Sana Nurani - Vancouver Professional Makeup & Hair Artist

Finding the Perfect Red Lipstick

red lipstick

Finding the perfect shade of red lipstick for some women can be a feat they would rather not know. The best way to easily figure out what shade of red would suit you best is to first understand your skin’s undertone.

Take a look at the veins on the inside of your forearm. Are they green or blue? If they’re a blue or a blue-purple, you have “cool” undertones. If they’re more green, that means your a “warm” undertone (the yellow or golden hue in your skin makes blue veins appear green). If your veins look like a mix between green and blue or if you see both colors (not uncommon), that means you are a “neutral” undertone.

Now that you’ve deciphered your undertone (and also likely freaked out the person sitting next to you, who probably now thinks your either A. about to cut your wrists or B. about to stab a needle in them), we can begin to narrow down your “shade” range of colors.
Red lipsticks come in a myriad of shades. From orange-tones to brown-tones, I promise you there is one out there that will suit you. I can’t tell you how often I hear women say “I can’t pull off red lipstick”, and it’s not true. It simply means you haven’t found the correct shade.

The perfect shades for warm skin tones are: orangey-reds, warm reds, tomato-reds, brown-based reds, golden reds and tawny reds.

The perfect shades for cool skin tones are: pink tones of red, berry reds, blackberry reds, brick reds, blue tones of red and plum tones.

A true red, like a London Bus red, would look good on any skin tone. It’s what you would call, a “universal red”.
So now that I’ve taken all the guesswork out of finding that perfect shade of red, use the table below to make your next trip to Sephora a little easier.

Orangey-Red:
MAC Lady Danger
MAC 5 Alarm
Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Bright Poppy
Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Watermelon
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Lana

Golden-Red:
MAC Cockney
Guerlain Rouge G de Guerlain Jewel Lipstick Compact in Color Gina 20

Raspberry & Berry Reds:
Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Intense in Color 45
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Shine in Color 4 Rouge in Danger
Dior Addict Lipstick in Color 651 Mayday
Rimmel London Matte Finish Lipstick in 107
NYX Matte Lipstick in Bloody Mary
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo

Tomato-Red:
MAC Lady Bug
Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Top Tomato 050

Pink-Red:
MAC Damn Glamorous
Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Old Hollywood
Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Bachlorette
Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Color 69
Sephora Collection Rouge Cream Lipstick in Hot Tango 05

Blue-Red:
MAC Russian Red
MAC Ruby Woo
MAC Red
bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Call The Shots
Buxom Full Bodied Lipstick in Scoundrel
NYX Matte Lipstick in Prefect Red

Brown-Red:
MAC Chili
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Garnet
Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Intense in Color 44
NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Ulysses

Brick-Red:
MAC Fresh Moroccan
Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Burnt Red
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Marlene
NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Shanghai Express
NARS Satin Lipstick in Rouge Basque

Warm-Red:
BITE Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick in Apricot
Givenchy Le Rouge in Color 306 Carmin Escarpin

London Bus Red:
Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Red
Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Legendary
Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Underage Red

*please note that I did not list any limited or special edition shades as stock is temporary

One thing you should always remember when it comes to makeup is, although there are lots of “Do’s and Don’ts” and “guidelines”, at the end of the day, if you something is working for you as has been for a long time, then stick with it. If a shade of red that is “supposed” to not suit you, suits you, then wear it.

Ultimately everything I have just told you is a “guideline”.  It’s here to help simplify the daunting task of trying to “find your colors”.

Here’s a perfect example, I have warm undertones, so based on that I should be wearing tomato-reds, orange-reds and brown-reds. But guess what, I absolutely DESPISE the way ALL of those shades look on me. I actually prefer a blue-tone red lipstick on myself. In fact, my go to red is Russian Red by MAC.

So like I said, this is just a guideline to help you get started and help you understand the different shades of red. Now Happy Shopping!

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