Finding Your Perfect Red Lipstick


Often perceived as one of the most tricky beauty trends to crack, once mastered the red lip is both empowering and iconic. If you worry about being able to pull off the power pout, or think it’s not for you, the good news is that there is a texture and shade to suit everyone. Just follow our tips to finding the right red for you…

Where To Start…

If you’re a novice when it comes to wearing red, there are ways to ease yourself into the trend without going straight for a fully lined, matte lip. “Start with a sheer lipstick like Lipstick Queen Medieval,” suggests Laura Donati, Lipstick Queen’s National Account Manager at Space NK. “Look for a low pigment content with a glossy finish, as this will allow you to start braving the reds without being put off by the intensity of the colour.” Tinted lip balms such as Eve Lom Kiss Mix and Caudalie French Kiss Tinted Lip Balm are also a great way to start getting used to seeing your complexion with a red lip whilst a soft, sheer finish. Makeup artist and ex-Space NK alumni Katie Jane Hughes who’s created the looks for The New Beauty Mood, suggests buying a red you love, no matter how dark, and mixing it with your favourite nude. “Wearing it like this at first and then building up and changing the ratio of colour as you go is a slow and steady way into the look,” she says.

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Once you start to feel more confident, step it up by choosing a lipstick with more pigment. Laura suggests Lipstick Queen Eden – a summery red with a white sparkle to help make teeth appear whiter, which can often be a concern when wearing red. A matte red like Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment in Light My Fire is the most daring way to wear red. Liquid formulas that dry matte are easy to apply and you can be more precise with a tapered brush or doe-foot applicator.

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The Right Red…

The biggest struggle with wearing red is selecting the right shade to suit your skin tone. When finding the right red for you, first analyse your skin tone and try to decide if you have warm or cool undertones as this will determine which shade are most flattering. “If you have cool undertones, look for blue reds and if you have warm undertones look for orange reds,” explains Albane Laloy, Head of Artistry at By Terry. It’s also important to consider season; in general blue reds are more appropriate for winter while orange reds are more flattering in the summer on sunny, glowing complexions. Don’t forget, if you’re still stuck, our in-store expert sales associates are always on hand to help you find your perfect colour match.

If you have fair skin with cool pink undertones go for rich raspberry reds that complement and warm up your complexion.

Try: Nars x Erdem Lipstick in Carnal Carnation

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If you have a medium skin tone with golden undertones stick to true reds that don’t lean towards either blue or orange.

Try: By Terry Terrybly Velvet Rouge in My Red

If you have medium to dark skin with warm undertones, orangey reds complement the warmth of darker skin.

Try: Rodin Luxury Lipstick in Tough Tomato

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How To Apply…

If you feel yourself getting braver, or simply want to take the look from day to night, accompany any red with a complementary lip liner. Laura explains, “this will add boldness and structure to the colour by making it a statement look. It will also allow you to get longevity out of the wear.”

When it comes to application, Katie suggests applying lipstick straight from the bullet and then using a brush for the edges. “Use the brush at the end to move the colour out into the outer corners and into every crease,” she says. However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed take on the look, create some texture and press the colour onto your lips using your finger. “This gives a more natural, just bitten lip effect without the red lipstick statement look,” says Albane. However you choose to apply your rouge, finish the look by placing your index finger into your mouth and pulling out to ensure that no lipstick transfers onto your teeth.