As far as makeup bag staples go, there is perhaps no product more iconic than red lipstick . Classic and timeless, the statement-making hue has stuck around for decades, gracing the pouts of several influential beauty figures of the past, including Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor. To this day, rouge continues to be a go-to for many—and for good reason. It exudes confidence and elegance, it's striking but never too overpowering to the rest of your features, and it can instantly take a look from zero to 100 in one single stroke. But most importantly, red lipstick is universally flattering—it just all comes down to picking the right shade, which can range from stunning scarlets to beautiful burgundies.
"Red lipstick is very versatile," says celebrity makeup artist Mali Thomas . "Many people are intimidated by it but there’s no need to be. Treat it like your favorite accessory that will add elevation and flare to your look!"
For a flush of color that will never go out of style, here are the best red lipsticks you'll want to swipe on your lips again and again.
1Best ClassicRetro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo MAC Read More
2Best LuxuryRouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in Indépendante Chanel Read More
3Best NewRouge Hermès Autumn-Winter 2022 Limited-Edition Lipstick in Rouge Feu Hermès Read More
4Best MatteMatteTrance™ Lipstick in Vendetta Red Pat McGrath Read More
5Best SatinRefillable Lipstick in 201a Rosso Valentino Read More
How to choose the best red lipstick for your skin tone
The best way to determine the right red lipstick for your skin tone is by first identifying your undertones, the color underneath the surface of your skin. "When sorting out your skin tone and its undertones, you’re looking at whether you lean pink/red (cool), yellow/orange (warm), or sit right in the middle at a neutral skin tone (which is a combination of the two)," explains Aharon.
To do so, the pro recommends letting the veins in your wrists be your guide. If your veins look blue, you’re likely a cool skin tone. If they look green, warm is the result. And if you can’t quite determine, you’re probably neutral.
Another pro tip: "If you’ve got freckles or burn easily in the sun," says Aharon, "it’s definitely an indication that you have a cool skin tone as well."
What are typically the best red lipstick shades for different skin tones?
Thomas specifically likes orangey-tone reds tend for those with fair complexions and blue-reds on ones. "However, there are no rules to the game of red lips!" notes the pro. "Explore and expand your comfort zone."
Aharon agrees: "I don’t really believe in rigid makeup rules," says the makeup artist. "If you put it on and the color enhances your complexion and makes you feel good, go for it!"
What are the best application techniques when applying red lipstick?
There are several different techniques for applying red lipstick:
Thomas recommends first applying your favorite lip shade before lip liner to create slip. Next, start lining the Cupid’s bow and stay within the lines. Then, blot with a Kleenex or add a small amount of translucent powder to prevent feathering.
Aharon, on the other hand, likes applying straight from the tube and tidying up the edges with a finger or cotton swab, and then pressing in with a fingertip. "Pressing it in will make it look a little more lived in and less like it's sitting on top of your lips," explains the pro. "It also removes excess product that can settle in your lip lines."