How to Choose A Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

There’s something about red lipstick. The poise, glamour and grace that comes with wearing a red lippie, is an instant mood lifter – talk about feeling like a supermodel with just one swipe! But, while Red lipstick can be hugely flattering, choose the wrong shade and it can make one look older, dull or completely washed-out.

From colours that enhance your skin tone to those that make your teeth look whiter, we take you through some basic rules on choosing the right hue of red so you too can flaunt that lipstick, and with confidence.

The Basics of Red Lipstick

First off, red may seem intimidating as a colour but know that there is a shade or several, that can suit you. Like any other lipstick, the answer lies in experimenting and trying various shades of red to see what makes you feel great.

Saturation of colour is worth considering too. If you find that you prefer not to go as bold, just hold off on a single soft layer and you may find what you are most comfortable with. Tints and lip paints are an easy way to start using colour and ease your way into thicker, more creamy textures.

Find your new red lipstick is too bright for your skin tone? There’s no need to panic yet! Like any lipstick red too can be toned up or down using other products in your makeup drawer. Dab on a beige or gold lipgloss to bring down its ‘redness’ or go with another shade in your drawer to neutralise the brighter tones.

Know Your Skin Under-Tone

You may have often heard the question – what undertone are you? Your skin may be light, dark or several shades in between but the undertone of your skin is important knowledge to have when looking for colours that enhance. A few easy steps can help determine this:

Colour of your veins: Do your veins look blue-purple or green on the underside of your wrist? If you are blue – you are cool, if green, you tend to be warm toned.

Jewellery: What looks better on you – silver or gold? Based on what is more flattering for your skin tone, you are like to be cool or warm.

Clothing: What colours flatter you? If it’s blue, purple, pinks, you are team blue. Should you look better with orange, browns and other warm hues, you are warmer toned. And finally, if both look good on you – you are a lucky neutral!

What Shade of Red Lipstick Looks Best?

Warm Skin Tone

Now that you know your skin tone, if you are warm choose lipsticks in those colours. Warm-toned lipsticks include those that have orange, corals, gold and brown shades. Some popular coral and warm undertone options for red lipsticks are, the Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture – # 52 Rosy Coral/Rouge Rose and Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick – # 535 Pretty Vain.

Cool Skin Tone

If you’ve got cooler skin tones, shop around for lipsticks that come with blue hues. Plum, purple, cherry-toned shades will suit you best. Try out the Chanel
Rouge Allure Velvet – # 72 Infrarose 
or Givenchy Le Rouge Intense Color Sensuously Mat Lipstick – # 201 Rose Taffetas. 

Neutral Skin Tone

If you happen to be lucky enough to sport a neutral skin tone, any shade of red works! Pick whatever you fancy and experiment with a broad range of red colours. Take a look at the Bobbi Brown Lip Color – # 10 Red for a bold and flattering option. Alternatively buy the iconic Christian Dior Diorific Lipstick – No. 014 Dolce Vita that gives the right mix of colour with a long-lasting finish.

With skin undertones and shades down to pat, you have two choices. If you want your lippie to really(really) pop, choose one that has undertones opposite of your skin’s! But if you want one that looks understated, just go with a red lipstick with the same undertones as your skin.

What About Textures in Red Lipsticks?

Now that you have the perfect shade for you, what about textures? Lipsticks come in all forms and textures such as creamy, matte, glossy and so on. Which one should you choose?


Creamy red lipsticks are great for dry lips. Not only will a cream base moisturise your lips, but it will also give you intense colour. These are great for morning or night wear, but remember your mask may not let them last too long!


Need just a hint of colour? Sheer lipsticks are ideal if you want a natural-looking effect on your lips. Think of them as lip balms but with a sheen of your favourite shade!


Literally your partner through thick or thin, a matte red lipstick gives intense pigmentation and lasts a long time. Mattes are ideal if you want a colour that stays put without the need for touch-ups. Creamy as you apply and set to matte after, these will be your go-to for a long night out.


A glossy red lipstick is never a bad idea! It will give an intense shiny texture with tons of colour thrown in and instantly lift your overall makeup. Get one with extra glitter and you’ll have your holidays and celebrations sorted too!

How to Find a Red Lipstick that Works with Your Shade of Teeth?

If choosing the right shade of red based on your skin undertone, skin colour and texture wasn’t enough, it’s worth considering what will make your teeth look yellow.

Did you know that the perfect shade of red can actually brighten your whole face, along with your teeth? Your best bet is finding a red shade with blue undertones. These shades counter the yellow in our teeth and make them look more white.

Some universally flattering shades for white teeth include the popular MAC Lipstick – Tropic Tonic (Matte) and a mineral option, the YoungbloodIntimatte Mineral Matte Lipstick – #Sinful.