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Choosing the right red lip color for your skin tone is more important than you might think. Too blue and you'll look washed out, too orange and it'll clash with your skin. Pick the perfect red for your skin tone with these tips.

Red lips are always on trend - they're classic, elegant and timeless, but they can also be incredibly fashion-forward, too. It's also the color of passion, danger and sex - and when daubed onto your lips, it can transform you from drab to vamp. We've seen everything from pinky-reds to deep, dark berry reds on the catwalk and in stores, but how do you choose the right red for your skin tone? 


Learn everything you need to know about your skin tone and picking the right colors for your skin tone with these tips.

Getting To Know Your Skin Tone

Before you can go lipstick shopping, you need to get to know your skin tone - whether you're warm or cool, regardless of your skin color.

These tips should help you determine whether you're warm or cool.

  • If your skin tone is warm, you'll suit earthy colors, like brick red, orange, gold, peach, bronze, ivory, brown and moss green. You'll look fabulous in yellow.
  • If your skin tone is cool, you'll suit jewel colors, like purple, royal blue, emerald green, pink, silver and white. You'll look fabulous in blue.
  • Hold a piece of white paper up against your face whilst standing in front of a mirror. If your skin looks yellowish or golden next to the paper, your skin tone is warm, and if it looks pinkish or red next to the paper, your skin tone is cool.
  • Take a look at the inside of your wrists. Go and stand by a window (or outside) in natural light and make a fist with your hand. If the veins on the inside of your wrist are mainly green in color, your skin tone is warm. If the veins are mainly blue in color, your skin tone is cool.
  • Another way to determine your skin tone is to take a look at the bigger picture. Those with warm skin tend to have apricot undertones to their skin, as well as hair with flecks of red, gold, deep brown, orange or yellow, with green, hazel, brown or amber eyes. Those with cool skin tend to have pink undertones to their skin, as well as hair with flecks of ash, blue, violet or silver, with blue, blue-green, turquoise, gray-green or cool brown eyes.

If you're still unsure, that might mean that your skin is neutral toned.

If your skin is neutral, lucky you - it means you can get away with wearing virtually any makeup color and you'll look a million dollars!

Alternatively, pop into your local makeup counter - the beautician should be able to tell you what your skin tone is if you're having trouble.

Choosing The Right Red

The key to choosing the perfect red lip color for your skin tone is to look for something that's going to complement your skin tone, bringing out the natural undertones in your skin, making you look brighter and more radiant. 


In general, all you need to know is:

  • Warm skin tones suit yellow or orange reds, such as poppy red, tomato red, fire-engine red and maroon. Corals look great, too.
  • Cool skin tones suit blue or pink reds, such as crimson, berry, cherry red, ruby and strawberry.

The color of your skin also has a huge impact on which shade of red best suits your skin tone. 

  • Those with fair skin with a warm skin tone suit corals and brick reds that warm up the complexion, while those with fair skin and cool skin tones suit pinky corals and true red hues with a hint of blue.
  • Those with medium/olive skin are very lucky - they can get away with wearing hundreds of different red lip hues. Most shades will work with olive and medium skin coloring, so experiment until you find a color that you really love. True reds, cranberries, pinky reds and tomato reds can look fabulous with your coloring - but remember to always choose shades that suit your skin tone above anything else.
  • Those with darker skin tones and cooler undertones really suit deep berry reds like jam, fig and dark cherry. If you have darker skin and a warmer skin tone, bright orange reds and corals can really pop against your skin, and they're particularly beautiful in the summertime.

Applying Your Red Lipstick

Once you've chosen your red lipstick, you need to know how to apply it! For a stained look that's perfect for everyday wear, simply blot the lipstick onto your finger and dab it onto the lips, concentrating the color at the center of the lips.

For a look that'll last through dinner, drinks and beyond, you will need to spend a little more time - but it'll most definitely be worth it. Exfoliate lips using a toothbrush and then smooth on some lip balm. Let the lip balm completely sink in, then blot with a tissue paper. Using a lip liner that matches your lipstick, line the lips and then fill in.

Next, use a lip brush to brush the lipstick onto the lips. Apply two or three times, blotting your lips on tissue paper in between each application - this'll mean that it lasts for hours and hours. Finish with a coat of lip sealant to lock in color.

It's easier than you'd think to get the perfect red lip color for your complexion, but we don't want to restrict your makeup looks - experiment with colors that you love and you'll look a million dollars, regardless of your skin tone.
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