How to Wear Red Lipstick

You love that red lipstick look but you worry you’ll look ridiculous wearing it. Sounds like you? Rest assured, this is a common concern among women. You may even envy others who can wear red lipstick effortlessly or others who know what shade best suits them. It’s OK, you’re not alone. True, red lipstick may seem hard to pull off; however, with the right tools, you can rock red lipstick too! To begin, there are fundamentals every woman should be aware of.

Shades of Red

Not every shade of red is created equal. What do we mean? Different shades of red will complement different complexions.

Fair Complexion

If you have fair complexion, try red lipstick with cool-tones and hints of blue and purple. We like NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red.

NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red

Photo credit NARS Cosmetics

Medium Complexion

If you have medium complexion, try a shade of orange-red such as MAC Matte Lipstick in Lady Danger.

MAC Matte Lipstick in Lady Danger

Photo credit MAC Cosmetics

Dark Complexion

If you have dark complexion, try a deep or bright red shade such as Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Red Carpet.

Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Red Carpet

Photo credit Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

We understand, you’re busy, you don’t have time to ponder what shade of red complements your complexion. Luckily, there are universal shades that complement any complexion. Try MAC Ruby Woo, you can’t go wrong.

MAC Ruby Woo

Photo credit MAC Cosmetics

Different Finishes

In addition to different shades, another beauty of lipsticks is the availability of different finishes. To avoid an unnecessary headache, we’ve only included our three favorite finishes.


Expect a velvety smooth finish with no shine. Overtime, you can also expect drying of the lips. To alleviate this, apply lip balm to your lips prior to wearing lipstick and throughout the day.


Expect silky smooth texture with a sheen. A semi-matte finish, between a matte and creamy finish, satin finish doesn’t dry out the lips.


Expect rich texture with a little shine. Due to the waxy formulation of creamy finishes, your lips stay moisturized.

Tips for the Perfect Red Pout

  • Use a lip liner of the same or similar shade to outline your lips. This helps to keep your lip line clean.

  • For smears, because we know applying red lipstick can be tedious, use concealer to clean up your lip line.

  • Before leaving the house and throughout the day, check for lipstick on your teeth. Nothing ruins your polished look faster than red lipstick on your teeth. Ugh.

  • Retouch throughout the day.

Now that you know you can rock that red lipstick, own it like it’s nobody’s business!

We're loving this orange-red lipstick look by Kim of Blush'in Beauty!