Guide to finding the perfect red lipstick
There's nothing as classic as a bold red lip – here's how to find the right one for you!
Red lipstick is classic, timeless and can make a major statement. With so many options on the market, it can be a gruelling process to narrow down the perfect red for your skin tone, style and needs.
But never fear because if there's one thing we know, it's our red lipsticks.
Use this guide when you're looking for the perfect red to step up your look from everyday to glam, or even if you're after a new signature colour! Once you've found your shade, check out where to buy all the lipsticks you could ever want!
First, is your tone warm or cool?
Most people know how important knowing your skin undertone is when it comes to picking out a foundation, but did you know it's equally as important when you pick red lipstick? Red lipstick can look incredible when it's done right, so you want to make sure you're picking the right colour for you.
The test: check your wrists. It may seem like a strange thing to do, but what you're looking for is whether your veins look closer to blue or green.
If you've got blue-coloured veins then you're more cool-toned, while green veins indicate a warm undertone. Another way to tell is to see if your face tends to skew more pink or more yellow.
Best red lipstick for fair skin
Jeffree Star Lip Ammo in Redrum is definitely a good choice for fair-skinned makeup lovers.
Not only is it the perfect vibrant shade, but it's super long-lasting, doesn't tend to flake and provides a really smooth contrast between your skin and the lipstick.
Another benefit is that because of the formula, you may not have to wear a lipliner with Redrum – as long as you've got a steady hand and apply it smoothly.
Plus, we all know that Jeffree himself is on the paler side so if he can rock it, you can too.
Best red lipstick for dark skin
Red lipstick always looks stunning on deeper skin tones, but you want to make sure you choose a colour that is going to stand out and give you that bold look you're after.
We love the Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick in Heartbreaker for gals with darker skin.
Huda Beauty was one of the first brands to start developing ranges that were more inclusive (second only to Rihanna's Fenty Beauty launch) and the shades definitely work on a wide variety of skin tones.
Heartbreaker is a vibrant red that dries matte but will still leave your lips feeling hydrated and supple all day long. If you really want to go big, blend it with the vivid orange shade Mamacita for a fire-hot look.
Best red lipstick for mature wearers
We all get older, but that definitely doesn't mean that our love of all-things-red-lipstick has to fade.
In fact, many mature makeup lovers favour red lipstick because of its classic look!
We recommend Dior's Rouge Dior lipstick in the shade 999 for mature wearers because not only is Dior known for having timeless products, it's also super luxurious and one of the company's most iconic reds.
It has a satin-to-matte finish and should last you up to 16 hours of wear throughout the day. So whether you're out and about or simply feel like spoiling yourself one day, you'll still look elegant and bold.
Best red lipstick for younger wearers
MAC's iconic Retro Matte lipstick in Ruby Woo is always a favourite for younger red-lipstick lovers – here's looking at you, teenage me.
And here's the reason it's so popular: not only is it really accessible (you can buy MAC products at eBay, MAC standalone stores, and even David Jones), but it's also a bright poppy colour that suits young skin.
The matte finish is subtle and will still achieve a fun, vibrant look for any young adult who's starting to embrace a red lip.
And if that alone isn't enough to convince you, try saying the name quickly three times and not feel bubbly.
Best red lipstick for long-lasting wear
Fenty Beauty was easily the runaway hit of the beauty world in 2017 and it's easy to see why.
Rihanna's beauty brand took huge strides for inclusivity, and frankly the products themselves are incredible.
So it should come as no surprise that the Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint would make it onto our guide.
The vivid red is incredibly long-lasting, touting 12-hour wear and a soft matte finish.
Described as the "perfect universal red", it suits all skin tones.
Besides, if it's Rihanna-approved then we're on board!
Best red lipstick on a budget
Rimmel London Lasting Finish lipstick in Alarm
Just because you want to look expensive doesn't mean you can always afford to.
There are a few great red lipsticks that sit on the lower end of the price spectrum, but our firm favourite is from Rimmel London.
It's the Lasting Finish lipstick in the shade Alarm, and frankly we'd be alarmed if you didn't fall in love at first swipe because the shade is bold and will definitely turn heads.
For its price, you might be surprised at how creamy the lipstick feels to apply and considering you'll be rocking the colour for up to eight hours, you want it to feel as good as it looks.
And with celebrity fans like Georgia May Jagger and Kate Moss, Rimmel is definitely a brand to watch.
Can you wear red lipstick every day?
A lot of people only ever wear red lipstick for special occasions, but there's no reason you can't wear it on a daily basis.
If you're opting to rock the red year-round, we do have a couple of top tips for you.
- Stick to a simple colour palette with your clothes. You're using the red as your pop of colour, so try to stick to neutrals. Black, white and denim always look good with a red lip.
- Go subtle on the eyes. If you want to wear red lipstick every day it might be worth paring back your eye makeup to the basics so you're not full glam every day of the week – unless you want to be, of course!
- Pick a signature red. If you want to wear red lipstick every day and establish that as your definitive look, you're going to want some consistency. Rock the same red every day and people will realise that you mean business.
Can you wear red lipstick to work?
Some people may shy away from daring to rock a red lip in the workplace, and there's really no hard and fast answer here.
It really does depend on your workplace – is it somewhere conservative or are you able to let a little creativity out?
If you have a little leeway with your makeup choices, you may want to ease your way in to a bold red lip by trying a slightly more muted tone first. Orange-reds are a good transition into vampy blood red, especially if you're going straight from nudes.
However, it's just as important that you opt for a classic eye look if you're wearing this to work in a corporate environment. Pair it with a muted eyeshadow, a dash of mascara and a blazer, and you'll be set for work.
Above all though, you should consult your company's dress code before trying out any bright colours on your face.
Can redheads wear red lipstick?
The short answer is simple: yes, of course! Anyone can wear red lipstick regardless of hair colour.
However, the long answer is that although anyone can wear red lipstick, some shades will suit you better than others. Having red hair makes it a bit tough to find a colour that won't clash, but we assure you that it's totally possible – if celebrities like Karen Gillan can rock the look, we know it can happen!
The first thing you need to consider is the tone of your hair. You don't want to match your lipstick with your hair perfectly, so it's important to have a complementary tonal difference between the two.
If you have more copper-toned hair, opt for a blue-red or other cooler-toned reds. Alternatively, if you've got more auburn-toned hair you could go for a warmer shade on your lips.
How do you stop red lipstick from bleeding?
More than any other colour, red lipstick does have an annoying tendency to bleed. Perhaps the vibrancy of the colour makes it all the more noticeable, but those tiny little streaks can very easily make a look go from "glamorous night out" to "just ate 2am kebabs".
The answer is threefold: moisturise, use lip liner and blot.
Apply a lip balm before you pop your lipstick on, but not too soon before because it may transfer. Allow the balm to really settle into the lips first.
Once that's done, use a lip liner in either the same shade or one slightly darker than the colour you'll be using. Line your lips however you prefer (some prefer to overline to give the illusion of a fuller pout), and voila. You've got a ready-made fence around your lips to keep the colour from bleeding.
Then, apply your lipstick and move on to the final step. Use a small piece of tissue paper to blot your lips, removing excess colour.
While you do this, if long-lasting colour is a goal for you, you can also lightly dust translucent powder over the tissue paper while it rests against your lips. It sounds strange, but it locks the colour right in!
Even more shopping deals
Ask an Expert