How to Pull Off Red Lipstick

Whenever I post an Instagram selfie with red lipstick on, I always get comments like, "I wish I could pull that off," or "I just can't wear red lipstick." Once upon a time I thought I couldn't pull it off either...that perhaps red lipstick just didn't look good on me. Then I found the right shade of red lipstick for me at Puckerd Cosmetics, and as it turns out, red is actually one of my best colors! In addition to finding the correct shade for you, there are several things you can do to feel more comfortable and to look great with a red lip!

1. Find the Right Shade of Red Lipstick for You

First and foremost, you need to find a red that works best with both you skin tone and undertones. Whether you have warm, neutral, or cool undertones and whether you have light skin or dark skin or somewhere in between will determine which shade of red lipstick will look best.

You can see this full guide on how to determine skin undertones, but I find the easiest way is to look at the veins on the underside of the wrists. They're likely to be more blue or purple in color, in which case you have cool undertones. On the other hand, if they look more greenish, you likely have warm undertones. A great example of a warm-toned red for lighter skin tones is the Puckerd Cosmetics Siren Luxe Liquid Matte Lipstick.

Along with matching your undertones, the perfect red lipstick will go with your overall skin tone as well. For instance, I have pinkish tones and lighter skin, which goes best with berry reds. Though you may have noticed on my Instagram that I favor warm makeup colors too. Luckily for people with neutral or cool undertones, either lipstick shade will work.

As I have cool/neutral with brown hair, I also tend to favor brown shades to pink. The Puckerd Cosmetics Red She Said Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick (pictured) is a burgundy red with cool brown undertones, and I feel like it was made for me!

Though I do envy people with cool/neutral undertones and darker skin tones, as they look absolutely beautiful with cool-toned, dark wine lipstick shades. For the perfect cool-toned red lipstick for medium tan skin, try a classic cool-tone red like new Puckerd Cosmetics Luxe Liquid Matte Lipstick HER. For medium tan to dark skin with cool undertones, try Puckerd's Just Bitten creamy Liquid Lipstick.

2. Find the Right Lipstick Formula

Makeup is a lot like fashion, in that texture and finish can greatly affect color. A soft matte black pair of pumps are quite neutral, for example, while a shiny patent pair can look more sever and definitely aren't for everyone. When it comes to red lipstick, a velvet matte liquid lipstick is going to have a softer and more wearable finish.

Though if you're still having trouble finding a red lipstick that you feel comfortable wearing, simply top it off with a shimmery lip gloss. Adding a layer of sparkle and sheen to any red lipstick will help to diffuse the shade and will make it much more wearable.

Topping your red lip with gloss is also a great way to cool down or warm up any red. For instance, you could lighten and warm up a red lipstick with the Puckerd Cosmetics Cherub Plumping Gloss - a bronzy nude in their ultra-hydrating and plumping lip gloss formula.

3. Exfoliate and Condition Your Lips

Any bold red lipstick can be a little difficult to wear, as every little imperfection shows up more. Even with Puckerd's super hydrating and anti-aging formulas and even if you top it with gloss, a red lip color will always show up more around cracked skin. It makes such a big difference if you use an exfoliating lip scrub prior to applying red lipstick. I like to use a sugar lip scrub like this Beauty By Earth Organic Lip Scrub, followed by a hydrating and fast-absorbing lip treatment like shea butter or coconut oil. For a DIY lip scrub, use a little spoonful of sugar and coconut oil.

4. Start with a Red Lip Liner

To keep your red lipstick from bleeding past the lip line or from looking patchy with wear, start with a matching lip liner. Puckerd has water-proof and long-wearing creamy lip liner pencils in a classic red, a berry red, and a wine red. For a versatile red liner, I'd go with their Classic Red lip liner.

What do you think? Would you feel more comfortable wearing a bold red lip with these tips? Let me know in the comment section, and you can shop my favorite red lipsticks with the links below!

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Krisztina Clifton + Noan Beauty Review +

Editor in Cheif, Photographer, Product Tester, and Regular Contributor


Licensed Esthetician, Skincare Contributor, and Owner at Arcadian Winds Beauty


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