Before we dive in, let’s get this out of the way: Anyone can wear red lipstick. All it takes is the desire to wear it. “The right red is the one that makes you feel good,” Los Angeles-based makeup artist Fiona Stiles, whose clients include Margot Robbie, Gabrielle Union, and Lily Collins, tells Allure.
However, you stand a better chance at finding a red lipstick you love by taking your skin tone into account. We asked professionals makeup artists to share the shades of red lipstick that flatter each complexion best, and we'll give you some product recommendations to keep in mind. If you happen to be worried that you can’t "pull off" red, here's our advice: don’t worry. "If having a hard time stepping into red, then tap on the lipstick with your finger for a sheerer, stained, diffused effect," recommends New York City-based makeup artist Rommy Najor.
Fair skin tends to have a naturally pink flush to it, explains New York City-based makeup artist Daniel Martin, whose clients include Jessica Alba and Elisabeth Moss. Complement it using cool-toned red lipsticks with hints of blue and purple instead of warm-toned ones with orange hues. These kinds of colors not only make fair skin look brighter but they also make teeth look whiter.
Prefer a less vibrant red? Try TPSY Absoliptly Lipstick
in Cherry On Top, which is a cool-toned berry despite what its fruity name implies. The more you layer on of this K-beauty pick, the shinier it becomes. Less gives it a more subtle, satin finish.
Flesh Beauty Proud Flesh Matte Liquid Lipcolor in Brazen hasn't been available for long, but it's quickly become a go-to for New York City-based makeup artist Ingeborg. The scarlet hue has a hint of warmth to it that won't wash you out, and Ingeborg says the long-wearing formula doesn't dry out lips either.
On dark complexions, Martin loves a deep, bright, matte red. Look for true, candy-apple reds. They don't have a white base, so they won't look chalky or ashy. Alternately, chocolate-cherry lipsticks work, too, because they mimic the richness and depth of deeper complexions, Oquendo adds.
For deeper skin tones, Oquendo recommends taking inspiration from the red carpet for your perfect red lipstick shade. The Lip Bar Matte Liquid Lipstick in Red fits the bills with its lush, stay-put formula. And a major plus is it's from a black-owned beauty brand.
When Oquendo called out a chocolate-cherry lipstick for deeper skin tones, we immediately thought of the Nyx Pin-Up Pout Lipstick in Revolution. The burgundy shade has gorgeous hints of brown that make it perfect match for a smoky eye look. Najor adds that warmer red lipsticks like this one "tend to feel a bit more soothing and subtle since they aren’t considered 'bright'."