Red Lips for Every Skin Color


Red lipstick can be intimidating for anyone.  It might be too bold, too bright, or it might just be down right scary!  But if worn the right way, you can achieve red lip greatness :)   Here are few looks to give you an idea of how YOU can rock red lips too!

The Classic Pin-up: Amanda


  • SmashBox Photo Finish Primer (Amazon)
  • Make Up For Ever Camouflage Palette no.2(Amazon)
  • Revlon Colorstay Foundation (Amazon)
  • MAC Venomous Villians- Magically Cool Liquid Powder (ebay)



  • Bed Head Cyberoptics (matte)Eyeshadow-Vanilla (Amazon)
  • Bed Head Cyberoptics(matte) Eyeshadow – Brown (Amazon)
  • MAC FluidLine – BlackTrack (Amazon)
  • MAC Plush Lash Plush Black  (Amazon)


Winter Wonder Neutral: Nia


  • MAC Matte – Fying Primer
  • Make Up For Ever Camouflage Palette no.2(Amazon)
  • MAC Select Sheer Loose Powder (Amazon)
  • MAC Fix + Spray  (eBay)





A Taste for the Dramatic: Katherine


  • Benefit – PoreFessional Primer (Amazon)
  • Revlon Colorstay Foundation (Amazon)
  • MAC Fix + Spray  (eBay)


  • Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzer (Amazon)



Color Me Rad (or Red): Sarah


  • MAC Matte – Fying Primer
  • Make Up For Ever Camouflage Palette no.2(Amazon)
  • Urban Decay Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 (Amazon)
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (Amazon)
  • MAC Fix + Spray  (eBay)


  • Make Up For Ever Diamond Cream (eBay)




Comments are now closed on this article.

There is no examples of someone who is more on the pale side. Like an Ivory/Classic Ivory shade.. or do I need to just stay away from the red lipstick if I am that pale..

I agree! I am from Scandinavia (Denmark), and porcelain in complection. Aside from that my teeth are a little on the yellow side, so I tend to avoid lipstick all together. Is there anything I can do?

I am super pale and I love red lips! If your teeth are on the yellow side, try a blue-based red, it makes your teeth appear whiter.

Katherine is the example of the pale skined red lip wearer. I am extremely Pale and I usually rock red lips with a matte finish. I believe that as a pale person you can have almost any color of lipstick and wear it well. I would stay away from the extremely dark colors though because that can make us look sickly.

Is there any way this posting could be updated to be a little more specific to identify skintone? For example, perhaps noting below each picture (like Katherine), pale skin tone or cool tone. We could guess, but to be sure it would be helpful (especially beginners) to identify the type of skintone portrayed.

Great article! The models are all GORGEOUS and showcase very interesting looks! (I also love Amanda’s hair!)

I take it there were no blonde models available for “how to rock red lips”? Come on all you Marilyn Monroe wannabes, don’t you know this is for a good cause? Help them help us! Besides, aren’t blondes supposed to have more fun?

Winter Wonder Neutral is (IMO) a great shot, it would be perfect for/on a Zed Card! And the makeup isn’t too shabby either! LOLOLOL Subtle, but with a point!

I agree with Lena, my teeth are yellowish too, and I feel embarrassed with red lipstick since it puts more attention on my lips. I use to make up my green eyes, but I think red lipstick is too much for my pale face and fair hair.
I’ve tried some colors that are blue based, but honestly, my teeth looks even more yellow!
Instead, I tried some brownish colors like nude ones, and my teeth changed completely, they looked more white!
why this happens to me?, has anyone experimented the same as me?
do you have any solution?

kisses from Barcelona!

Besides using a whitening toothpaste or mouthwash to brighten up the teeth them selves you can use a red lipstick with more of a purple tone to it instead and that will compliment your green eyes AND your fair skin.

If you don’t have whitening toothpaste or mouthwash, using a little bit of baking soda with your toothpaste will help. Basking soda DOES NOT TASTE GOOD, but if you add a little bit on top of your toothpaste, it will help make the flavor more tolerable. Keep in mind it costs about 97 cents, and tends to be more gentle than some whitening toothpastes. Just look for it in the baking section of your local grocery store or drug store.

ALL 3 looks are super hot! I’m soo gratefull for this because before I discovered this site, I had it all wrong, and I wore red lipstick for so long!! Now my makeup is perfect everyday I wear it (although I’m barefaced today), and may the force be with us MUGGIES to wear full makeup at will! I’m going to try all three looks this week, see which one works. Also, Taryn, whats your take on facial waxing?

If you need facial waxing then do it! Theres nothing worse( in the makeup world) than having some unsightly facial hair when your trying to show case your beautiful face.

P.S. Amandas photo is DREAMY, 1ST time I ever wished I had blue eyes:)… Nia has that AROUND -THE-WAY-GIRL look that is edgy but feminine (and the one I identify most with), I want to try Sara’s look for a Saturday girls day out because its adorable and not too in your face. And Katherines look has that perfect holiday office party look, a total showstopper!

I did what I could with what I had to work with. I will continue to try harder with each article in order to keep all of you informed and happy.

I think you did a wonderful job! We all appreciate your hard work for us to learn! Thank you for sharing your art with us!

Someone always complains that there aren’t enough skintones represented. Either there aren’t enough “dark” skintones, or there aren’t enough “pale” skintones. Although I am paler than all the girls in the article, I can still look at the pale example (Katherine, according to one of Taryn’s comments) and try something similar to that. Conversely, someone darker than the dark example (Sarah) could try something similar to that lipstick. I’m also capable of understanding that Taryn and Marlena can’t always get models of every single skin tone on the earth. You could also just ask Marlena and Taryn what lipstick would work for your skintone, whatever that may be :) sometimes the reader comments reveal useful tips too.

I understand it’s no fun to feel criticized, but there are a whole lot of skin tones out there and if you call the article “red lips for EVERY skin color,” then some of us are bound to be disappointed. Tone down your advertising and get less snark back. ;)

Can’t wait!!! I’m asian but many artists comment that I’m light and tan super easily during the summer. As you can imagine this can be very confusing for a beginner. I am super excited that you & Marlena are very conscious about providing a wide variety of models.

I’m not trying to be rude but black people have skin tones too the last time I checked. Where’s a DARK skinned model? and no Beyonce and Halle aren’t dark skinned

What are some good matte red lipsticks for a medium skin color girl, like myself? Im a NC40 in MAC powder? I dont want to go shiny since it is my first time trying to wear red (advice from the tutorial)

***************************Thank You **********************************



What color number do you wear in the Covergirl Colorstay foundation? I’m having a hard time trying to find my shade. I do wear the same color you do in the Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation.

Right now I’m wearing #310- warm golden as I do the spray tanning…

My natural skin color is like #110- pasty ;) jk :)

The #310 in Revlon I find is pretty close to the #60 in Neutrogena…

Hello,Loved the article

I still unsure what kind of red lipstick would suit me,id really appreciate some help=),im an nc43 mac,dark brown hair,dark brown prefer if u can reccomend me something from nyx,mac,revlon.

thanks a lot x

Taryn, I especially love Sarah’s look, could you give me a little more detail about how you did her eyes? Which shadows go where? I love the reddish eye shadow, but I don’t know how to do it without making myself look like a clown! I’d appreciate it so very much! Thank you!

But of course!
I used the MAC Pigment “If it Sparkels” all over her lid. Then I took a small dome brush and from the outside corner of her lid to the inside corner, windsheild wiper motion, filled in her crease and brought it slightly higher on the outside of her crease. Hope that helps :)

Ummm…I do like this article but I’m a little bit confused. From what was mentioned in Marlena’s video, I thought there was going to be an article/guide that would explain how to choose the right red for your skin color — is there another article coming? I’d really like to know how to select the right red for my skin tone — over the years have seen conflicting information on how to pick the right red for Asians.

Thanks for this! I have been in the hunt for the perfect red lipstick and end up with tubes that I don’t want! Asian with yellow skin tone and a coffee drinker! Hahha not good. I tried picking out reds leaning toward burgundy/ mauve (to keep my teeth whiter in appearance) so far Ive stuck to clinique’s different lipstick in “spiced apple”. PS: LOVE THIS SITE!!!! Marlena and company, keep up the good work! I’m an avid fan and learned A LOT here!


This was great!! Thank you to Taryn and Marlena!!

Now I’m going to be annoying though and ask for your suggestion. In the tut, Marlena mentioned Revlon’s Really Red could be a good starter red, I love red lips, but I find them a little overwhelming on me. I’m quite pale (NW15/NC20) but I have freckles. and naturally dark brown hair. I looked at Really Red, the last time I was at the drugstore, and it’s a beautiful color, but I’m feeling a little shy about it. Do you think it would work, or is there maybe another red I should be looking at?

Thank you in advance!

For some reason i cant see the pic!! I want to wear red lips this x-mas so i need ideas… This comning from a girl who only wears nude colors on her lips….

I am an avid MUGGER and love the red lips!! I have very blue eyes, naturally dark brown-sometimes un-naturally red hair (lol) and was wondering with a cooler complexion (Revlon 220-Natural Beige) am I doing right by wearing brighter more berry colored lipsticks? Also, my mom-in-law wants to rock red but I cannot convince her of the right color to use-she is orangey-undertoned pale with dark reddish blonde hair and crazy hazel eyes! Please help us sparkle and shine for Christmas guys!! All my best wishes!!

I really love Amanda and Sarah’s looks for me, would they work? And are there dupes for the KatVonD products? Also would Katharine’s lips work for my Mom in Law?

I agree with everyone about colored girls. I noticed that most of the models used have very light skin. Im part Puertorican and it would definately be nice to see more girls with some color. Also, I love the looks u create, Marlena, but they always turn out looking funny when I try them. Is there anything that would compliment my tanned skin and almost-black eyes? Also, my makeup is often hidden behind my glasses, help?

I have a darker skin tone/eye color too. When I do Marlena’s looks I just use a brighter/more pigmented version of the same colors. For example since she has lighter skin than me, I will use a dark brown when she uses a medium brown and I still achieve the same look. I also am careful not to use anything too light and matte because my skin tone can look ashy. HTH!

Wow what gorgeous ladies! I have always thought red looks good on every body just have to find the right one can be tricky!

these looks are so great!…the red lips are awesome…and the first girl amanda has my fave look! not to mention her skin looks fab!!!

hi marlena,
i have a question and hope u can answer it or well have a suggestion i have very small lips and i feel when i wear red lips i feel it makes them appear even smaller becuz the color brings so much attention to them, and i feel i dont look so reat with red lips.. but i love the way it looks on other people.. and im very air skinned extreamly and i got the revlon really red and the nyx hot red i believe it is becuz the ulta store didnt have deep red and i feel it may b to bright for me what do u suggest?

i ment to tell u my skin color is revlon colorstay 150 if that helps with helping me find a better color.

Love it! Thanks for this article.

Is it too late to add to it? My father is middle eastern and my mom french blond. That leaves me somewhere in between: pale skin (more on the yellow side then pink), very dark hair and eyes.

So what would you recommend?

hello! i have been looking to find somthing like this for soo long. but i do have one question. i have super blonde hair, super pale skin, and blue eyes. i was just born with mega light hair and super super white skin, lol. also i have freckles (which is like the kiss of death for my face) id like to have a red lipstick for the holidays, but im 15 (almost 16) and idk how to pull it off without trying to look too old for my age. know what i mean? that and i have no idea what shade. im lost! btw i think im the lightest shade of miracle tient from lancome if that helps give you an idea. idk the number though, sorry :/

finnnalllly women of color,, i have only been begging forever for there to be more of a variety. i am a very big fan of your site but am always a lil disappointed that i never see girls that look like me !!

love, love, love these article!
but what red is right for OLIVE skin tone??? i’m nc 37 and i never found a good red for me…please, help me….thanks

I’m a “tranny” and read your board and it’s helped me learn A LOT. Red lips are definitely an intimidating thing for me. I have a medium skin tone (winter color for foundation is MAC NW25). My ‘normal’ self is a very dark brunette, however, when I ‘dress’, I’m by far MUCH MUCH better as a blonde, so Cindy is blonde. Generally I’ve always gone with a pink lip and it’s kind of a trademark at this point for me. I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a red lip at some point. Can you please make some recommendations for this. I’m a bit lost as to which way to go.