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The Best Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

By Ellie Child and Gabriella Buckner - 4 years ago | Updated
red lipstick on three models

Ah yes, the humble red lipstick: a beauty essential for millions everywhere. This must-have item has made quite an impact over the years, gracing the famous pouts of Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe and Angelina Jolie. A bold red lip can dress up any outfit, making it a staple handbag item.

But how do some women pull it off so damn well? (Taylor Swift, we’re looking at you.) Well, it actually comes down to your skin tone and undertones. This may sound like a load of unnecessary beauty spiel, but knowing your warm tones from your cool can seriously help you with finding the perfect shade. One that makes you glow rather than one that makes you question why something just looks a little off.

To make it a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular and flattering lipsticks for each skin tone, meaning you can rock a picture-perfect pout all year round.

For a longer-lasting finish, we recommend investing in a liquid lipstick or prepping your pout with a lip liner to enhance your look.

Best Red Lipstick for Fair Skin with Cool Undertones:

If you've got fair and cool skin (yes, some fair skin can be warm; see below), then you'll want to match your undertones with a cool lipstick that has blue or purple undertones. Cool red lipsticks or berry-toned ones will suit your skin best, keeping you from looking washed out or clown-like the way you would with brick reds or corals.

Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick

£22.40 £28.00 (20% off)

This cool-toned burgundy colour will totally flatter you, contrasting gorgeously with your ivory skin. The creamy, high coverage colour lays down matte yet lightweight and comfy. Enjoy a vampy pout without creases or cracks!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick

£21.46 £22.00 (3% off)

For a bright and true red lip that'll light up your cool, fair skin, go for this one from ABH. Everyone knows how opaque these intense pigments are, while still keeping your lips moisturised, and the cool undertones in the shade American Doll make this lipstick all the sweeter.

Best Red Lipstick for Fair Skin with Warm Undertones:

Play on your naturally warm skin tone by investing in a red lipstick that mirrors its yellow undertones. We suggest opting for red-orange hues to compliment your natural glow and to keep things looking warm. We also recommend kitting yourself out with a lip palette or lip kit to get the full experience!

Illamasqua Loaded Lip Polish

£5.33 £16.00 (67% off)

This lipstick's bold ‘n’ bright appearance may look a little daunting, but trust us, the results are worth it. This fiery red hue will light up your smile with its non-sticky, high-shine formula, enriched with almond oil and vitamin E to keep your lips nourished throughout the day.

Looking for even more hydration? Check out our lip care section to discover a selection of restorative balms and treatments.

Best Red Lipstick For Medium Skin with Cool Undertones:

If you have more of a medium-cool skin tone then you’re in luck – your lipstick choice is pretty versatile. You’ll still want to opt for a blue-toned red lippy to complement your cool undertones but overall, anything goes. The world is your oyster!

Sigma Beauty Liquid Lipstick

£10.49 £14.99 (31% off)

Lather up your lips in this lasting lip colour from Sigma Beauty. With a satin-matte finish, this lipstick offers both hydration and extreme, long-lasting colour payoff. We love the shade venom for its slightly cool but true red.

Best Red Lipstick for Medium with Warm Undertones:

As with fair-warm skin tones, you’re going to want to hunt out a lipstick with warm undertones – but instead of looking for yellow undertones, maybe choose orange undertones for a slightly darker overall look to ensure that you don't end up looking washed out. The aim is to play on the warmth in your skin and emphasise it. Luckily for you, there is a huge amount of orange-hued red lippies on the market, making your job 10x easier.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

£17.00 £21.42 (21% off)

Stila's long-lasting liquid lippie in Beso is sure to give you a luminous glow. The orangey undertones make it the true, firetruck red you've been searching for all these years

NARS Cosmetics Velvet Lip Glide

£14.14 £23.00 (39% off)

We aren't all Rhianna (duh!), so if a bold and bright, opaque lippie like hers scares you, we recommend the orangey-red hue Le Palace from the NARS Velvet Lip Glide line. The saturated formula applies like a gloss, infusing your lips with water lily and white tea extract for antioxidant protection and hydration, drying down to a satin to semi-matte finish that can be feel more wearable than a full-coverage matte lipstick.

Best Red Lipstick for Dark Skin with Cool Undertones:

Just like medium skin tones, dark and deep hues get to play with a little more variety when it comes to their choice in red lipstick. Dark skin has the ability to handle more intense tones, which means you get to experiment with beautiful berry-, fig-, wine-inspired hues (anything delicious-sounding, basically). For cooler undertones, we suggest deep ruby and berry reds paired with a darker pencil to line and define.

Maybelline SuperStay Vinyl Ink Liquid Lipstick


Embrace the glossy makeup trend with Royal, the berry red shade in this vinyl-effect lipstick line from Maybelline that actually stays on for 16 hours! Vitamin E and aloe vera keep you comfy and flake-free so you can enjoy your high-shine, transfer-resistant look all day long.

Best Red Lipstick for Dark Skin with Warm Undertones:

Your darker, warm-toned skin will let you wear brown-based reds without looking vampy, but don't be afraid to wear the colours we recommended for lighter, warm skin. Brighter, orange-based reds will also pop beautifully against your dark complexion - just don't go too coral or you might look washed out.

theBalm Liquid Lipstick Meet Matte Hughes


Deep yet still bright and vivid, the blood red shade Loyal is gorgeous against darker, warm skin tones. The long-lasting matte finish of these lippies from theBalm is still comfortable, and it comes with a delicious vanilla mint scent.

The best red lipstick that suits everyone:

If you’re looking for an all-rounder red lipstick that suits all skin tones then here are a few that cult-favourite that makeup artists swear by.

MAC Matte Lipstick

£18.50 £22.00 (16% off)

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Colour

£18.70 £22.00 (15% off)

Maybelline Ultimatte Slim Lipstick

£3.02 £10.58 (72% off)

Stila Stay All Day Matte Lip Colour

£21.00 £21.42 (2% off)

Dress up any outfit with a strong red lip and feel your confidence sky-rocket - and don't forget to look at our guide to lipstick for more tips!

If you're really feeling the colour red, check out our ultimate guide on How to Nail Red Eyeshadow Looks Like a Boss.

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Ellie Child

Written by Ellie Child

With five years’ experience under her belt, Ellie has worked alongside a range of highly regarded makeup artists, giving her a real insight into what consumers should be spending their money on.

Gabriella Buckner

Written by Gabriella Buckner

Gabriella is a junior content writer with a background in creative writing, content marketing and journalism. She’s passionate about all things makeup and skincare, but especially vegan and cruelty-free beauty that is effective and inexpensive.

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