you’re applying your makeup all wrong.)
Fair to Light Skin
Think Kate Winslet or Gwen Stefani, and go for a true red. If the red turns pink on your lips, apply a brownish pencil all over before applying lipstick. Try Laura Geller Iconic Baked Sculpting Lipstick in Big Apple Red or Terry Rouge Expert Click Stick in My Red.
Medium to Tan Skin
This range can be a little tricky because it’s so wide, ranging from Jessica Alba and Jennifer Lopez to Kim Kardashian West and Halle Berry. For this skin tone, Pearl suggests an orangey red or pinkish/blue reds. If your lipstick looks too orange after application, try adding a wine-colored gloss. Try Jolii Cosmetics Hollywood Affair or Amore Matte Veluto, which will complement anyone in this group.
If your skin color is like Zoe Saldana, Viola Davis, or Solange Knowles, stick with wines and orange reds. If you find that it looks too pink, top it off with a gold or orange lip gloss. Try Urban Decay Bad Blood, or L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Classic Wine.
Found your shade? Here’s how to apply lipstick like a makeup artist.