How To Choose The Perfect Red Lipstick

If you've ever eyed up a gorgeous red lipstick in the shop, loved the colour of the swatch and admired how great it looked on the celebrity promo poster- just to put it on yourself and look absolutely hideous then it's always going to be a disappointing moment. Especially if you've gone and spent a lot of money on the product! Many people shy away from red lips because they believe that they don't suit them, but in actual fact it's just because they dont know what kind of red will suit them (or even that there are different shades of red for that matter). Red lipstick can look ultra feminine, sexy and glamorous, but there's definitely an art to choosing the right shade for your own personal colourings. You might be asking yourself, "so how do I find a red lipstick that suits me?"

In terms of colour, very few lipsticks are a 'true red' with most leaning towards pinker shades, purples and blues (cool undertones) or corals and oranges, yellows or browns (warm undertones). It's these subtle undertones that you really need to pay attention to when choosing a red lipstick. There's more to it than simply deciding you like the look of a certain colour red, or assuming because it works for a celebrity or friend it will work for you too. Get it wrong and you can make your face look ruddy, flushed, or washed out. The wrong shade can even make your teeth look yellow. Before taking the plunge with such a bold colour it's always best to carefully consider what will work for you. If you haven't picked up a red lipstick in years because you believe that they're not right for you, now might be the time to give them another whirl!

Define Your Skin's Undertones
The main trick to choosing the perfect shade of red is by defining your undertones. These are the underlying natural colours in your skin and are categorised as 'warm' and 'cool'- your perfect red lipstick will have similar undertones and therefore look 'right' against your skin. Knowing your skin's undertones will give you a much better idea what kind of colours will suit you in general; this can give you an idea about things like what hair colours will look best on you, which makeup shades will be most flattering and even what colour clothes will make you look your best. Have you ever wondered why certain colours make your eyes pop, and others make you look ill?

It's important to note that these are not hard and fast rules, most people won't fit exactly into these categories but go with the one you think sounds most like you. If you fit into both evenly there's a chance you have 'neutral' undertones and can get away with both cool and warm shades (you lucky devil). Both pale and dark skin can be both cool or warm- it's definitely not true to assume that you're one or the other based on how light or dark you are. Once you've determined your skin's undertones you can get a much better idea what shade of red will work for you. Both cool and warm undertones will suit a lipstick that is a 'true red' but other shades will need more consideration. Even though the difference might only seems slight. it can be the difference between a lipstick that looks stunning and one that looks scary.

Cool Undertones
Eye colour is likely to be: blue, grey-green, grey-blue, brown (with no golden flecks) or black
Hair colour: blonde, brown or black with ashy rather than golden undertones
Veins appear blue in natural daylight
Cool toned pale skin tends to look 'pink' whereas cool toned dark skin tends to look 'ashy'
Cool toned red lipsticks lean slightly pink, purple or blue. 
In terms of Mac lipsticks think Ruby Woo (vivid blueish red) MAC Red (vivid bright blueish red) Russian Red (intense blueish-red)

Warm Undertones
Eye colour is likely to be: amber, green, hazel or brown 
Hair colour: blonde, brown or black with golden undertones, auburn/red/strawberry blonde 
Veins appear green in natural daylight 
Warm toned pale skin tends to look yellowish whereas warm toned dark skin tends to look 'bronzed' 
Warm toned red lipsticks lean slightly yellow, orange or brown 
In terms of Mac colours think: Chilli (brownish orange-red) Dubonet (deepened claret) or Lady Danger (vivid bright orange red).

Blue Toned vs Orange Toned Red Lipsticks
(Swatches above from There's no need to assume that pale skin should stick to muted reds and only darker skin colours can get away with the bright and deep reds- it's much more about the how the underlying colours in the lipstick work with the colours in your skin, as opposed to how vivid or vibrant the lipstick is. So next time you feel like rocking a bold red lip, take into consideration what your skin's undertones are and work with them rather than against them. Swatch the shade and see if you can pick up any additional colours within the red, or even better find a description of the shade before you buy it. I hope you found this post helpful, and good luck finding the perfect red lipstick.