Marilyn Monroe. Taylor Swift. Dita Von Tease. Gwen Stefani. Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

What do all these people have in common?

Red lips. Crimson. Scarlet. Vermillion. Ruby. Cerise. Carmine. Matte, shiny, or glossy. Whatever you call it, they know how to take the color red and rock it as their signature color.

I don’t wear red lipstick every day, but when I do, someone often tells me, “That’s such a great shade on you. I wish I could pull it off!”

Well, I’m about to let you in on a little secret. You can pull it off. For those of you who have always wanted to wear red lipstick, I am going to give you reasons why you should and what you need to do when selecting a shade. Hopefully it will give you the boost you need to try it yourself!

There are a lot of reasons to even consider wearing red lipstick in the first place:

  • You can wear no makeup except a red lip and still look pulled-together. I wear very little makeup as it is, but when I wear red on my lips, no one cares if I did my eyes or am wearing foundation. Your lips will be there front and center!
  • Red complements nearly every color you wear. There’s just something about it – it matches every color under the rainbow (except maybe pink…I personally don’t mix the two), so you will always look polished.
  • It makes you stand out in a crowd. Do you ever see a woman wearing a beautiful shade of red and envy her for it? That could be you. In a sea of colored lips, the red is definitely a show-stopper!
  • It is a timeless color. Think of every old-timey actress you can. How easy is it to imagine her in red lipstick? It’s not hard at all. Purples, pinks, corals, and earth tones come in and out of style over the decades, but red is eternal.
  • There is a shade of red that will perfectly match your skin tone. Not all hues of red were created equal, but some time at a makeup counter will not be wasted!

Below is a chart from InStyle magazine about which shades of red will work best with different skin tones:

Skin tone Undertone Lipstick shade
Fair Cool Raspberry
Fair Warm Red with an orange undertone
Medium-light   Pinkish red
Medium Yellow Tangerine
Medium Gold True red
Medium Neutral Blue-red
Golden   Berry
Tan Warm Orange-based
Tan Neutral Bright cherry
Tan Cool Merlot
Dark Warm Opaque blue
Dark Cool Ruby or wine


Note that “cool” undertones mean you have more pink or blue hues in your skin. “Warm” is more yellow or peach, and “neutral” means you have a combination of all the above.

Again, if you’re completely confused by this chart, make an appointment at a department store makeup counter. They’re almost always free, and their expert advice can get you started. Many will even give you a sample to try. If they do, take it to your local drug store to find a budget-friendly substitution!

I hope this post has inspired you to consider buying a tube of red lipstick. Because it is so eye-popping and timeless, you really can’t go wrong. And there is definitely a shade that will flatter you, so what are you waiting for?

What is your all-time favorite lipstick shade? Comment below!