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Find Your Perfect Red Lip

Find Your Perfect Red Lip
Fragrance Direct Blog
Writer and expert5 years ago
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Do you dream of pout perfection? If you’d love to track down the best shade of red lipstick for your complexion, you’re in luck! Choose the right shade of red in a texture to suit you and kiss goodbye to dull, lifeless lips forever.

The first thing that you need to understand before choosing your perfect red is which undertone you are. If you’ve never heard of it before, don’t panic! Just imagine your skin has two layers – the top layer, and the layer underneath. The colour of this under-layer is your undertone.

What are the different colour skin undertones? • Cool undertone (pink) • Neutral undertone • Warm undertone (yellow) How to work out your skin’s undertone

1. The jewellery test – if silver jewellery suits you best, you’re likely to have a ‘cool’ undertone, and if you look better in gold, you probably have a ‘warm’ undertone. If both silver and gold jewellery looks great on you, you’re ‘neutral’. 2. The veins test – look at your wrist: if your veins look blue, you have a ‘cool’ undertone, and if they appear green, you’re ‘warm’. If you can’t tell what colour they are, you’re ‘neutral’. 3. The tan test – struggle to catch a tan? You have a ‘cool’ undertone. If you catch a tan easily and don’t tend to burn, you’re ‘warm’. If you can go either way, you probably have a ‘neutral’ undertone.

The best red lipstick based on your skin’s undertone

Cool undertones If you think you have a cool undertone, look for a blue-red lipstick to complement your complexion. Wearing blue-red lipstick is also a great trick to making your teeth look whiter!

Warm undertones Warm undertones should go for orange-red lipsticks, as the warmth of the orange will flatter your complexion perfectly.

Neutral undertones The lucky ones! While there is no specific shade of lipstick for you based on your undertone, you should find that you can pull off almost any colour. If you want to choose a lipstick based on your skin-tone, rather than your undertone, read on.

The best red lipstick based on your skin tone The best red lipstick for light skin tones

If you have fair skin, you might be worried about reaching for the red – well, try it! Instead of harshly contrasting your complexion, red lipstick in the right shade can perfectly complement your skin and leave you feeling amazing.

Fair skin looks fab with wine-coloured lipstick. We’ve got a lot of lip-love for Lily Collins, and she’s working the merlot-shade beautifully here.

If you have ‘cool’ undertones and fair skin, choose a bright red-blue lipstick for a timeless look. If you have ‘warm’ undertones beneath your pale complexion, cherry reds are best for you as they pick up the pigments in your skin, making you look fresh and youthful.

Red lipstick for medium skin tones

Vibrant reds are a great choice for medium skin tones, which have the warmth to carry them off. Choose a lipstick with orange undertones to enhance any hint tan you might have.

Red lipstick for medium-dark skin tones

One word – coral!

This fresh red shade looks fantastic with the warm undertones of an olive complexion, and since coral is slightly pinker than most red shades, it makes a great option for casual days.

Red lipstick for dark skin tones

If you have a dark skin tone you can work an orange-based red like no one else! Lupita Nyong’o is an excellent example of how stunning this look can be.

Lucky for you, deep skin tones can carry off most shades of red, whether it’s a bright candy colour or a captivating maroon.

Red lipstick to suit everyone

If you don’t feel confident enough to choose a red lipstick based on your undertone or skin tone, you can still wear the look with confidence. A classic red – that’s pure, unadulterated red with no orange or blue tone – looks great on everyone. Take inspiration from Anne Hathaway on this one, she knows how to do it right.

Choosing a red lipstick texture Lip stain

New to the game? If red lipstick is out of your comfort zone, go for a lip stain that you can apply and pretty much forget about. Lip stains are one of our favourite products because they can double-up as blushers – who doesn’t love a two-in-one?


Want to work a high-powered pout? Matte lipsticks give a highly-pigmented finish that’s perfect for a sophisticated, high-fashion look.


Lip gloss is the way to go if you can’t handle the commitment of an intensely pigmented lip! Red glosses can still pack a colourful punch when layered up but stay feeling light on your lips.

If you want to wear it and forget about it, go for a lightly-pigmented gloss (rather than a deeply-coloured one) and just apply a quick slick. It will wear off gradually but won’t leave a harsh line where it’s faded.


Sheer lipsticks deliver a wash of colour in a light, non-sticky texture – it’s like using a fancy lip balm!

Red lipstick expert tips

1. Use lip liner – lip liner helps to prolong the wear of your lipstick and stops it from bleeding out to the skin around your lips. Match your liner to your lipstick if possible, or go for a shade closer to your natural lip colour for a less dramatic edge.

2. Colour, blot, colour – apply your lip colour, blot it with a tissue, then pull a tissue apart so that it’s just one thin layer; place this tissue over your lips and use a powder brush to dust on translucent powder. Then, remove the tissue, apply another coat of lipstick and enjoy long-lasting results!

Feeling inspired? You can shop our collection of red lipsticks here.
Fragrance Direct Blog
Writer and expert
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