How to Find the Red Lipstick Shade That Looks Best on You

Okay…don’t be scared…but we’re going to talk about red lipstick today.

See, most women think they can’t pull off red lips. They see other women wearing it and say, “Oh, I can’t do that.”

Guess what: you’re wrong.

Perhaps you really can wear red lipstick, but you’ve just been trying the wrong shade all this time.

I’m here to help you. Together, we’ll find the right shade of red lipstick based on your skin tone temperature.

If you already know your skin tone (cool or warm), then you can skip ahead. If not, it’s time to find your temperature:

How to Find Your Skin Tone Temperature

  1. Flip your arm over so you have a good view of the underside of the forearm. Make sure you’re in good lighting. Daylight is best.
  2. Have a look at the color of your skin. If you see undertones of yellow or orange, you’re warm-toned. If you have undertones of pink or blue, you’re cool-toned. (This applies to women of all ethnicities.)
  3. Still not sure? Look at the veins running along your arm. Warm-toned gals will have a slight green tint to their veins. Cool-toned gals will have very blue, almost purple, veins.

Now that you know whether you’re warm or cool, it’s pretty easy to find the right shade of red lipstick.

For Warm-Toned Skin

Look for lipsticks with orange, yellow or golden hues. These shades will look best with your skin.

For Cool-Toned Skin

Pick up lipsticks with a blue base. The cooler shade will accent the coolness in your skin.

When in Doubt…

If you’re not sure if the red lipstick will look right on you, there are two things you can do:

  1. Pick a shade of pure red that falls between the cool and warm categories. When you look at the color, you shouldn’t see a hue of orange or blue. Just pure, vibrant red. This shade should look good on most women, in theory. (This shade is also harder to find, but most good cosmetics companies have a true red somewhere in their lipstick line.)
  2. Test it out. This works best if you’re at a department store’s cosmetics counter or at Sephora where you can test the lipsticks on site. Even if you’re at a drug store, you can purchase it to try at home and return it if it doesn’t work.When you test it on your lips, look at your skin and your teeth. Your skin should be vibrant and bright. Your teeth should look white (or as close to white as your teeth can get.) The wrong red lipstick will make you look sallow and your teeth yellow. No one wants that!

Done! If you follow these rules, you should be able to find a shade of red lipstick that looks amazing on you. You’re no longer one of those women who can’t pull it off. You’re one of those women to be envied. Congrats!


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  1. I lurv wearing red lips! I mostly just do it on the weekends though, nice post!

  2. I just recently did my first red lip ever. I loved it!!!

  3. Hi, I have never worn red lipstick and I always thought I would look like Daffy Duck. I did the skin test and my skin tone is cool so now I will go to Sephora and try some red lipstick that would suit my skin tone. thanks – good post.

  4. Thanks for the tips on finding your skin tone. My veins were really blue, almost purple, so I was shocked to find I’m cool toned. I never would have dreamt that because I have rosy cheeks, but interestingly I have noticed orangey reds don’t look good on me and maybe that is why! So now I’m off to find my perfect blue red. Cheers!

  5. The tip about the veins was great! You described it the best way that I’ve heard so far!

  6. The awkward moment when you have green, purple and blue veins…

    • Ikr! You’re probably cool toned though… People that are warm toned NEVER have blue or purple veins but people with cool tones CAN have green veins :o)

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