With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the colour on our minds is red! Whether you have a date night planned or are celebrating your female friendships, a red lipstick is never the wrong choice – despite the challenge of choosing the right one. Rule #1? There are no rules. However, if you do need a little help, read on.
Choosing the Right Red
This is where many people don’t know where to begin. Should you go maroon, berry, or cherry red? Should you go light or dark? There are a few simple tips you can follow. Your skin tone is decided by whether you have a cool or warm complexion. For paler skin tones, note whether your skin has more of a pink undertone (cool) or an olive tone (warm).
For darker skins, determine if you have a golden undertone (warm) or more of a reddish/purple undertone (cool). A darker skin tone can definitely carry off much deeper shades, but if you have paler skin and want to be a little more daring, it’s always worth a try too. You never know, it might be your perfect shade! Once you have worked out your skin tone, refer to our product picks to find the shade right for you.
Blue-based lipsticks suit those with cool tones. This MAC pick is perfect if you’re aiming for retro vibes.
Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, MAC COSMETICS
Prefer red-carpet feels? Charlotte Tilbury has just the shade.
Matte Revolution Lipstick – Red Carpet Red, CHARLOTTE TILBURY
If you’re new to wearing reds and unsure of too much colour, why not try a gloss instead?
Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in Glossy Cherry, SEPHORA
People with warmer skin tones should opt for reds with more of an orange base. This one by Estée Lauder is our favourite for a fresh look.
Pure Colour Envy in Impassioned, ESTÉE LAUDER
We love a lipstick worth flaunting in public. Case in point: this pick from Tom Ford Beauty.
Lip Color in Wild Ginger, TOM FORD BEAUTY
And again, if you’re not quite ready for red lipstick, this gloss is perfect for warm skin tones.
Crushed Oil-Infused Gloss in Hot Streak, BOBBI BROWN
Applying the Perfect Red
There are four main steps to ensure your lips look full and even, with your lipstick staying on for longer:
- Apply a lip primer, such as the MAC Prep + Prime Lip, all over the lips including over the lip line. This has so many benefits: conditioning the lip, creating a perfect base for lipstick to glide on (especially a dryer matte lipstick), helping the colour last longer, and preventing lipstick bleeding into fine lines around the lips.
- Apply lip liner in a colour close to the chosen lipstick. MAC does a great range of different lip liners to suit many shades. Line the lips and then colour in the lip slightly, too – this will also prolong the life of your lip colour.
- Apply the lipstick you have chosen using the above tips.
- Using your favourite concealer and a fine brush, tidy up any smudges or uneven lines to really perfect the shape. This will help make the lips look fuller, too.
Watch: How to Apply Red Lipstick
Don’t forget that the beauty advisors at the likes of Sephora are experts and will happily let you try different colours to find your right shade and finish, so use their knowledge! MAC, Estée Lauder, and many other brands also have a virtual try-on function on their websites so you can try before you buy online.
Other Red Pout Essentials
Prep + Prime Lip, MAC COSMETICS
Lip Pencil in Brick, MAC COSMETICS
Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer, ESTÉE LAUDER
For more makeup tips, follow @daniellejamesmakeup on Instagram.