When talking about accessories, you might be quick to point out a handbag or a pair of shoes. But there is one other accessory that often gets overlooked – your makeup. More specifically, a statement red lip has been heralded as one of the most iconic looks of all time. This vibrant shade brightens up the face and draws attention to your best features. But despite the timeless nature of a scarlet pout, it can be hard to pull it off. That’s why we pulled together expert tips on how to nail the red lip every single time.
First of all, it is important to find your perfect shade of red. Warmer-toned formulas complement healthy, tanned skin, while cooler-toned reds work to brighten your smile and make your teeth appear whiter. When it comes to actual application, always ensure your lips are exfoliated and hydrated before applying any color. A smooth base means a more even application with the ultimate staying power.
The last thing you want is your lipstick to bleed, especially when it comes to such a saturated color. Thus, lining your lips is going to be a key step to achieving that perfect pout. Swipe a natural toned lip liner on the inside of your lips for long-lasting wear. From there, it is finally time to add your signature red lip. When it comes to pigmentation and hydration, you cannot go wrong with Armani Beauty’s Lip Power Lipstick.
A statement red lip is the epitome of power, making it an instant confidence boost. Whether you are stepping out for date night or just want something to lift your spirits, a red lip is a foolproof beauty statement. In the words of legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, “pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”
Here’s the thing with reds: while everyone can technically wear any shade of red lipstick they like; some shades work better on darker skin tones. That being said, not every dark skin is alike, with the key to picking the right red lipstick lying in finding a shade that complements your undertone. Here we have rounded up the best red lipsticks for dark skin tones. You can quote us on these.
With a lightweight velvety matte finish, this bright red lipstick sits comfortably on the lips without drying them out. The shade Inspire is a bright orange red that works well on darker skin tones with warm or neutral undertones. Best for: warm, neutral undertones
Don’t fact-check us, but we have a feeling this full-coverage liquid lipstick was made with love. That’s because the silky formula consists of skin-softening avocado oil (an antioxidant rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids), lasts all day long, and boasts sultry blue undertones to create a red that complements brown skin tones beautifully.
Prepare for a case of scarlet fever: This highly-rated, mega-pigmented liquid lipstick lasts for up to eight hours, and when it does eventually fade, it does so evenly and flatteringly, transforming into an equally pretty stain. “I’m partial to shade 400, which is perfect for everyday,” says Dreadon. “It’s bold, but also a bit deeper than a true red, so you can wear it with everything from casual jeans to a cocktail dress.”
PRIMP TIP: Check your veins; if they appear green you likely have a warm undertone, while blue or purple veins are a sign of a cool undertone. Alternatively, consider what kind of jewelry looks better on you. Silver jewelry tends to look better on cooler undertones while gold suits those with warmer undertones. If both silver and gold jewelry look equally good on you, you may be a true neutral.
A true ruby red hue, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red works on all skin tones. Part of the iconic British beauty brand’s Matte Revolution range, this formula hydrates and conditions lips during wear, gliding smoothly onto lips with a soft matte finish. The Red-Carpet Red shade is a true statement-making nighttime shade worthy of its name. For a truly defined pout, team it with a red lip liner. Alternatively, opt for a warm brown or caramel lip liner for an ombre effect. Best for: neutral, warm, cool undertones.
Nearly 70 years after this red lipstick made its runaway debut, it’s still Dior’s best-selling red of all time—and it’s easy to see why. The chic crimson lipstick is beloved for its ability to look good on practically everyone and lasts for up to 16 hours (yes, you read that correctly) without bleeding, feathering, or fading. It contains hydrating mango butter and hyaluronic acid, so it feels creamy and comfortable—especially for a matte lipstick—and the color is bright in the best way,” says makeup artist Lisa Aharon.
Leave it to the one-and-only Mother of Makeup, Pat McGrath, to create an elegant red that makes us feel like a grown-ass woman. We find that blue-based reds look the best on dark skin tones because they complement our undertones and never look too light or ashy. This doesn’t feel like your typical matte; it’s unexpectedly hydrating, and those two characteristics usually don’t coincide. We love layering this on top of a brighter red to give it some depth.
When it comes to red lipstick, blue-based red shades work well on cooler undertones while warm reds with golden or peachy tones are best for warmer undertones. Those with neutral undertones have the best of both worlds and can pull off any shade of red lipstick.
Neither a bullet nor a liquid lipstick, the Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil combines the impact of lipstick and lip liner in one product. Easy to apply, this crayon-like formula works to define and fill in lips, with the shade Dragon Girl having pinky-blue undertones that work well on cool skin tones. Best for: cool, neutral undertones
Trust Rihanna to nail the perfect red lip. Like the rest of the Fenty Beauty range, the line of Stunna Lip Paints features shades that flatter every skin tone. This highly pigmented liquid lipstick lives up to its name, with the formula slightly thicker and ‘paint-like’ than other iterations. Despite its consistency, it quickly dries down with a soft matte finish and stays on without flaking or feathering. The shade Uncensored is touted as a universal red and delivers on its promises, with the hue working well on fair to dark skin tones. Best for: neutral, warm, cool undertones