How to Perfect the Classic Red Lip

Posted by: Stacey Wechsler

A red lip is a classic and iconic look. Makeup and fashion trends come and go, but a red lip continues to be immortal. In fact, the staple shade is believed to have been around since Cleopatra reigned 5,000 years ago! But despite all the years of makeup history, finding the right shade of red to wear and the right way to wear it, can be a daunting task.

One thing is definite: anyone can wear red lipstick.

Red is a more neutral color than you might think. The right red is the one that makes you feel good. However, if you’re having a hard time feeling comfortable in wearing a bold red lip, try tapping the lipstick with your finger and then tapping on your lips. This will create a sheer, stained, diffused look. Another trick you can do is use a light hand while applying the lipstick, and buffer with a clear or light shaded gloss.

Some other tips when it comes to picking out a red that suits you is to experiment and swatch different shades and see which one speaks to you. Also, know that the texture of the lipstick (creamy, matte, sheer) can influence how the shade looks on your lips. Evening out your skin tone with a bit or a bunch of concealer or foundation can ensure that your lip color isn’t enhancing any red spots that you have on your skin.

To expedite finding a red lipstick that you love, take your skin’s undertone into consideration. Some easy ways to find your undertone is to see if you burn in the sun or not. If you easily burn, you are likely a cool undertone. If you easily tan, you are likely a warm undertone. You can also look at the color of the veins on your wrist. If your veins appear purple or blue, you are more likely to have cool undertones. If your veins appear greener, you are more likely to have warm undertones.

Now that you have an idea of what undertones you have, here is a guide that will break down more specifically the colors that will look best with your personal skin tone and complexion.

Fair-light Complexions:

If you are fair or light complected, you most likely have pink or cool undertones. To complement this skin type, use blue-based reds, or pinkish reds. Think raspberry and cranberry tones within the red.

Medium Complexions:

If you have a medium complexion, you can either be cool or warm depending on the season. In this case, a universal or a balanced red is a great option. You can also pull off all tones in a red. Choose an orange-based red to make your skin look more bronzed. Pick a red with more of a pink or blue undertone to make your skin appear more even and to make your teeth look whiter.

Olive Complexions:

Olive skin complexions have yellow-green undertones, and tans easily. To complement that bronze tone, use brick or rust colored reds. These earthy tones will warm up the skin, and blend effortlessly. Avoid cool tones with this complexion type.

Golden-Dark Complexion:

These complexions typically have yellow-based under tones. To complement these undertones, try a true red, or a blue-based red. The blue-based red will complement a darker skin tone, and a true red will pick up warmth for a brighter complexion.

Deep Complexion:

Deep skin tones can handle more intense colors. Orange-based red will give your complexion more of a pop. Where a blue-based red will look more natural. (Think of a merlot shade.) A bright red may look summery, where a softer red will give a bit of sophistication.

If you are still not sure exactly what shade is right for you, try to look for a universal shade of red. A universal shade of red is equal parts blue and orange. It looks good on any skin tone because it doesn’t wash out any of the undertones. Universal shades of red tend to be brighter and bolder.

Now that you have found your perfect shade of red lipstick and just the right way you like to wear it, go have some fun with it. Dress it up for a night out by pairing it with some fun or romantic eyeshadow. Or go for a fun everyday look by keeping the rest of your makeup look very minimal and have your main accessory be your lip color. 

No matter how you wear it, if you feel beautiful in it—you are wearing it right!


Stacey is an Advanced Esthetician at our Burnsville spa. 

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