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 you? Turns out it’s all about undertones - are you a warm, cool, neutral or olive-toned human? Let’s find out... and get you a lipstick to match.
First things first - how do you figure out your undertone?
Well, there are a few ways to do this: look at the veins on your wrist and identify the colour of said veins. Green? You’re warm or olive-toned. Blue? Cool-toned. And if your veins are barely visible, then you belong in the neutral camp.
You can also use jewellery to determine your undertone; silver, platinum and rose gold tends to favour cool-toned skin, while traditional yellow gold flatters warmer and olive-toned complexions perfectly, and those with neutral undertones can wear silver and gold interchangeably.
Got it? Good let’s get to the lippy.
Those with warm skin tones tend to range from peach to yellow and golden undertones and look best in vibrant shades of poppy orange-reds, corals and sunset pink-reds. We love PAT MCGRATH LABS MatteTrance Lipstick in ‘Obsessed’ for a true rich orange-red that’s a staple and stand-out shade for summer. Try FENTY BEAUTY Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color in ‘Unattached’ for a punchy pop of coral that will last well past lunchtime. Or how about DIOR Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge Lipstick in ‘Poppy Red’ that somehow screams girls’ night out AND Sunday brunch simultaneously?
Cool-toned individuals tend to range between a pink and blue-ish undertone that’s generally flattered by true blue-toned reds, as well as hot pink and fuschia-filled reds - think of reds that inspire visions of bruised flower petals and fruit. CHANEL ROUGE ALLURE Luminous Intense Lip Colour in ‘Pirate’ captures this mood perfectly, delivering the perfect rose-toned red pout, while Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in ‘No. 72’ is a lovely plum-like take on the colour rouge. M·A·C Cosmetics Lipstick in ‘Ruby Woo’ takes the proverbial cake in terms of blue-reds though, and offers the most classic red lip finish.
Having a neutral undertone is kind of like winning the genetic lottery when it comes to lipstick. Because your tone complements so many different shades, neutral undertones can really get creative with their choice of red. NARS Lipstick in ‘Jungle Red’ is a delicious chilli-red with a soft-shine satin finish that’s sure to add a bit of pop to your look. KVD VEGAN BEAUTY
Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in ‘Traviesa’ delivers a neon-bright fire engine red that borders on electric pink. After a true tomato red? Shiseido ModernMatte Powder Lipstick in ‘Night Life’ adds a radioactive shock to the classic hue that will modernise any makeup.
Similar to their warm-toned cousins, olive-toned skin tones can rock the hell out of an orange red but they’re also able to nail that mysterious vampy look and pull off darker shades like nobody’s business - think charred pepper shades, rusts and blood reds. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in ‘Temper’ delivers the perfect shade of burnished, rusty rouge. For a vampy lip that works at the office, HOURGLASS Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick in ‘Secretly’ does the trick. Or there’s always GIORGIO ARMANI Lip Maestro Liquid Lipstick in ‘406’; a knockout bloody brown red that dries down to a soft matte, wearable finish.
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Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.