I hate to admit it but up until recently I was scared of red lipsticks, no matter the look I always felt I could never pull a red lip off. Trend after trend red lipstick has remained a classic shade, however the search for the perfect red has not been an easy one - I've gone through just about every phase and yes that includes the horrifying clown face - that is until recently. I've been on the search and to my surprise I have found some reds that suit, which made me want to do a post on finding the perfect red lipstick for your skin tone. You could probably search this until the cows come home but I figured I'd put a little guide together of what I've found out.
Are you cool or warm toned?
The main rule of thumb is to work out your skins undertones, and once you have mastered this it should help choosing the perfect red. Undertones are described as the natural tones in your skin, and you will fall into either the cool or warm category. An easy way to determine your skin tone is by looking at your veins on your wrist, if your veins appear blue in natural daylight you will more than likely fall into the cool undertone category. If your veins look more green then you will fall into the warm undertone category. Once you have figured which tone you fit into, this will help determine which type of red lipstick will suit you better.
Those with cool undertones will tend to suit berry tones of red and blue based reds, whereas those with warm undertones will suit orangey reds and brick reds. Theoretically true red shades are meant to suit all skin tones, but it's the kind of thing you would need to swatch in store.
Over time I've found that the colour you choose doesn't necessarily determine whether or not it will suit your skin tone. However it is how you wear that shade and how bright it is against your skin tone. As my skin is fairly light I would have never thought in a 100 years that I could ever pull off an orange based red such as MAC's Lady Danger, however when I was speaking to one of the MAC assistants she noted how well it would look against my skin tone and to my shock it did. It really popped against my skin and in a good way! Again if I want to go for a blue based red I will tend to dab this on lightly, so that it appears more appropriate for day wear.
Honestly as a rule of thumb I think the easiest thing is to try on as many as possible and see how they suit your skin tone. This is easier to do on more high end counters as the SA can sanitise the lipstick allowing you to apply. That way you can see which colours help brighten your skin and leave you looking radiant instead of a washed out mess. If you are browsing the high street, try popping the tester on your fingertip as this is the closest colour to your lip and you can hold it up to see how it looks - germ free!
When choosing your perfect red, you don't have to always abide by the rule of skin tone as these are a generalisation to help in the hunt for a red lipstick, and will give you a better idea on the tone of red that will suit your skin. However it is always a good idea to work with the undertones in your skin rather than against them, and by most importantly swatching the lipstick will allow you to gauge if there are any underlying shades that you can pick up on to see if they match your skin tone.
What is your favourite red lipstick?