Secrets From a Makeup Artist: How to Find Your Perfect Red Lipstick

You know that one outfit that’s your go-to when you want to feel like Beyoncé? Or that one piece of jewelry that just seems to make every outfit complete? No matter how many things you’ve tried on, if you don’t have that one outfit that hits all the right curves or that one piece of jewelry that you love, you just feel incomplete. This is how I feel about lipstick. Lipstick gives me the confidence of Beyoncé while making me feel like I just stepped out of a magazine. There seriously is nothing more gratifying to me than going into Sephora and buying that perfect shade of lipstick, especially red.

Now, with the holidays just around the corner, we’re going to help you find that perfect shade of red lipstick that will not only complement your skin tone but will also give you the confidence to impress on all those holiday Zoom parties.

None of this is an exact science either. You can wear any of these shades with any skin tone, and if you feel good, it probably looks good. But if red feels uncomfortable or too bold for you, these are a great starting point to find a shade that works well and still looks somewhat “natural” on you.


Universal Shades

A true red shade (with equal amounts blue and orange) is likely to look good on every single skin tone because it doesn’t wash out any of the undertones in your skin. When in doubt, opt for one of these shades. These tend to be brighter and bolder, but that’s perfect for the holidays!


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Fair Complexions

Fair complexions usually have a pink-based undertone. To really compliment your skin tone, use blue-based reds or pink-based reds—think raspberry tones. These red lipsticks will pick up the pink tones in your complexion and really make your smile pop.


Light Complexions

Light complexions typically lean neutral or warm-toned. To really compliment your skin tone, use a slight orange-based red. These lipsticks will pick up the golden undertones and really brighten your complexion.

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Lip Souffle Matte Cream Lipstick in "Inspire"

This is actually Selena Gomez's go-to shade!


Medium Complexions

Medium complexions can lose and gain a suntan easily, so change your red lip based on the season. In the summertime when you are soaking up rays, wear an orange-based red. This will compliment your bronze skin and lend a brightening look to your complexion.

In the winter when you’re cozying up by the fire, wear a blue-based red. This will complement your lighter skin tone while giving the appearance of brighter teeth.


Olive Complexions

Olive skin tones have a yellow-green undertone that tans very easily. To really complement your bronze skin tone, use a brick or rust-colored red. These earthy tones will warm up your complexion while blending with your skin effortlessly.


Caramel Complexions

Caramel complexions have a yellow-based undertone. To really compliment your skin tone, use a true cherry red. These red lipsticks will pick up the warmth in your skin tone and really brighten your smile.


Golden Dark Complexions

Golden dark skin tones have a yellow undertone.  This type of skin tone can really play with pigment when it comes to choosing a red lipstick. For a bolder look, try a true red. This will pick up the warmth in your skin and create a brighter complexion.

For a more natural-looking red, try blue-based reds—think oxblood. This will compliment your darker skin tone and create a unified look.


Deep Complexions

Deep complexions can really play with pigment when it comes to red lipsticks. If you want a bolder look, use an orange-based red to really make your pout pop.

To have a more natural-looking red, use a blue-based red—think Merlot. Both types of reds will compliment your skin tone and create a brighter smile.