The Perfect Red Lip for Your Skin Tone & The Holidays!

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I’ve never been a fan of red lips on myself. Personally, I’m more of a smokey eye with neutral lip, but I’m trying to switch it up and I’m actually loving it. But, I realized finding the right shade of red for different skin tones isn’t always that easy (I’m wearing 2 shades above for this look – Smashbox Bawse outlined with Tarteist lip paint in Manbun)

So, I’m sharing a fairly simple breakdown of my top picks of red lipsticks for various skin tones.


For those with more pink or cool undertones, look for more coral & orange reds to help contrast your undertone. A great way to tell if you fall under this category is if you have pale skin and tend to burn easily.

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Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl

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Loreal Paris Colour Riche Lipcolour in British Red

For fair skin with more yellow or warm undertones look for blue-based reds that fall in the berry family.

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Nars Lipstick in Red Lizard

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Maybellone Color Sensational Lipcolor in Plum Perfect

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Revlon Matte in Really Red


You fall under this category if you describe your skin as beige, olive or bronze. You’re pretty lucky too because you can get away with almost any shade of red! For those with yellow undertones, you can again do almost anything from true red, to pink/blue based reds.

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Revlon color burst in True Red

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Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Kate #1

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Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Call the Shots

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NYX Electra

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Nars Cruella


Dark skin tones tend to have more golden or peachy undertones. Colors that work nicely with this complexion are tangerine, maroon and raspberry. Bright colors pop against darker skin really nicely.

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Revlon Moon Drops Lipstick in Orange Flip

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NYX lipstick in Snow White

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Revlone Matte in Really Red

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Nars Jungle Red

Here are a few tips to remember when applying a hard-to-do bold lip:

  1. Outline and fill your lips with a nude color lipliner to help the color last longer
  2. Use a lip brush instead of directly applying the lipstick to help you achieve a precise look
  3. Use your fingertip to apply any red gloss or lipstick to get more of a stain (Red can be a little intimidating for a lot of people!)
  4. Use your concealer brush to clean up any smudges and trace the edges of your lips to really make your lips pop

Here’s a little video I did on how I prep my lips for bold lipstick:


And my biggest tip to remember is that there really are no SET rules! You don’t have to be afraid to try as many colors as you want. In my opinion, it really isn’t about the actual color, rather how bright or intense the color is against your skin-tone. So, if you’re confused with the terminology (et al- blue-red, orange-red tones) just make sure it’s not too overwhelming for your face when combined with your makeup and hair. But it’s really your personal choice as to how bold or tame you want your lips to be. To go a step further, when shopping for your perfect shade hold the lipstick near your lips to see if it has the same tones as your natural lip color and that it looks nice against your skin tone.

Ami Desai

Creative Producer & Owner at Ami Desai
Ami Desai is a creative producer, host, makeup artist, and lifestyle expert. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from UC Berkley and a Masters Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University. She shares everyday tips on hair care, makeup, and fashion on her Instagram, YouTube, and

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