Red lipstick is back. Not just on our lips, but on the spring runways, from bright matte pouts at Hermès and Balmain, to deliciously dark red wine hues at Rodarte and Valentino.
“We saw a lot of red on the runway this season, which wasn’t surprising, as it’s such a glorious pick me up,” says Chanel make-up artist Zoe Taylor. “Personally, I love a red lip. It’s modern yet classic and, paired with a slick of mascara, is the ultimate in Parisian chic.”
You put on that red lipstick and you feel powerful, you feel like you can take on the world.
Sascha Jackson, Stila pro make-up artist, says scarlet is the ultimate powerhouse shade: “You put on that red lipstick and you feel powerful, you feel like you can take on the world. And it’s a great way of looking really put together – you can even wear quite a casual outfit, then you put on this red lipstick and all of a sudden, you’re dressed up.”
The great thing about red lipstick, Taylor says, is that “it suits everyone. It’s just a matter of finding your perfect shade.”
Here, our experts run down everything you need to consider when deciding on the right hue for you…
“Understanding the undertone of your skin is key to choosing the best red for you,” Taylor says. Specifically, you need to work out whether you have cool or warm undertones.
Cool undertones mean “you have more blue veins in your skin, you tend to burn easily in the sun, and you tend to suit pinkier shades,” says Jackson. “You would be better off to go for what’s called a blue-based red. Those are reds with an almost berry or pinkish tone. They will really suit those lovely lighter skin tones.”
Those with warmer undertones “tend to suit more corals and oranges – you love those summer shades,” Jackson continues. “Especially if you’re olive-skinned, you tend to suit orange-based red lipsticks – those reds with a slight burnt orange to them.”
She adds: “I find that darker skin tones have the best of both. Both blue-based and orange-based suit warm and cool undertones.”
“When testing out reds, you’ll notice how they seem to change the color of your teeth,” says Taylor, so if you want your pearly whites to shine, you’re better steering clear of orangey reds.
“I find the blue-based reds tend to make your teeth look a lot whiter,” Jackson says. “So that’s one thing to note for the coffee drinkers!”
“Understanding the undertones of your hair is also very important. This, once again, comes down to whether your hair is cool or warm in color,” Taylor says.
“Cool colors are going to suit raspberry reds, and warm colors will suit more tangerine reds.”
While matte lips ruled the runways this season, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to the great velvet versus gloss debate.
“Go with the textures that make you feel comfortable and that you know you’re comfortable wearing – there’s no point wearing a makeup product that you don’t like the feel of,” says Jackson.
“However, that being said, because a red lip is so bold and striking, I love it in a matte finish. It looks very polished, and it prevents the pigment from moving around. Glosses are very malleable, and can move around your lips when you’re talking, eating, and drinking.”
How to create the perfect crisp lip? Taylor says: “Prepping your lips will help your red lipstick to glide on smoother, so remember to scrub, oil, and balm before you choose and apply your lip color.”
Try Before You Buy
“Obviously at the moment, trying on lipstick is a bit tricky when you’re shopping,” says Jackson.
But there are now hundreds of digital try-on tools on beauty brand websites, that let you upload a photo or use your camera to ‘apply’ a lipstick live and see if it suits. See a red somewhere that you think would look luscious on your lips? With Chanel’s new Lipscanner app, you can point your camera at any swatch and the app will suggest a lipstick shade to match.
Lip Glossary: 5 Red Shades to Suit All Skin Tones