I have always admired the way some people can wear red lipstick flawlessly. When done correctly, it can make any look more elegant and sophisticated. Until recently, I thought that red was just not my color, no matter how hard I tried. After much experimentation, I finally realized it was not that red looked bad on me, but that I kept choosing the wrong shades for my skin tone. Before you throw your money down the drain, trying multiple wrong shades like I did, let me share what I have learned that has helped me.
Picking out the Right Shade for your Skin Type
The first trick to mastering the sleek look of red lipstick is finding the most attractive shade for you. If you are very pale, then a bold red is not going to work. The darker your complexion, the more easily you can pull off a brighter shade of red. In order to pinpoint what shade you need, you first need to decide if your skin tone is cool or warm. If you have yellow or golden skin undertones then you have a warm skin tone and if you have pink or blue skin undertones then you have a cool skin tone. A little test that will help you decide is to look at the veins on your arm in natural sunlight. If your veins appear green, you are most likely warm and if they appear blue, you are cool. Those whose skin tone is warm typically have a darker complexion and hair color, while those with a lighter skin color and blonde or red hair are usually cool.
After you have figured out your skin tone, you can now find a shade that will look best on you. Warm skin tones look best in orange-reds, cherry reds, brown-based reds or golden reds. Cool skin tones look best in more pinkish- reds, berry colors or reds with blue undertones (such as Snow White). These are just general guidelines, you will need to fine tune your own personal look. I have an olive complexion with brown hair and brownish-reds tend to look the best on me. It is also helpful to find the make-up model whose complexion is closest to your own, when choosing a shade. If their coloring is similar to your own and it looks good on them, then it will probably work well for you also.
Other Factors to Consider
You also need to take into account the effect your other make-up and clothing is going to have. You want to make sure that your lipstick shade does not clash with the color of your outfit. Certain shades of red just look better with certain clothing. Red lipstick is always a great addition to that little black dress. Also, if you do wear a bolder shade of red lipstick, you may want to consider playing down your eye shadow. You want the over-all package to be appealing, but not look gaudy.
Be Precise when Applying
Just as important as choosing the right color is making sure that you are applying your red lipstick correctly. Red lipstick is very unforgiving. What I mean by that is once a mistake is made, it is almost impossible to fix. This is not a color you want to apply while driving down the interstate at top speed. One thing that really helps is applying a lip liner first. This will give you definite stopping lines so your lipstick doesn’t end up looking like you just bit the head off of a wild animal. Make sure your lip liner shade either matches the lipstick color or your natural lip tone. It is also important to start out with less and then gradually apply more lipstick for a brighter look. As with anything else, practice makes perfect. Try your new look out in advance, before that big night out on the town.