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How to Find Your Perfect Shade of Red Lipstick

"Put on some lipstick, pour yourself a drink, and pull yourself together."- Elizabeth Taylor

"Put on some lipstick, pour yourself a drink, and pull yourself together."- Elizabeth Taylor

Red Lipstick.  It’s classic and timeless.  You’ve probably tried a red lipstick before and thought you looked terrible in it.  

I assure you that you look great in red lipstick.  The trick is finding the right shade of red to complement your skin tone.

Before I became Betty the bodacious pin-up extraordinaire, I never wore bright lipstick.  I stuck with neutrals because I thought they were “safe”.   I now have about five different shades of red lipstick, and consider myself a red-lipstick addict. 

Below is a guide to help you find your favorite shade of red.

FAIR skin looks best in cool, blue-based reds.  Some examples of blue-based reds are:  MAC Russian Red (which actually looks great on most skin tones!), NYX Round Lipstick in Snow White, best for Betties on a budget at only $3.99, as well as Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss #01 $5.19.  Blue-based reds also help teeth appear whiter.

If you’re confused on how to identify a blue-based red, check out this video: 

BEIGE skin tones look best in true reds, and berry reds. A true red is in the middle of the color spectrum.   A red that brings out golden undertones also helps to brighten teeth; you don’t always need or want a blue-based red to give the appearance of whiter teeth.  Some True Reds are:  MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Natural in N45 Red and MAC Ruby Woo  (very matte, and long-lasting). 

OLIVE and MEDIUM skin tones look great in orange-based, or brick reds.   These shades of red would wash out lighter skin tones.  Examples of an orange-based red are MAC’s Lady Danger,  Viva Glam I, or Nars Heat Wave.

CARAMEL, or café-au-lait skin tones can rock many different shades of red.  Matte shades are more of an everyday look with glossy, and semi-gloss shades looking more glamorous.

DARK skin tones look best in wine, burgundy, and deep cranberry shades.  Avoid brick reds as they tend to be too brown on dark skin.   If you have dark skin, you can also try a darker shade of true red, which will pop against your skin.  Some examples of wine and berry reds are:  Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pourpre, Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Satin in Excessive, and NYX Copenhagen. 

So, what are my favorite reds?  I’m so glad you asked!  Make-up Forever Moulin Rouge, Chanel #75 Dragon,  Tom Ford Ruby Rush (a creamy matte), Mary Kay Red crème lipstick (slightly shimmery) paired with Mary Kay Nourishine lip gloss in Red Passion.   I also have a tube of  Aura Science’s lipstick in Burnt Red.  Sadly, this line has been discontinued so I use it sparingly. 

Tell me, in the comments below, which is your favorite shade of red?