How To Pick The Best Red Lipstick For Your Skin Tone

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Anyone who's worn red lipstick knows the power it has to instantly transform any look. Red is a universal shade that works for everyone, which is one of the many reasons it's so sought-after. But although red looks gorgeous on everyone, it's not necessarily one size fits all. To find the perfect match, you'll want to know the best red lipstick for your skin tone.

"The general rule with a red lip is that it's for everyone, but some shades may compliment the skin more," Lucy Halperin, celebrity makeup artist who works with Kate Mara and America Ferrera, tells TZR.

For starters, there are different undertones in red lipsticks. "Cool based lipsticks have blue undertones," Vincent Oquendo, celebrity makeup artist who works with Regina King and Nina Dobrev, tells TZR. And if it's warm based, the undertones are orange.

Take matching your red lipstick even a step further. An insider tip you've probably haven't heard of yet: coordinate a red lipstick with your eyes. "One thing people really never talk about is a color that makes their eyes pop," Oquendo explains. "If they have blue eyes, I tend to go for warm based colors which would be my oranges." He says if his clients have green or brown eyes, he'll usually go for cool based colors. "Go for the contrasting colors that make your features pop."

Ready to find the perfect red lipstick for your skin tone? Keep scrolling below to meet your ideal match.

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Red Lipstick For Fair Skin

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"In general, fair skin should look for red lipstick with a cool blue base," Tasha Reiko Brown, celebrity makeup artist whose clients include Tracey Ellis Ross and Alicia Keys, tells TZR. "Because women with fair skin tend to have cool undertones, the pairing is very complimentary." But, she says to avoid a blue base that's super deep, as it can look a bit jarring. Another reason to choose a blue based undertone is if you have rosacea. "Fair skin looks best in blue undertone red because it balanced any pink or redness in skin," Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks, celebrity makeup artist who works with Jennifer Hudson and Taraji P. Henson, tells TZR. Her favorite red lipstick for fair skin is MAC's iconic Ruby Woo.

But, fair skin tones don't have to stick to just a red lipstick with a blue base. Additionally, Brown says that light orange undertones are a beautiful, modern way for fair skinned women to wear a red lip.

Red Lipstick For Medium Skin


"Medium and olive skin tones look great in red tones, particularly warmer toned reds," Tobi Henney, celebrity makeup artist who works with Charlotte Lawerence and Ashley Graham, tells TZR. The MUA says that olive skin has a yellow undertone, so orange based reds look best. And, it will even make medium skin tones appear more bronzy. "The warmth of an orange based red will can play up your olive undertones and make your skin look more tan," Brown says. Alternatively, a blue based red lip might be a better fit. "If you are on the pinky side, I love a blue based red for medium skin tones," Colby Smith, celebrity makeup artist who works with Sofia Richie and Dua Lipa, tells TZR.

Red Lipstick For Dark Skin

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"Melanin rich skin tones should look for the perfect red without pearl in it," Brown states. "If you’re looking for a red with shimmer make sure it’s a lovely golden sheen. White pearl is too much a contrast." She says true red and bright berry reds are her favorites when it comes to red lipsticks for dark skin tones. "They both pack a pigment punch but the berry red adds a touch of youth and flirtatious look to the face." For an undertone, consider picking one based off your skin's undertones. "Warm tone reds for those with warmer undertone skin and cool tone skin should look at classic blue based reds," Henney explains.

Red Lipstick For Deep Skin


"Deep skin tones look amazing with browns, purples, plums, caramel or wine shades," Monika Blunder, celebrity makeup artist who works with Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba, tells TZR. And she has a trick on how to determine the perfect match. "They can have warm or cool undertones, and the best way she find out is to look at your veins." She says if your vein looks green or greenish blue, you have a warm skin tone. If you can't tell whether or not your veins are green or blue, you probably have a neutral skin tone. Blunder explains that cool undertones look amazing in berry reds, and warm undertones look gorgeous with wine colored shades like burgundy or Bordeaux.

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