A Red Lipstick for All Skin Tones

Red lips. Bold. Daring. Captivating.  And so many choices that your head may spin trying to choose one.  The level of comfort when wearing a red lip varies from person to person, some feeling confident in a full coverage, matte, fire engine red shade, while others prefer a sheer wine-colored  hue that can simply give the look of subtle elegance.

To help ease some of this red lip anxiety I have rounded up a variety of shades that run the gamut from intense and bold to delicate and sheer.  For hard core makeup lovers out there, consider this an exercise in a red lip wardrobe – with something for everyone and for all occasions.

Red Lipsticks with Slight Blue Undertones

Shades such as these often look great on cooler skin tones. Note that you can have a cool skin tone even if you have darker skin.  A sure fire way to figure out if you are a cooler skin tone is if you look good in silver jewelry.  The geeky science side of me also suggests looking at your veins, and if they have a blue-ish cast, you are a cool skin tone. If you burn easily  when in the sun, you have a cool skin tone.  Simple!  Celebs that have a slightly cooler skin tone: Madonna, Drew Barrymore and Reese Witherspoon.  Consider trying the following:

Lip Tar in NSFW

Lancome Rouge Love in 181

MUFE lip liner in  8C


Red Lipsticks with Orange Undertones

With colors that have a strong orange base, women who have a warmer based skintone often wear these the best.  A warmer skintone has a golden or more yellow undertone and typically looks great in gold jewelry.  If you tan when out in the sun then you have a warm skin tone. Another way to determine is again to look at your veins and they should have a more green cast to them – beauty is a science, see?!  If you have this skin tone, you are in good company with Jennifer Lopez, Megan Fox and Beyonce.  Here are some great choices:

Estee Lauder in Red Velvet

MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger

YSL Liner #10

Tarte Lip Stain in Cherry


Burgundy Red Shades of Lipstick

These shades are often a great option for warmer skin tones to wear in an effort to lessen the intensity of a red lip.  Shades with a slightly brown undertone, can often be a great choice for easing your way into a bolder lip.  Below are some great options to achieve a beautiful burgundy pout for Fall:

MAC Liner in Mahogany

CSL Gloss in Confident

Nars Lipstick in Autumn Leaves

Berry and Wine Shades of Lipstick

For those ladies who have a cooler undertone, and want to tone it down from a serious red lip, a nice bordeaux or berry shade is a perfect way to add some color to your look without feeling over the top.  Perfect for the office or an evening out, there are so many different finishes and textures for everyone to find their perfect berry lip.  I have rounded up a few winners from this category:

MAC Liner in Quartz

Stila Lip and Cheek Stain in Cherry Crush

Dior Addict Extreme in Paparazzi

Bobbi Brown Creme Matte in Razzberry


A bolder lip is best complimented with a neutral eye and natural cheek, allowing for the color to stand out and not compete with anything else.  Since wearing more intense shades often means more maintenance, my advice is always to line the lips first around the outer edges, and then use the liner to lightly fill in the rest of the lip.  Apply your preferred red hue with a lip brush so there is more control and finish with a quick blot on a tissue to remove any excess.  I sometimes dust my lips with a bit of translucent loose powder to provide even more staying power, but only when wearing matte lipsticks.  For a step by step tutorial, read Felicia’s post here to see how the beauty glamazon herself applies a red lip.

Fall is in full swing and the holidays are fastly approaching, so the time is now to get your red lip game going!

What are some of your favorite reds you wear – share in the comments below!  And even better than sharing?  Showing!  Upload a picture to Instagram and tag it #TTBRedLip to show us how you wear yours!

Maree About Maree

Fueled by her love (obsession) of all things beauty, Maree Sye writes from the viewpoint of the everyday woman. Recently transitioning from a decade long career as an executive in the cosmetics industry to her current role as sales manager for a baby goods company, Maree has turned her insider information into a spectator sport. Choosing products appropriate for the office, understanding how to transition from day to night, and constantly seeking the elusive weekend “makeup, no makeup” look are the issues that keep Maree up at night. When she is not testing out products and blabbing about them on This That Beauty, you can find her blabbings on A Little Bit etc, her personal fashion/beauty blog – it’s a little bit fashion, a little bit beauty and a whole lot of sass. Maree currently resides in Bergdorf Goodman (or her apt in Midtown Manhattan), spends her summers vacationing at Sephora (or the dog park near her apt), and dreams of one day amassing so much makeup, that she will need a bigger home. Follow Maree on twitter @alittlebitetc or follow her down the street if you like – most likely she is on her way to pick up a new lipstick.

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