How to Find the Best Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

Timeless, iconic and a Hollywood favourite, the classic red lipstick look transcends time and place. From Marilyn Monroe’s famed crimson pout to Anjelica Huston’s blood-red shade in The Addams Family, the timeless red lip look isn’t just back – it never left. From liquid lipstick to balm lipsticks, here are our best red lipsticks, direct from the L'Oréal Paris beauty team.

The best red lipstick shade for your skin tone

Red is the only lipstick and lip colour that flatters every skin tone. However, it all comes down to finding the right shade of red and sealing your technique with a kiss.

Whether it’s in liquid, balm, bullet or crayon form, when selecting your shade of red lipstick, your skin tone should guide the final decision. Generally, skin tones are placed into four categories – fair, light and olive and deep. The secret is to select a shade with complementary undertones to the ones already in your skin. So, what does that mean for our lips? Let’s dip into the facts below.

The best red lipstick for fair skin

If your skin tone is fair, this most often means you have pink, a.k.a. cool undertones in your skin colour. In this case, cool-toned lipsticks work best. Those with fair skin should experiment with a blue or purple-based red shade, such as the Infallible 2-Step Liquid Lipstick in 213 Toujours Teaberry. This liquid lipstick makes a bold statement and will pair well with your skin’s naturally pink tone. With 24-hour hold and a 2-step application process, this bold, high-impact colour is infused with supercharged pigments and is enriched with hyaluronic gel to keep lips feeling soft, smooth and oh-so supple.

Beauty tip: looking for a broodier, darker choice? Opt for the Infallible 2-Step Liquid Lipstick in 700 Boundless Burgundy.

The best red lipstick for light skin

Skin that’s light, but not quite as fair, often looks best in cooler tones too. For this reason, most beauty lovers with light skin tones will look their best in a cooler red (think: an old Hollywood-style bright red) such as the Infallible Matte Resistance in the shade 430 A-Lister. This shade delivers lips with intense volume and epic colour. Formulated with skincare-inspired ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, this moisturising lipstick is designed with a powdery-matte texture that plumps and hydrates the lips for up to 16 hours of wear.

The best red lipstick for olive and medium skin tones

Olive and medium skin tones usually have either yellow or green undertones, which is why warm yellow or orange-based reds like coral and poppy look best. You’ll likely find that warm pinks will complement your natural features, too. A great option is the Matte Resistance Liquid Lipstick in 400 Spill The Tea.

The best red lipstick for deep skin

While some deep skin tones have warm undertones, others have cool undertones. Generally, orange-based and blue-based shades of red will look best, while pink-based reds should be avoided. As a general guide, your skin tone will really pop against more intense, pigmented reds like the Infallible 2-Step Liquid Lipstick in 312 Incessant Russet or in 506 Red Infallible This liquid lipstick sets the standard for long wearing lip colour, keeping your pout locked in and moisturised for up for 24 hours, with no cracks in sight!

How to apply red lipstick

It’s all in the technique. Ready to learn how to apply red lipstick? Learn our step-by-step guide below.

1. Prime the lips with lip balm. This is particularly important when prepping the lips for matte lipstick.
2. Use lip liner. Following your natural lip line, use lip liner to trace the contours of your lips to define your pout. You can match the finish of your lipstick to your lip liner.
3. Accentuate your cupid’s bow. Hoping to plump the lips? Use your lip liner to draw an ‘X’ at the highest point of the centre of your top lip. This will give you a precise line that will accentuate your natural cupid’s bow. Then, line the outer edges of the lips to minimise feathering or bleeding.
4. (If you don’t have a naturally defined cupid’s bow, simply follow your natural lip line, and try to draw only slightly outside of the lip lines.)
5. Fill in lips with lipstick. There are so many ways to nail your lipstick application. Basically, there are no hard and fast rules. Apply it straight from the tube, use your finger to tap in the pigment or enlist the help of specific lipstick brushes. It’s completely up to you.
6. Apply some lip gloss. Go glossy for the night and get that high shine look for an ultra-glam finish.

How to remove red lipstick

So, you’ve received 101 compliments on your red lippy and now it’s time to remove your masterpiece. If you’ve chosen a pigmented lipstick and you’re trying to avoid next-day lip stains and smears, all you need is a gentle makeup remover that can be used on your lips. Micellar water and some cotton pads are a great option, followed by your cleanser of choice.


Now that you know how to wear red lipstick, discover Our Ultimate Guide to Lipstick.

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