kelly-red-lip-colorThe iconic style of a red lip

A bold red lip is a timeless beauty trend and simple way for a woman to look fashionable. Celebrities such as Rita Ora, Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, Taylor Swift, Emma Roberts, Katy Perry and countless others rely on red as their statement shade of lip color. Contrary to popular belief, there is a shade of red lip color for every woman and personal style and characteristics should be considered during the selection process.

Factors to consider during selection of red lip color:

  • Skin undertone, depth and texture
  • Lip size and shape
  • Personal style
  • Amount of time willing to commit to application

Although there are always exceptions to every beauty rule, here is a guide to help you select the best shade of red lip color for your skin tone:

red lipstick skin tone

How to select the best shade of red lipstick for your skin tone

Fair skin

  • Compliment cool skin tone with a blue based red
  • Make a statement with a contrasting warm red shade

Light skin

  • Compliment light skin with a crimson red shade
  • Make a statement with a contrasting warm red shade

Medium skin

  • Compliment medium skin with a warm, red-orange shade
  • Make a statement with a contrasting cherry red shade

Dark skin

  • Dark skin tones look best with deeper shades of red, ie. Brick red or deep oxblood

Lipstick does not adhere well to dry, chapped lips so preparation is key to achieving long lasting color.

How to prep lips for red lip color

  1. Exfoliate lips with a sugar scrub

    Exfoliate lips

  2. Apply a thick moisturizing balm and allow it to absorb during makeup application. (Recommendations: Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm or By Terry Baume de Rose)
  3. Blot off all lip balm before applying lip color
  4. Line lips with a sharp lip pencil then using ring finger to defuse the line inward, toward center of lip.

    Line lips with lip pencil prior to lip color application

  5. A lip liner in same shade as natural lip color can be used to create the illusion of fuller lips by outlining just outside the natural lip line. To more than double lip color wear time, use a waterproof lip pencil in the same shade as lip color to line and fill lips prior to lipstick application.
  6. Apply lip color to lips.
  7. Place a tissue over lips then lightly dust loose translucent powder over the lips with a small, fluffy brush to extend color wear time.

    Blot excess moisture from lips

    national lipstick day

Pro tips and problem solvers:
  • Feathering: Apply lip primer to lips and slightly outside the natural lip line. Allow a few seconds to set
  • Maximize wear time: Apply a light dusting of loose powder
  • Blotting: Instead of tissue, use oil blotting sheets to blot lip color. Blotting sheets pick up excess oil while leaving color intact. Tissues are typically two ply, pull apart and use a single ply to perform step # 7 above
  • Impeccable line: After applying lip primer, trace the outer line of lips with concealer using a lip brush.
  • Maximum fullness: Apply highlighter to cupids bow prior to lipstick application.
  • Turn frown upside down: As women mature, loss of facial volume makes lips droop at outer corners when at rest. Before applying lip color, apply highlighter in a “c” shape on outer corner of lips.
  • Prevent lipstick transfer to teeth: Wash hands then form an “O” with your mouth. Insert and remove index finger between lips to remove excess color that would otherwise transfer to teeth.

I hope these tips encouraged you to try out a new shade of red lip color.  If you would like to read my latest examiner article entitled, Red lipstick and the power it yields click here

Sending peace, love and happiness to all!


Kelly Kirby Worley
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  1. Jessica June 12, 2016 at 3:09 pm Reply

    Is there a certain brand/color you recommend for the shade you showed with the light skin tone example? I have the hardest time finding shades that aren’t too cool or orangey 🙁

    • Kelly Walker June 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm Reply

      It’s hard to say without seeing you but a general rule of thumb is to use a true blue-based red if you have light hair and light eyes as it compliments the pink undertones in fair skin. Scarlet red is very versatile and looks good on most skin tones. One of my favorite cool reds is Icon from Hourglass Cosmetics. Another great true red is Nars Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil or if you want something more sheer go for Lipstick Queen Scarlet Red Saint Lip Color. Hope this helps! Thanks for taking the time to comment<3

  2. Jessica June 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm Reply

    Thanks so much!!

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