Whether you are going for a sexy vixen or a modern fashion maven look, red lipsticks are a must-have in your arsenal. There are a ton of different kinds of red lipsticks to choose from: true reds for that bombshell pouts, bright orange and pink lipsticks leaning towards reds perfect for summer, matte brick reds for autumn, berries and magentas for a modern twist, and deep burgundies for a grunge edge.
In this complete guide to red lipsticks, I’ll cover all the factors that go into choosing a perfect red lipstick, from your skin tone and hair color, to your outfit and overall vibe. I’ll give you the key secrets and tips for a flawless and long-lasting red lipstick application, as well as a comprehensive list of the best red lipsticks for every skin tone. No matter who you are, you can rock red lipsticks as long as you follow my guidelines!
Red Lipstick Makeup Guide: Contents
21 Best Red Lipsticks for Fair, Medium, and Dark Skin Tones
Whether it’s your first time experimenting with red lips or you just want to amplify your collection of red lipsticks, here you can find the best red lipsticks for fair, medium and dark skin tones.
Best Red Lipsticks for Light and Fair Skin
1. MAC Ruby Woo
This perfect shade of retro red deserves to be first on any list of the best red lipsticks. It is the closest you can get to neutral, so it suits almost all undertones, and on those with pale skin, it looks vivid and striking. It has a soft matte finish, and it is available for sale at Nordstrom.
2. Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Fire
Bright and orange, this creamy red lipstick is perfect for summer, especially if you have warm-toned skin. It’ll brighten up your whole face, and draw attention to your luscious lips with its satin-y finish. The tube lipstick formula is super moisturizing, with a pleasant scent. You can purchase it from Amazon.
3. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Wrath
This red, despite having a shiny pearl finish, doesn’t overwhelm pale skin. It is perfect for neutral and warm skin tones, and can work for almost all occasions. The texture is lovely and creamy, and sure to please. You can buy it at Sephora.
4. Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in Antoinette
This subtle, slightly warm red Chanel lipstick is the perfect red for someone who is a little afraid of red lipsticks. It is soft and subtle, giving a youthful color to the lip that is undeniably in the red family. It is one of the few red lipsticks on this list that can safely be paired with stronger eye makeup. The formula is fairly long-lasting, but still luxuriously hydrating. You can pick this lipstick up at Nordstrom.
5. Guerlain Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick in Gilda
This bright, warm red lipstick is a great day-to-night choice, with just enough pizazz for almost any occasion. Up-class it with a liquid liner, or keep it casual with a rim of smokey brown eyeliner. The formula is moisturizing and creamy, and you can find it at Sephora.
6. NYX Matte Lipstick in Indie Flick
This muted NYX lipstick color is closer to orange, but on pale skin, it definitely registers as a red. As is true to many other matte lipsticks, this shade stays on for a long while, but it might dry out the skin a little bit. Pair it with other warm shades for a soft yet glamorous look. You can buy it from Ulta.
7. Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Kathryn
This delicate matte is a pale berry red lipstick that is perfect for snow-white women with cooler undertones. It registers as a very soft red that won’t overwhelm, and is an excellent option if true red lipsticks make your lips look clownish. Like many other long-wearing liquid lipsticks, it is important to apply lip balm first. It is available at Sephora.
Best Red Lipsticks for Medium Skin
1. BITE Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Sour Cherry
BITE Beauty is known for its deliciously creamy and moist lipsticks. This red seems like a glossy neutral, but it actually has a bit of blue to it, albeit subtle enough that it’ll look beautiful on most. You can find it easily at Sephora.
2. Stila Stay All Day Liquid in Beso
If you’re one of those people who have a difficult time keeping creamy lipsticks on, you can be comfortable knowing that these liquid lipsticks from Stila will not budge. They’re not very moisturizing, so take good care of your lips beforehand. Beso is a perfect true red with slightly cool undertones that’ll suit all skin tones. You can pick it up at Sephora.
3. Huda Beauty Lip Strobe in Saucey
This holographic red lipstick looks like molten metal – it is glamorous and luxurious and absolutely perfect for the holiday season. The blend of pink and golden glitter in here makes it difficult to tell what the exact undertone is, but it’d definitely suit those with warm, medium skin. You can purchase it at Sephora.
4. NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in Cruella
These lipsticks in a pencil form give an easy application that makes applying a perfect red lip easier than it would otherwise be. Cruella is a deep, matte red that looks mature and sophisticated, and will suit most undertones. It is available for sale at Sephora.
5. Burberry Beauty Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Union Red
This deep true red lipstick can work on both light and medium skin tones, but for those with medium skin, it can actually work beautifully as daytime red, thanks to slightly cool undertones and a semi-sheer matte finish. This red lipstick can be found at Nordstrom.
6. Givenchy Le Rouge Lipstick in Grenat Initie
For the warm toned ladies, this is a lovely true red that leans very slightly towards warm. On medium-toned skin it’ll give a retro vibe with just a hint of femme fatale seduction. This semi-matte finish feels smooth and lovely going on the lips, and stays put for a few good hours. You can purchase it at Sephora.
7. Smashbox Be Legendary Liquid Lipstick in Moscow Muled
This red lipstick is glamorously unique, with a warm coppery red color elevated by a ton of sparkle. If you have warmer undertones and an aversion to true reds, this is a perfect way to get that effect in a hyper-fun look. This liquid lipstick is very long-lasting, but make sure to layer lip balm under it. You can find it at Sephora.
Best Red Lipsticks for Dark Skin
1. Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Glastonberry
This ravishingly dark, cool burgundy is a mysterious lipstick with a trendy matte finish. It goes on smooth and stays put, and is best paired with luminized eyes and some strobing. On dark skin, it simply looks elegant, assuming you don’t have orange undertones. It is available at Nordstrom.
2. Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Plath
Kat’s lipsticks are well known for their incredible pigmentation and longevity. If you have a hard time keeping creamier lipsticks on, this one is for you. This color is perfect for darker skin tones, where it registers as a warmer, more autumn red. It’s ultra-matte, but feel free to layer some gloss over it. You can pick it up at Sephora.
3. Black Up Lipstick in M31
You can feel comfortable choosing a red lipstick from a cosmetics brand owned by and run for people of color, without worrying about it fading into your skin or looking too bright. This cool true red is pigmented enough to really show up, and brighten up your whole face, while the sumptuous formula is to die for. Buy it from Sephora.
4. Too Faced Melted Chocolate Liquified Longwear Lipstick in Chocolate Cherries
Warm burgundies can give you that old-school seductive red lip look when your skin is darker, especially if your pair them with warm highlight and a classic winged liner. This formula from Too Faced is creamy and easy to apply. You can find it at Too Faced.
5. Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in C407
This irresistible eggplant lip cream does for dark skin what cool red lipsticks like Ruby Woo do for paler skin. It magnifies the lips and gives an impossible-to-resist seductive vibe, with a satin finish and a lip-moisturizing touch. It is for sale at Sephora.
6. Tom Ford Lip Color in Dark and Stormy
This deep warm brown registers on darker skin as a soft red, perfect for even business settings. It is perfectly matched with gold tones, to give a soft yet upscale look. The finish is timelessly glossy. This nourishing and hydrating red lipstick is available for purchase through Nordstrom.
7. Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Mina
This long-lasting formula stays a little glossy, with a deep shade of cool burgundy that is oh-so-flattering on darker skin tones. You can amp up its darkness with added layers, or keep it softer with a single swipe of color. Warm it up with a golden or peachy lip-gloss for added warmth. It is available for purchase at Ulta.
How to Choose Your Perfect Red Lipstick
There are infinite possible shades of red lipsticks, with different undertones and darkness level. Your hair color, skin tone, and general style should all come into play when you choose a red lipstick.
That lipstick that might look perfect on your friend will not necessarily suit your coloring or style, so be careful when taking recommendations from others. Read on to learn exactly how to choose that perfect red lipstick based on your unique coloring.
Best Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone
There are two factors to consider about your own skin tone before you can choose red lipsticks (or any other colored makeup item, for that matter). The obvious one is how dark your skin is, but just as important is whether you have warm, neutral, or cool undertones to your skin.
Red Lipstick Colors for Cool Skin Tones
If your skin has a bit of a pink tint to it (check at the neck or forearm…