Wear Red Lipstick With Confidence

By on January 30, 2013

By Carrie Stern Kleiner for Completely You

Too shy to wear red lipstick, even for Valentine’s Day? Don’t be. Nothing says elegant, sophisticated, chic and romantic like scarlet or poppy lips. But with such a bold color, finding the right red for you can be a little daunting. Here’s how to take the guesswork out of the process.

Red Lipstick Tip No. 1: Find the right color.

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The key is to match the undertones of your skin with the undertones of your red lipstick (blue to blue, golden to golden). “Fair skin with pink undertones looks best with blue-based cool reds,” says Brett Freedman, a Hollywood makeup artist who has worked with Vanessa Hudgens, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jessica Biel. Go for lipstick shades with pinky-blue undertones and names such as scarlet, cranberry or magenta.

Medium skin with yellow undertones looks great with a red that has a touch of gold, like orange-reds and corals. Choose shades called coral, poppy or tomato, says Freedman. Those with darker skin should try a terra cotta tone with an orange base. Cinnamons and bricks fall into this category.

If you’re still not sure which to wear, Freedman suggests pulling five red lipstick colors you like and lining them up. You’ll start to notice the cool and warm tones in each.

Red Lipstick Tip No. 2: Try it on.

It’s not enough to look at the right colors and swipe them on your hands. “You really need to try the nominees on your face,” says Freedman. His no-fail trick? Take out your cell phone and snap a few photos. You’ll know immediately if you’ve found the right red lipstick.

Red Lipstick Tip No. 3: Prep properly.

The key to making your color last is starting with a slough. For an even finish, gently exfoliate your lips with a washcloth. Lip balm acts as a canvas to anchor color.

Red Lipstick Tip No. 4: Pick your potion.

A red lip can be bold or demure, depending on the formulation you choose. For daytime (especially if you’re a nude-gloss kind of girl), a sheer glaze or stain is the way to go. It’s subtle and won’t be overpowering, says Freedman. For a big night out, wear it bold. Choose a moisturizing lipstick with a satin finish. Prep with a touch of concealer around the lip area to help the lipstick last longer and prevent color from bleeding and feathering, he says.

Red Lipstick Tip No. 5: Keep the rest simple.

Your pretty pout will get all the attention, so it’s best to keep the rest of your makeup more subdued. For blush, “try something fleshy with a touch of sheen,” says Freedman, who also likes a sweep of champagne cream along the cheekbone. For the eyes, try a pale sweep of shadow and an application of mascara. To dress up the look, apply liquid liner. Be sure to keep liquid liner close to the lash line.

Do you wear red lipstick? Tell us below or connect with us @Completely_You

Carrie Stern Kleiner has contributed to such publications as The Knot, Fitness, Health and TotalBeauty.com. She was an editor for New York Magazine Wedding Guide and the senior beauty editor for Quick and Simple magazine.

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Wear Red Lipstick With Confidence