Celebrity Style Inspiration: Red Lips

Want a look that never goes out of style? From Lucille Ball to Elizabeth Taylor to more modern femme fatales like Taylor Swift and Rhianna, celebrities have been rocking bold red lips for decades. Red lipstick highlights white teeth and shows off a confident, passionate, sophisticated personality.

Red lips are notoriously hard to get right, but there’s no need to be afraid of them. Read on for some tips on how to find your most flattering look.


Find Your Shade

Red lipsticks come in hundreds of shades, ranging from orangy tangerine to pinky raspberry to the deepest wine. Choosing the right shade to complement your skin is vital to an attractive look.

Start by determining what skin tone you have. If you look at the reverse side of your forearm, you should see either a yellow/orange tone, which indicates warm undertones, or a pink/blue one that means cool undertones. If it’s not obvious, look at the veins that are visible under the skin—if they’re greenish, that means warm tones, while bluish means cool tones. (Note: if you have a mix of green and blue, that means you have a neutral skin tone and can wear just about any red you like. Lucky you!)

Warm Skin Tones

The rule of thumb is to choose shades that are similar to your undertones, so those with warm skin tones should look for lipsticks with yellow tints. Red-oranges, brick reds, and corals are all good bets.

Cool Skin Tones

If your skin tone is cool, you’ll do best with blue or purple-based reds. This includes the ones people tend to think of as “classic” red shades—cherry and true red. Darker skin tones may prefer an always-classy maroon or blackberry shade.

The Rest of Your Makeup

Red lipstick is so bold that it’s easy to overdo your total look. Keep the rest of your makeup minimal and neutral to keep the focus where it should be. If you can’t imagine going without your signature eyeliner, a cat-eye or subtle smoky eye can be a good complement to red lips, too (especially for a dramatic nighttime look).

Can’t figure out your skin tone, or having trouble matching it with the right lipstick? The makeup professional at the salon is your new best friend. He or she can determine your skin tone and try out different reds until you find the perfect one for you.