The Ultimate Guide to Red Lips

With the holidays fast approaching, there's no better way to complement that gorgeous glow you’ve worked so hard for than with perfect red lips. Yet with so many shades, textures and styles, how do you know which red to choose? This ultimate guide to red lips will have you quickly on your way to the ideal red for your skin tone (and just in time for holiday fun!).

Lisa Eldridge, London-based makeup artist to such Hollywood beauties as Kate Winslet, Katy Perry, and Keira Knightley, outlines which shades and textures work best for which skin tones and why.

Her absolute favorite look: a bold red lip paired with natural make-up for the ultimate in glamourous style.

Warm Orange-Toned Reds. These work best with yellow-based or olive skin tones. Anyone without too much red in their skin can wear this color and look amazing! Her 3 favorites? Lady Danger by MAC for its matte, long-lasting texture that brings out the best in olive skin. Rouge d’Armani 401 by Giorgio Armani is a vibrant, fiery red with a matte finish that looks stunning on blondes. For a less matte finish, she recommends Rouge Allure Incadescente 97 by Chanel in a luxurious satin finish that can be blotted down to your taste.

Cool-Toned Reds. These reds have a slightly bluish and/or “pinky” color to them. They are an ideal match for cooler skin tones, but make a bold statement on yellow or olive colored skin tones as well. Her first choice is Cherry Lush by Tom Ford, which with its bluish hints will make your teeth look much whiter & brighter—just an added bonus! Next is L’Absolu Rouge Rubis Exquis 182 by Lancome for a more pinky red that is really beautiful on all skin tones. The pinkest of all the reds is Super Stay Non Stop Red 510 by Maybelline. This is Eldridge’s current favorite and is THE longest lasting lipstick she’s ever used. A bonus: it’s a non-drying formula!

Neutral Reds. These, as you can imagine, pair well with all different types of skin tones. Ruby Woo by MAC suits dark skin or cool and pale skin. It’s incredibly matte finish is one with which you can’t go wrong. Rouge Allure Passion 104 by Chanel is a satin classic. Its neutral red color is a magnificent choice for both day and evening wear. Color Sensation Fatal Red 530 by Maybelline is a creamy shiny finish for a less matte appearance. And the most classic of all colors has been around since 1952—Fire and Ice by Revlon. There’s a reason it is reissued year after year for decades. It’s a bright red that seems to change its undertones depending on your skin tone and, therefore, perfect for every woman.

Recommended for Glowing Skin
Obagi Hydrate Luxe | Jan Marini Holiday Exfoliator | Elure Advanced Brightening Lotion

Dark Reds. This color group provides a much richer color and is well-suited for darker skin tones. Red Lizard by Nars is a semi-matte finish in a gorgeous full-bodied color. Russian Red by MAC looks like a classic red on dark skin yet a rich, deep red on fair skin. Really Red 006 by Revlon is a beautiful, rich red with a matte texture that looks great on very dark skin. Rouge Allure Love 09 by Chanel offers a bit more sensuality in a Bordeaux-pinkish red with a satin sheen.

If a bold red lipstick frightens you, there are always other options. Try a sheer or tinted, less high-maintenance lip balm or gloss to begin experimenting with reds and build your way up to a full-bodied lipstick.

For a full application tutorial, be sure to watch Eldridge’s Ultimate Guide to Red Lips to the end.


November 14, 2014 by Amanda Brown
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