This Is How to Find the Perfect Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

It DOES exist, we promise!
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated May, 2023
Perfect Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

There’s a thin, tenuous line between the “trying on mom’s lipstick” look and the GXVE by “Gwen Stefani bold red lipstick” look. All you need to cross over from the former to the latter is the perfect shade that matches you (plus double-checking your teeth)! It isn’t easy to make a choice of makeup colors according to your skin tone. Here, they could be a warm or cool tone red lipstick, a dark and light eyeshadow palette.

Choosing the makeup colors that best complement your skin tone can be a challenge. Should you reach for a dark or light eyeshadow palette, a matte foundation or a warm or cool-tone red lipstick? The choices are endless.

Fortunately, there are some criteria that can help you narrow down your selection to which hues would most enhance your natural beauty. Knowing your skin tone is helpful but knowing your skin’s undertone is an even better way to find corresponding colors for your unique skin.

So, how can you find the perfect red lipstick for warm undertones or cool ones? We’ve got all the info you need here when making this important decision.

How Do You Find Your Skin’s Undertone?

Find Your Skin’s Undertone

What exactly is your skin’s undertone?

So, you know that your skin tone is essentially the color of your skin’s surface. But your skin’s undertone is a separate color within that tone. Knowing this shade can help you decide whether you should look for red lipstick for cool undertones, warm undertones or neutral undertones.

But how do you find your skin’s undertone, exactly? Although it might sound complicated, there are a few easy ways you can do this.

Option #1: The Vein Test

The Vein Test

Don’t worry; this isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds! All you need to do is examine at your veins.

If you can’t see your veins, you probably have a neutral undertone, which means your skin’s undertone is the same as your surface skin tone.

However, if you can see your veins and they appear blue or purple, this means you likely have a cool undertone. Veins that look more green generally point to warmer skin undertones.

Option #2: The Clothing Test

The Clothing Test

Try on something that’s more of a true white. If it makes your skin look more pink or flatters your skin tone more than an off-white, you may have a cool skin undertone. However, if you tend to look better in off-white or beige, or even gray, you probably have a warm undertone.

People who have a neutral undertone generally don’t look more flattering in one color than another, so they can get away with true whites, black, or off-whites, browns and grays without worrying about their skin undertone.

Option #3: Your Fitzpatrick Type

Your Fitzpatrick Type

Your Fitzpatrick skin type can give you another clue as to your skin’s undertones. If you’re a Fitzpatrick Type I or II, meaning you tend to burn with any amount of sun exposure, you most likely have a cool skin undertone.

However, if you’re a Fitzpatrick skin type III or IV, meaning you may burn but then tan, you likely have a neutral undertone. And Fitzpatrick types V and VI likely have warm undertones. However, keep in mind this is a very general outline.

Keep in mind too, that while your skin tone may change with sun exposure, your skin undertone will not. Fortunately, this means you’ll only have to figure out your skin undertone once, although you may need to reevaluate your skin tone throughout the year.

Red Lipstick for Warm Undertones

Red Lipstick for Warm Undertones

The best red lipstick for warm undertones includes those that have peach, golden, or even yellow undertones. You should avoid reds that have blue undertones, as they may turn pink on your skin (unless you prefer that effect!).

You can even opt for a brown-based red to help bring out the best of your undertones if you’re on the warmer side. It’s all about what you feel good in, so just use these recs as a starting point and go from there.

Consider: Pound Cake’s Cake Batter in Maraschino Cherry or Red Apple Lipstick’s Risqué

Cool-Tone Red Lipstick

Cool-Tone Red Lipstick

If you’ve found your skin has cool undertones and you’re on the hunt for the perfect red, try looking for red lipsticks that have blue undertones. Those with cooler skin tones should avoid red lipsticks that have orange or yellow undertones, depending on what they feel good in.

Red lipstick for cool undertones may look dark in the bottle, but try it on—it may just surprise you, even if you wouldn’t normally choose a shade that dark. Our cool-tone red lipstick recommendations will help you know what to look for when searching for those cooler tones to complement your skin.

Consider: ILIA’s Color Block Lipstick in True Red or Mac Nippy’s Feisty Red Lipstick

Lipsticks for Neutral Undertones

Lipsticks for Neutral Undertones

Your neutral undertones have it best because you can wear whatever lipstick you want without worrying about your undertone!

Simply look for a red lipstick that complements your surface skin tone, and you’ll be good to go. You can wear a cool-tone red lipstick or go for a warmer hue, whatever makes you feel good or complements your outfit or makeup the best, so if you find a shade you’re drawn to, we say go for it.

Consider: Tarte’s Maracuja Juicy Lipstick in Cherry or Bobbi Brown Metro Red Lipstick

If You Like It, Wear It

If You Like It, Wear It

Although finding your skin undertone can help you select the right shade of red lipstick, makeup is all about what makes you feel good. So, if you have a shade of lipstick, you adore but just found out it doesn’t exactly match your undertone, you don’t have to toss it. In fact, we’d say keep wearing it!

While you can use this information as an excuse to go lipstick shopping, you can also be aware of your undertone while still loving and using your favorite products, whether it’s a red lipstick for warm undertones or one that goes best with cooler ones.

Download Our List of Skincare Ingredients to Avoid

Did YOUR skin undertone surprise you? Maybe you were on the hunt for a red lipstick for cool undertones, and now you’re looking for colors that will complement warm or neutral hues. Before you get back to shopping, download our list of the skincare ingredients you should always avoid so you can feel good about your next shade!

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