The Truth About Red Lipstick

Carolyn Diamond, professional makeup artist and medical aesthetician, wants you to SEE RED!

Red lipstick is a universal classic, never goes out of style and can be one of the most powerful weapons in any woman’s beauty arsenal. Yet, many of us assume we can’t wear it.

I, too, protested against wearing red lipstick for years. Whenever I’d gather enough courage to wear a new shade of red I’d think everyone was looking at my lips. Truth be known, they probably were. I finally learned that beautiful, red lips are striking, sexy and, an accessory! Now, I’m proud to say my lips are sporting red and, I’m loving it. (I’ve been wearing Poppy Red lip gloss from Glo Minerals).

To the many women who wrongly believe they can’t wear red lipstick, I say you can, indeed, find your perfect shade and you will own it.

The secret to choosing the right red lip color is in knowing your skin tone:

Women with pink skin undertones should opt for a cherry red, with a bit of a blue undertone.

Olive-complected women look great wearing fire-engine red, or a color with an orange base.

Women with darker skin tones look dynamic with deep rich red tones.

The paler the skin, the bigger the pop. So, go light on the eyes and the blush, otherwise you’ll risk looking like a clown. Skip the heavy eyeliner and opt for mascara only. Play up those lashes, ladies (black for brunettes, brown for blondes and redheads), and, make sure to apply the mascara to your bottom lashes to open up your eyes.

Try to match your lip liner shade exactly to your lipstick, or use a darker, more complimentary tone. A lip pencil creates a more defined edge and gives it, and the corners of your mouth, more depth.

Matching a red lip color to a red outfit isn’t a mistake, but it will make your “look” a bit predictable. If the dress is in the same color family as the lipstick, they’ll look good together, even if not an exact match. When wearing a red outfit, I sometimes wear a soft coral lip gloss called Peony, from Glo Minerals. It’s sexy and does not fight the red in the clothes.

When wearing red lipstick, avoid:

  • Deep reds if you have thin lips since they tend to make lips look smaller.

  • Overplaying your eyes. For the look of Old Hollywood Glamour, pair red lipstick with the lightest possible eye makeup. A little mascara and soft beige tone shadow work beautifully.

  • Applying it casually. It may take a bit of practice to use precision, but it’s worth the time.

  • Leaving red lipstick on your teeth. After application, be sure to blot lips.

When wearing red lipstick or gloss, the lips are the eye catcher, so keeping the rest simple creates a classic, elegant, versatile and an oh-so-sexy pout. After applying your foundation base, apply a very light dusting of bronzer (my choice is Glo Minerals, Sunkiss Bronzer) and follow with a soft application of blush to the apple of the cheeks. This creates an iridescent glow to the face. Very Pin-Up.

  • Lydia Ketcham Fox

    I love RED LIPSTICK. I have always chosen it over any other lipstick shade. I look good in it. Always have, always will. I am 74 now and folks guess my age about 30 years younger.

  • Katherine Lyons

    I always wore red lipstick, i felt as I got older I wear softer colors. Think I will try a Matt red

  • Kelly Reynolds

    Red Lipstick is Hot,Ladies. Wear it,Own it,Look every Bit of a Woman.

  • ebuy24hours

    I loved Hepburn

  • I love red lipstick & I often wear it. Tightlining your eyes is a great alternative to eyeliner, especially with red lips. I recommend a universal lipliner like Milani’s if you don’t have an exact color match. But I agree, if your lips are thin, pass on it!

  • Nomi

    I have never seen a woman (normal person, not a celeb in a curated photo) whom red lipstick fails to make look haggard and frightening. I much prefer the friendly, approachable look of no makeup. I never wear it and feel uncomfortable when one of my friends does.

  • Mick

    You always get compliments when you wear red lipstick or even a red shirt.

    I especially like to wear red when the weather is grey and overcast because it is an immediate pick me up for me and everyone else who “sees red.”

    One more tip: to avoid bleeding, blend foundation over the edges of your lips before applying to “block” crimson color from wandering outside the lines and always use a lip liner.

  • I love Red and Orange lipsticks, they really brighten up my complexion.