As a teenager, I remember watching classic movies and being drawn to the gorgeous red lips of Rita Heyworth and Elizabeth Taylor. I wanted so badly to look as glamorous as they were, but every time I attempted to dress up my pucker with a bold red, I ended up looking like Ronald McDonald’s unfortunate sister.
After many years of failure, I finally found the secret behind the perfect red lip. Since I’m a girl and I love to share, I’ll pass my hard earned information on to you! If I can save just one woman the heartache of looking like Bozo, then my work here is done.
Skin Tone & Undertones
Before we go too in depth, we should start with the basics. I’m going to assume you already know if your skin is fair, medium or dark. If I’m wrong…well then I suppose the old line about assumption applies in both our cases.
Undertones are a bit trickier. Your skin’s undertone is classified as warm if it is yellow, golden or peach. It’s classified as cool if it’s pink, red or blue. Check out the inside of your wrist in natural light. If your veins appear blue you have cool undertones. If they appear green you have warm undertones. If you see a mixture of both then you may be one of the lucky neutral girls!
If the vein trick isn’t working for you, give one of these other methods a try.
The Perfect Red
When looking for the ideal red, remember that lipstick shades with similar undertones to your skin will look the most natural on your lips.
If you have fair skin, aim for a classic red shade. Those with cool undertones should go for a true cherry red. If you have warm undertones, opt for coral reds that add a shot of color but aren’t too intense.
Our medium skinned friends are pretty lucky as most shades work well with their coloring. True reds, cranberry shades, and pink-based reds will all look fabulous! Olive skinned girls should go for brighter reds with an orange or golden base.
Darker-toned women get the joy of wearing deeper and more vibrant colors. If your undertones are warm, stick with colors like burgundy or warm brick—super bright ones can seem too severe. If your skin runs on the cooler side, try a blue-based shade like fig or dark cherry.
Wearing Red Like a Pro
Unfortunately, pulling off a bold lip isn’t always as easy as sweeping on a gloss and hitting the road. If you want a truly enviable red pout, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
SStart with a thick layer of lip balm, let it sit for 15 minutes and then wipe the excess off with a tissue. My personal favorite is the Citrus Balm from Eminence.
With a lip liner that matches your lipstick as closely as possible, line the outer part of your lip and color it in.
Use a lip brush to apply your color as you’ll have much more control over where the lipstick goes.
To stop smearing and bleeding, dab a small bit of concealer around your lips.
And there you have it! I now rock the red lip on a regular basis and not once have I been asked to make a balloon animal! I have every confidence that you too can go forth into the world and make daring lipstick choices. You’ll look fabulous!