Find the perfect red lipstick for your skin tone

Yep, there's one for everyone

New Idea Contributor / March 30 2020

A good red lipstick can be completely transformative. It can instantly turn a humble workday makeup look into one worthy of a night out, or it can be just what you need to spice up your day.

So how do you find the red that’s right for your skin tone? We’ve taken the guesswork out of getting your perfect shade for you. All you need to do is be bold.

If you have very pale or fair skin

Amanda Seyfried

Taylor Swift

Emma Stone

While those with alabaster  and pale complexions may fear the bold hue, the right one will work wonders in creating a standout makeup look.

A fair, peach-toned skin should wear a true red,” says Anne Salem, National Makeup Artist for Laura Mercier.

Translation: fire-engine red, which instantly brightens pale complexions.

Try: Laura Mercier Créme Smooth Lip Color in Hollywood

If you have medium skin

Emma Watson

Miranda Kerr

Selena Gomez

Those with medium skin tend to have warmer undertones, and will find a different kind of red suits them better.

“Warm and orange tones look best,” says Melanie Burnicle, Founder & Director of The Makeup Artist Guild Asia Pacific.

Think a coral or tomato-based red, which really pop against a slightly golden skin tone.

Try: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice

If you have olive skin

Jessica Alba

Mila Kunis

Nina Dobrev

While those with a Mediterranean complexion will find most reds complement their skin tone, cool and berry tones are the go-to, and it's a good idea to embrace those orange-reds as they can really pop with your natural skin tone.

Try: Rimmel London Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 10

If you have dark skin

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jourdan Dunn


Get ready to go bold, because rich hues will look like heaven with your complexion.

“Deep wine colours are amazing on a dark skin,” says Salem, who recommends topping off your lipstick with a gloss to make your lips really stand out.

Try: Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primerin Berry Pop

Main image photography: Edward Urrutia
Image credits: Getty

Katherine previously worked on the beauty pages in New Idea.