Top 5: Red Lipsticks (how to choose your red lipstick)

Choosing the right red lipstick is about as fun as cleaning the toilets. Seriously.  I want to cry when I go to the store and try to figure out which red lipstick is going to look best on me! BUT, after many trials on clients (poor gals had to be my guinea pigs- hey, someone has to do it!)  I don’t have it narrowed down to a science, but I think I have some pointers that will make choosing the right red lipstick less of a chore ;)

It’s not necessarily the color, but how bright or intense it is….

If you do a google search for “picking the right red lipstick”, you’ll come up with 318,000 results.  You know what each of those articles have to say?  Something totally different.  Everyone has a different answer! So how’s a girl to figure this out??

What I’ve figured out, is it’s not just the actual color- whether it be orange-red, blue-red, or true red, but how bright that color is against the skin.   Orange reds tend to be brighter as orange is an eye catching color (think fire or Carrot Top’s Hair– um… ew!)

If you have fair skin, orange-reds are going to pop quite a bit more as brighter colors are more noticeable on paler skin.  This doesn’t mean if you have pale skin, you can’t make it work- it just means, it’s going to pop more.  Darker skin beauties have an easier time pulling off the orange-reds since dark skin can handle brighter colors-  there’s less of a contrast.  BUT, darker skin also looks beautiful in blue reds- it just doesn’t pop as much as the orange reds.  Make sense?

OK, here’s why picking the correct lipstick is so. dang. hard. Things such as hair and eye color can also affect how a lipstick looks, plus what eye makeup you wear can throw off the color as well….

Here is a picture of Penelope Cruz pulling off an orange-red lipstick, as she is a bit darker and has warm undertones to her skin:

Contrary to what most articles say (fair skin should only wear blue-red lipsticks), here’s an example of Mischa Barton pulling off an orange red lipstick:

This lipstick really pops against Mischa’s fair skin, but she pulls off this color by wearing some darker eye makeup to balance out the bright lips as well as having her hair up in an elegant style.  (I doubt if Mischa wore no eye makeup and had her hair down, that she would still be able to pull this lipstick off)

Here, Beyonce is pulling off a gorgeous true red that pops against her skin as it’s not too dark or too orange.

Marlena’s Tip: To pull off a brighter lip, you need to wear a good 2 coats of mascara (or falsies) and some darker liner to balance it out.  You definitely don’t want anything too dramatic on the eyes as it’s overdone, but you need some eye makeup so the lips aren’t screaming “look at me! look at me!”

And yes, you CAN wear eyeshadow with red lips- it just needs to be neutral colors or not too bright or dramatic…

Here’s some examples of lipsticks too intense in color for their skin:

They all have fair skin and are wearing cool toned (blue-red) lipsticks, BUT one important factor…. the color is too intense for their fair skin.  Plus, their eye makeup is so minimal that their lips are screaming for all the attention, making the face look out of balance.

With all that being said, here is my top 5 lipsticks that I believe almost anyone can pull off- simply because they aren’t too orange, too blue, or too intense in color..

5.     MAC Viva Glam I

(Picture courtesy of:

Description: Intense brownish blue-red
Price: $14.50
Where to Buy: . MAC .. Amazon


4.   NYX Round Lipstick – “Snow White”

(Picture courtesy of:  Taryn of Tough Love/Makeup Geek)

Description: True Red
Price: $3.89
Where to Buy: Makeup Geek Store

3.    Revlon Matte – “Really Red”

Description: True Hollywood Red
Where to Buy: Amazon .. eBay


2.    Makeup Geek Lipstick – “Elegant”

Description: Deep Rosey Red

Price: $7.99

Where to Buy: Makeup Geek Store

1.   NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil – “Forbidden Red”

(Picture courtesy of:  Makeup and Beauty Blog)

Description: Brick Red
Price: $24
Where to Buy: . AmazonSephoraeBay


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Posted in Best Products on (last modified: September 29, 2012)