How to find the perfect red lip for your complexion

16 August, 2022 / words by IALH Editorial Team

Written by Kelle Salle

Image by Dior Beauty

Red lipstick can elevate any makeup look, which is why every woman should consider having at least one in her makeup collection. In addition to being universally friendly, red lipstick is also perceived to be a simple yet effective way to turn heads. While it’s nice to play it safe with brows, pinks and nudes, switching things up with red lipstick from time to time may be just what you need to exude power and confidence for your upcoming engagements. Before you start searching for the perfect red lipstick, there are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration, which is why we’ve sought the expertise of Emolyne Ramlov, the founder of Emolyne Cosmetics. Keep reading for some of her top tips on finding the right red lipstick.

Know your undertone

Red lipstick is so personal and finding the right shade can really transform your look but knowing your undertone is essential. While it’s easy to gravitate towards popular shades like pillarbox red, the finishing result will always vary because of your undertone. Opting for a red lipstick you’ve selected at random isn’t the best way to approach the search because the wrong red lipstick can wash you out, which can lead to feelings of discomfort. Wear the lipstick, don’t let the lipstick wear you. 

Blue-toned reds are recommended for those with fairer skin. Classic shades of red with slight blue undertones or more of a berry or crimson shade tend to compliment fairer skin perfectly. 

Olive skin tones can pull off a huge range of shades, but the best red lipsticks for them are bright red with orange tones. As olive skin is slightly warmer than other skin tones, it can balance the brightness in the lipstick. 

Rich reds work well on darker skin tones. Anything from maroons or neutral reds will do. Orange-based reds can also work but pink or blue tones look incredible on dark skin.

Test before you buy

What you may see on the packaging or a tester lipstick doesn’t always represent the shade completely. When searching for a lipstick in a shade that’s as bright and bold as red, it can be hard to see the differences, which is why it’s always good to swatch first. Even if you can’t try on the lipstick, try it on your hand so you can see what the shade looks like against your undertones. I would recommend holding the shade up to your lips as your hair and eye colour can influence the way the shade appears on your lips. One shade can look completely different on different people, so always keep this in mind.

Experiment with different shades of red

Be open to trying different shades of red lipstick without putting pressure on yourself to find the perfect one immediately. The shade that makes you feel your most confident is the one you need in your life. You might also find yourself alternating between different red lipsticks depending on your look or personal preferences. Something else to keep in mind is that changes in weather can also impact your choice, so it’s worth having one or two red lipsticks you can alternate as needed.

Try different textures

Lipstick textures can change how the shade looks. Matte shades tend to be more dense whereas glossy shades are more subtle because the shine can reflect your colourings. If you are trying red lipstick for the first time, I would recommend opting for gloss first.

Keep the rest of your look simple

A lot of people shy away from red lipstick because they think it makes them look too made up, but once you find the right red lipstick for you, keep in mind that less is always more. Red lipsticks don’t look too great on a full face of makeup. The best way to wear it is to pare back the rest of your makeup – you want your lips to be the focal point.

Mac – Ruby Woo

A cult classic. With a blue-toned shade that is super versatile, it suits all skin tones, but is particularly striking on cooler complexions.

Emolyne – Casablanca

A favourite shade for the summer. With statement-making orange undertones, it’s best suited to medium and olive skin tones.


Glossier – Generation G in Zip

These balm-like lipsticks are ideal for those who’ve never worn red lipstick before. They’re translucent and universally friendly. As well as being sheer and matte. The poppy red shade looks amazing on fairer skin tones.

NYX – Soft Matte Lip Cream Amsterdam

A super rich tone that feels light to wear, drying to a matte finish that doesn’t move once it’s on. It also smells great too!

 Lancôme L’ABSOLU ROUGE DRAMA INK – French-Bisou

This semi-matte lip ink by Lancôme has an intense colour without needing too much product. It feels comfortable and luxurious for all-day wear.

Charlotte Tilbury LIP LUSTRERED VIXEN – Red Vixen

This gloss is plumping and glamourous. It gives a perfect silky finish and glams up any look.


IALH Editorial Team


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