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How to Choose Our Best Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

Article Published: 11 March 2022

How to choose, apply and wear red lipstick, from fair, medium, to dark skin find a red lipstick for you in a cream, gloss, or matte red lipstick finish.

Matte Red Lipstick application on a fair light skin tone

A bold red lipstick is a timeless classic that can be paired with so many different styles. It’s also an easy beauty trick for looking polished and put-together on the fly — just slick your hair back in a tousled ponytail and swipe on a bit of rouge, et voilà, no one will even suspect you popped out of bed ten minutes ago. Red lipstick can look great on anyone, as long as you know how to pick out the right rouge for your skin tone:

  • Red Lipstick for fair skin tones, try: Cool red or berry shades with blue undertones
  • Red lipstick for medium or olive skin tones, try: red lipstick with orange or coral undertones
  • Red lipstick for darker skin tones, try: Cool or warm red lipstick, from true cherry-red to deep berry

How to Find the Best Red Lipstick for You: Our Tips to Help You Pick Your Most Flattering Shade Lipstick

These are our tips for choosing the best red lipstick for your skin tone. But if you’re comfortable with brighter or bolder colors, or want something totally different, then go for it.

Cool toned red lipstick on a light fair skin tone in a cream finish

Red Lipstick for Fair Skin

Also referred to as blue reds, cool reds won’t clash with the cool undertones that are common in those with fair skin — so as not to look shocking or bring out imperfections. Fairer skin types can often show more redness in the skin so it’s a good idea to even out your skin tone with a fuller coverage foundation. Fair skin can go for a more muted red lipstick shade as there is already contrast against the skin -- but it’s also able to pull off a super bright red lipstick shade without any hassle. Try L’Absolu Rouge Cream Lipstick in Bisou Bisou for a cool ruby red shade or go bold with Caprice De Rouge a cool firey red.

Scarlet Red Lipstick a Matte Finish worn on a medium skin tone

Red Lipstick for Medium or Olive Skin

For a medium skin tone or olive skin tone it is recommended that you lean towards red lipsticks that are warmer, with hues of orange in them. This range of skin tones tends to have more warmth in their undertones, so any red lipstick with orange or even gold is fair game. L’Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick in 505 Atttrape Coeur a warm scarlet red that could be perfect for you, for a more orange-toned red lipstick try the shade 196 French Touch a warm orange red available in both a cream and matte finish.

Cool Bright Red Lipstick in a Matte Finish worn on a dark skin tone

Red Lipstick for Dark Skin

The sky is the limit for those with darker skin tones, as those with a darker complexion can choose either a red lipstick with warm tones or a red lipstick with cool undertones. A true red lipstick is an easy pick, although you can easily experiment with berry red and ruby red shades. One tip? Opt for brighter red shades, which contrast with your skin and make a red lip really pop. Whilst you can easily pick from a matte red lipstick finish or a creamy finish – matte red lipsticks in particular can create a gorgeous contract against a darker skin tone. Try L’Absolu Rouge Intimatte Lipstick in 130 Peu Contre Peu a cool bright red lipstick in a matte finish.

Choose Your Finish

Once you’ve found the most flattering shade of red for your skin tone, it’s time to choose your finish, as there are sheer, cream, and red matte lipsticks out there. To find your match, consider your lifestyle and what you’ll be doing while wearing your most flattering shade of red lipstick.

Glossy Finish Red Lip: If you’re searching for a red lip that isn’t too bold, try a red lip gloss like Lancôme L’Absolu Lacquer Gloss in Be Brilliant which tends to be the most forgiving and low-maintenance. However, you may have to reapply it if you want to keep the color looking fresh. A red lip gloss is a great way to add shine and gloss to the lips and is perfect if you’re not quite a fan of a super bold red lip. You can easily customize between a sheer red lip gloss or a high shine red lip with vivid color payoff as the formula is buildable from sheer to full coverage in 1-2-3 coats.

Cream Finish Red Lipstick: If you like a classic cream finish lipstick our L’Absolu Rouge Cream Lipstick is the answer — enriched with a 30% moisturizing rose balm this creamy lipstick provides up to 18 hours of comfort and up to 8 hours of hydration with a luminous cream finish and silky feel. Despite having an ultra-creamy texture the lipstick sets a smudge resistant lip color with no bleeding into the lip line so it’s ideal if you love a cream lipstick and are looking for a luxurious red lip that feels comfortable and has a hint of shine it’s the ideal red lipstick formula for you.

Matte Finish Red Lipstick: If you know you won’t have time for touch-ups, the upside of matte lipsticks is that they tend to adhere well to lips — versus super-shiny glosses, satin finishes, and sheer tints — so they’ll last all day (though you may have to check for smudges). And while they have a reputation for being a little drying, that’s not the case with our lipstick. Take the L'Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipsticks. These matte, velvety texture lipsticks with hyaluronic acid and grand rose extracts moisturize lips and do not smudge, meaning they go on your lips and stay put. Powdered by pure pigments for intense bold color in just one swipe and leaving lips with a vibrant matte finish they’re perfect for creating a bold matte red lip.

If you love the look of a classic powdery matte finish and an almost soft blurred lip effect try our L’Absolu Rouge Intimatte Lipsticks which provide soft matte color in one swipe. Enriched with ceramides and grand rose extracts the lipstick formula is buildable, lightweight, comfortable and glides effortlessly onto lips and provides comfort for up to 12 hours.

If you prefer to use a red liquid lipstick – try L’Absolu Rouge Drama Ink Matte Liquid Lipstick. With a gorgeous matte finish our liquid lipstick has a different composition and formula than a classic bullet lipstick It’s lightweight and non-drying yet long lasting and delivers lipstick color formulated to look twice as pigmented after it sets. Best of all you can forget the lip liner as the patented applicator ensures ultimate precision so you can create a perfectly sharp edge and finish to your red lipstick. All-in-all it’s perfect for creating a matte red lip – the high pigment formula ensures maximum impact and you’re left with a luxurious semi-matte finish that doesn’t bleed or feather.

How to Apply Red Lipstick

When wearing a red lip healthy and hydrated lips are a must. So first up, start with an application of Absolue Precious Cells Nourishing Lip Balm, which not only nourishes lips but also makes lip appear smoother, softer and more supple.

Next, line your lips with a red pencil which can serve as a lip primer of sorts. Then, apply a lipstick in a matching shade directly from the tube. In this order, you’ll get the most definition and intensity. Not going all-out? For a more natural look, apply your lipstick first and then blend lip liner into your lips.

Lastly, try this trick to turning any lipstick formula into a longwear lipstick: Separate a tissue into two thin sheets, hold one against your lips, and dust translucent powder over the top. Not only will this set your lipstick, but it can also turn any lipstick into a matte lipstick, too.

Which Makeup is Best for Red Lipstick

Since a red lip draws all the attention to the face, pair it with a buildable foundation like Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation to ensure that your skin looks flawless and matte. And while you should always feel free to wear as much makeup as you want, consider scaling back your eye makeup to mascara and eyeliner to keep the spotlight on your red lipstick. From the office to a dinner date, it’ll always look just right.

Still looking for the best lipstick shades for you?

Try a burgundy lipstick for a deeper red variation.

Find the perfect nude lipstick.

Find a purple lipstick for you.

Learn how to wear a peachy coral lip.

Find a brown lipstick for your skin tone.

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