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How to Pick the Perfect Red Lip

How to Pick the Perfect Red Lip

Just like a little black dress or the perfect pair of worn-in jeans, a red lipstick is a classic must in every single woman’s wardrobe. But picking the perfect red lipstick can be hard, especially when you don’t know what to look for or what color works best with your skintone. 
So we’ve created your definitive guide for everything you need to know in picking your perfect lip.

A Few Tips Before We Get Started…

  • Format and texture changes everything. You could have the same color in a gloss and a lipstick, and it can look completely different.
  • If you’re a little afraid to commit something bold, ease into it with a sheer balm like our Tinted Daily Lip Balm, or a cream stain like our Lip2Cheek (which, like its name says, can be used on your lips and cheeks for a matching look). 
  • Swatching is always a good idea. But when you’re buying online, that can be hard. We suggest using one of our try-on filters to test it out virtually, looking at images of models with a similar skin tone to yours, and, when in doubt, booking a free, 1:1 beauty consultation with one of our Artist Experts

“Everything RMS is made to mix and match, so have fun with it,” Rose-Marie Swift, our founder and master makeup artist says. “Every one of my reds are made to look great on everyone—you can’t go wrong.”

Understand Your Skin’s Unique Undertone

Skin tone (deep, light, olive, fair, etc) is the primary color of your skin. Undertones are the secondary colors that help define which shades look best on you (this goes for makeup as well as clothing and jewelry). There are 3 types of skin undertones: warm, cool, and neutral. Warm skin tones have undertones of peach or gold, while cool tones have undertones of blue or red. And neutral is a mix of both! To get your undertone without a beauty consultation, look at the veins in your neck (we suggest neck or face because that’s where you’ll be applying lipstick…not on your wrist.). 

If your veins are greenish (or olive), you have warm undertones. 

If your veins are blue or purple-ish, you have cool undertones. 

And if you just can’t tell, or it feels like they’re different in different places, you’re neutral.

What Red is Good for My Skin Tone?

Alright, now that you’ve identified your skin tone and undertone, it’s time to pick a red tone (#allthetones).  The color red can be made up of two different undertones: blue and orange. Blue-based reds are deep, cooler reds with a hint of purple or blue. An example of this would be our Wild With Desire Lipstick in Jezebel. Orange-based reds are brighter, warmer reds with a hint of gold or orange. An example of this would be our Wild With Desire Lipstick in RMS Red (Rose-Marie’s favorite). A good rule of thumb: pick a red that has the same undertone as your skin.

Best Reds for Deep Skin Tones

Deep skin tones (your RMS ReEvolve Natural Finish Foundation or UnCoverup shade would be between 88 and 122) can wear either an orange or blue-based red. We love a pinky red (like Legendary Serum Lipstick in Linda), but again, any red will most likely work for you.

Legendary Serum Lipstick, Linda

Tinted Daily Lip Balm, Crimson Lane

Best Reds for Olive, Fair, or Light Skin Tones with Warm Undertones

If you have olive, fair, or light skin with warm undertones, (your RMS ReEvolve Natural Finish Foundation or UnCoverup shade would be something like 33.5, 55, 11, or 22) using anything with a blue undertone would make your skin look less warm and more pasty.  That’s why we suggest keeping to orangey reds or pinky reds, like Legendary Serum Lipstick in Ruby Moon or Melanie.

Legendary Serum Lipstick, Ruby Moon

Lip2Cheek, Smile

Legendary Serum Lipstick, Melanie

Best Reds for Olive, Fair, or Light Skin Tones with Cool Undertones

If you’ve got olive, fair, or light skin with cooler undertones (RMS ReEvolve Natural Finish Foundation or UnCoverup shade 000, 11.5, 22.5, 44 or 66, for example), you’ll want to reach for blue-based or neutral reds, like berries or wines. 

Legendary Lipstick Serum, Monica

Legendary Lipstick Serum, Audrey

Liplights Cream Lip Gloss, Rhythm

Pick Your Format

Like we mentioned earlier, the format of your lip product can definitely impact how it shows up on your skin—and how it makes the look.

“Think about what kind of look you’re going for,” Rose-Marie says. “If you want something soft and dewy, try our Lip2Cheek or our Liplights Cream Lip Gloss.” Both of these will give you a sheer pop of color, instead of being too bright or bold. And, major plus, you can apply these with your fingers, which is always Rose-Marie’s go-to. “If you want something that’ll last through dessert, go for our Legendary Serum Lipstick,” Rose-Marie suggests. This will give you a deeper wash, for a classic, more dramatic look. Feel free to apply this directly with the stick, or with our a lip brush. And if you’re wanting the longest lasting, clean lip, line your lips with our Go Nude Lip Liner in Pavla Red, which is an orange-based red that looks great on everyone—and is a perfect base for any our lip products.

Layer Your Way

“My reds are made to mix and match, so have fun with it!” Rose-Marie says. We always suggest starting with a nourishing base (like our new Lipnights Lip Mask), and then playing with what you’re into.  For example, you can tap Babette Liplights on top of our Pavla Liner, or try Peacock Lane Daily Lip Balm as a base for Wild With Desire Lipstick RMS Red or Beloved Lip2Cheek.

Liplights Cream Lip Gloss, Babette

Go Nude Lip Pencil, Pavla

Tinted Daily Lip Balm, Peacock Lane

And if you’re ever stumped, we’re here for you. Just book a virtual, 1:1 Artist Advice session with any of our Artist Experts to score a look all your own.

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