The holidays are here again, and nothing is more festive for a holiday party, or a stroll down the street, than a pop of red. And red lipstick, in particular, is the perennial trend. Women have been rocking it since Cleopatra’s days, because, let’s face it: It’s a showstopper.
Still, if you’re usually a tinted lip balm type of gal, reds can be pretty intimidating – not to mention a nightmare to put on. Once you know what color to look for and the best techniques, you’ll be able to pull it off with confidence.
How To Create the Best Red Lips for Your Skintone
The first step in finding the right red lipstick for you is picking the right color. It is important to remember that the red you are drawn to at the cosmetic color may not be the one that is most flattering. In order to get the right red, you need to choose one that compliments your skin tone.
Fair complexions often have pink undertones, which means that you want to look for a red with blue or pink undertones. If that sounds like gibberish to you, think of the color raspberry. Berry tones in general are going to be the most complementary to your skin, and as an added bonus, blue undertones in the lipstick will also make teeth look whiter.
Light complexions are usually have yellow undertones. The best way to complement this skin tone is with an orange-based red. These shades are going to pick up on your golden undertones, making your lipstick “pop,” while simultaneously brightening your complexion.
Do you tend to tan on vacation during summer months, only to revert to much fairer skin (for you) in winter? This is your stop! In the same way that your skin tone changes based on the season, so should your go-to lip color. In the summer, you’ll want to reach for an orange-based red. It’ll highlight your summer color and accentuate your golden goddess status. In the winter, you’ll want to choose a blue-based red, which will highlight your alabaster complexion.
Mediterranean ladies, this is for you. Olive skin tones have a yellow-green undertone – a mix of colors, that might be described as, well, olive. The best way to make this complexion pop is with a rust or brick-colored red lipstick. You’re looking for an earthy, harvest tone that will add warmth to your complexion while blending with it at the same time!
Caramel skin also has a yellow undertone. The best way to compliment this skin tone is with a cherry red. It’s brightens your smile and pulls out the warmth in your skin tone. What’s not to love?
Golden Brown Skin
Golden brown complexions also have a yellow undertone, and, unlike the rest, you can really play with any kind of red you want. So do what we all wish we could and opt for that true red. Before you know it, you’ll be caught beneath the mistletoe!
Color isn’t the only thing to consider when it comes to choosing the right lipstick. You also have so many choices in terms of finish. There’s matte, semi-gloss, and gloss, and they all have different effects.
Matte lipstick is what you want if you’re looking for that vintage, pin-up vibe. It’s the complete opposite of a gloss, and it adds some serious drama. Something to be aware of with matte lipstick is that they show cracks more easily, so you will want to exfoliate around the lip area well before applying.
Flirty, fun, and young, glosses are a total throwback to the early aughts. Glosses accentuate your mouth and can actually make your lips look a little bigger. They’re also the most forgiving on chapped lips.
Going on smooth, but not too glossy, cream lipsticks tend to fall into the Goldilocks zone. They’re not too matte, not too shiny, and just right. This is a good place to start if you’re new to the world of high-pigment lipstick.
What Else Do I Need for the Perfect Red Lip?
Now that you’ve picked the right color and finish, these are the best ways to keep your lipstick long-wearing.
It’s best to exfoliate your lips before putting on red lipstick because the bright color will show any cracks and imperfections. There are tons of great lip exfoliants on the market that will gently buff away dead skin. If you’re in a pinch, you can also (lightly!) use your toothbrush.
Primer is an absolute necessity when you’ve decided to wear red lipstick. It will create a base so that the lipstick goes on in a smooth, even coat. It extends the wear of your lipstick, makes sure that as it does fade, it fades evenly. Best yet, it prevents that terrible feathering on the outline of the lips, just be sure to apply the primer slightly outside of the outline of where you will apply the lipstick.
Worried that you lips may be too thin for siren red colors? Problem solved: Use a lip plumper! Beverly Hills MD’s anti-aging lip enhancer plumps that pucker instantly…with just a hint of shine.
There are mixed feelings on liner: Some say you need it, some say you don’t. If you choose to use lip liner, make sure to choose one that matches the shade of your lipstick in order to avoid that “dark outline” look. If you choose to forgo lip liner, you will want to grab a lip brush for more precision on the outline of your lip.
Ultimate Tip to Wearing Red Lipstick: You don’t want to be that one person at the party smiling broadly in photos with friends with red lipstick all over your pearly whites. To prevent this, be sure to use primer as recommended above, but also? Once you’ve applied your lipstick, put your (clean!) finger in your mouth, close your lips and make a pout. Pull your finger out (keeping lips closed). See the lipstick on it? This is what could’ve wound up on your teeth!
There you have it. You have everything that you need to know in order to pick out a show-stopping red lipstick for the holidays. Even if you’re not normally a red lipstick fan, give it a shot – you might be surprised. When you find that perfect shade, you might just find yourself reaching for that particular lipstick on a daily basis!