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Your Guide to the Perfect Shade of Red Lipstick

A red lip commands attention. The head-turning hue is like an instant, confidence-boosting beauty filter: It makes teeth look whiter and your face look brighter. From warm brick to cool berry, the range of reds is almost never-ending. We’ll walk you through the process of finding your perfect Lime Crime red for gorgeous results every time. 

How to Find the Right Shade of Red Lipstick

Know Your Undertone

Everyone’s skin color fits into a spectrum from light to medium to dark. The undertone is the color beneath the skin’s surface, and it fits into the “warm,” “cool,” or “neutral” category, regardless of how fair or deep your skin is. 


If your skin has a slight hint of peach, gold, or yellow to it, you have a warm undertone. The veins in your wrist might appear green, and you can rock yellow gold jewelry like no other.


People with cool undertones have a pink or bluish tint to their skin and wrist veins that appear purplish-blue. If this sounds like you, then your jewelry preferences might gravitate to icy, silver-toned pieces as well.


With a neutral undertone, veins have hints of blue, green, and purple, and your complexion has an even mix of pink and yellow tones. Both gold and silver baubles look striking against your skin. 

Figure Out the Base

Each shade of red lipstick has a distinct base, which is blue, pink, orange, or true red. 


While browsing our selection of red lip products, you’ll notice those in the blue-based category are vampy and cooler than others. These shades, such as our long-wearing, matte Velvetine Liquid Lipstick in cranberry red Saint and Soft Touch Lipstick in blue-toned Radical Red, tend to complement cool undertones. These deeper, blue reds also stand out against dark skin tones and add a bit of drama to lighter complexions.


When it comes to pinkish reds, magenta and fuchsia are cool-leaning options that lead the pack. These bright, purplish tones add an airy, romantic vibe to many looks for cool-toned wearers. If flirty matches your makeup aesthetic, our Soft Touch Lipstick in berry-based Funky Fusion and Wet Cherry Lip Gloss in mauve-y Sweet Cherry will be favorites in your collection. These pink-based shades complement the subtle rosy flush of a fair complexion.


Orange-based reds are much more flame-kissed in nature and are the perfect choice for people with warm undertones who want to make a bold statement. You can sport this vibrant lip by swiping our Velvetine Liquid Lipstick in New Americana on your lips, and then outlining the flame red shade with our Velvetine Lip Liner in terracotta-tinted Platform for a fuller pout. These fiery, warm reds add a youthful playfulness to olive skin. 


True red lipsticks, such as our matte Plushies Soft Liquid Lipstick in Cherry Soda, have a red base and flatter any undertone. Although a true red is universally appealing, the shade looks particularly stunning against the sun-kissed glow of a medium skin tone. 

How to tone down or play up red lipstick

After finding a red base that complements your undertone and complexion, you can make the shade softer, bolder, darker, or lighter by using a particular lipstick finish. 


If a shade of red is too deep for your liking, glide on our Wet Cherry Lip Gloss in the nude Naked Cherry for a brightening effect and reflective shine. Our sheer red glosses can also be worn alone when you just want a hint of color for daytime wear. You can amp up the bitten look by filling in your lips with one of our Velvetine Lip Liners for more definition. 


If you want to bring on the drama, you can’t go wrong with our creamy Soft Touch Lipstick formula or matte shades from our liquid lipstick collections. Mixing and matching lighter and darker shades can help you create a rich, contoured look or an entirely new custom hue.


Now that you know how to determine which shade of red is best for your undertone and complexion, you’ll easily be able to find a red liquid lipstick in any of our signature formulas. We’re always on the lookout for your next great creation using our products, so make sure to tag us in your Instagram stories! 

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