6 of the best red lipsticks & how to wear them

Becca Donaldson ·


A signature red lipstick is a must-have in your makeup bag, adding instant Hollywood glamour and a touch of rebellion to any look.

However, vamping up your style with a slick of scarlet on your lips isn’t the easiest look to nail. We’ve created a guide to help you choose the best red lipstick to suit your skin tone, along with some handy tips on how to wear red lipstick for a timeless, iconic look.

What’s more, red lipsticks are, of course, perfect for glamming up your Christmas look. Pucker up with some berry red and you’ll transform any outfit into a festive wonder. And with rosy cheeks from the frosty weather or the pub fire, it looks amazing!

Nailing the red lipstick makeup look

There are hundreds of red lipsticks out there, which can make finding your dream shade seem quite challenging. Knowing which is the best for you and your skin tone can seem daunting.

The best method when searching for the perfect hue is to choose one that complements your skin’s undertones. Warm skin tones work best with a dark wine-coloured shade red lipstick – such as Mac’s Lustreglass Spice It Up lipstick that’s long-lasting for all day (and night) colour. The richer reds suit a warmer skin tone and enables you to elevate your whole look. 

If you have a cool skin tone, opt for a blue-toned red hue. Try our Hot In Here Sleek Satin Lipstick which has a soft matte finish. The slightly purple-blue tinge helps to balance your skin tone and ensures you can wear red in a striking and intense way.

Once you’ve found your perfect shade, it’s worth doing some preparation to make sure your lips look totally kissable.

Simple steps to luscious red lips

  1. Exfoliate your lips and apply a hydrating lip balm. Exfoliate gently and take care not to buff too hard!
  2. Apply a small amount of concealer to your lips, as the nude tone acts as a base to make the red lipstick appear even brighter. The benefit of concealer also helps to ensure the colour lasts longer.
  3. Outline your lips with a sharpened lip liner to help prevent the colour from ‘bleeding’. This also adds to a more defined and striking look.
  4. And then it’s finally time for the fun part – filling in your pout with your red lipstick. It's worth investing in a good quality lip brush for a flawless finish. 

What kind of eye makeup to wear with red lipstick?

The eye makeup that will work best depends on the occasion and how sassy you’re feeling! It can be helpful to consider your skin tone here too!

There is a school of thought that believes in keeping your eyes bare, with just a slick of mascara and defined brows, to allow your lips to do the talking. There’s certainly room for such a simple approach a lot of the time.

But if you’re feeling daring, team your scarlet lips with some smoky gold or bronze eyeshadow and get instant red-carpet glamour. Especially at Christmas time, this look will be incredible.

Red lipstick and blue eye makeup is another killer combination. It takes confidence to pull off but it’s worth it! If you are thinking that mixing primary colours might be a bit OTT – check out Rhianna’s ‘Wild Thoughts’ video and see how amazing she looks. We’ll bet you’ll want to steal her teal blue and cherry-red style.

Our best red lipsticks for the perfect pout

So, now we’ve shared with you how to wear red lipstick – along with some of our favourite eye makeup styles that pair perfectly with red lipstick – here are our recommendations of the shades that need to be in your makeup bag right now:

  1. Mavala Lipstick - Petunia: Turn up the glamour with a lightweight lipstick that also hydrates your lips with shea butter. Lips stay a pretty red shade – and utterly kissable – even if your skin is prone to dryness. 
  2. Urban Decay Vice High Impact Vegan Cream Lipstick - Manic: With a dark plum undertone, this lipstick is great for anyone with an olive complexion and is perfect when paired with a shimmering bronze eyeshadow. It’s suitable for vegans too. Win, win!
  3. Laura Mercier Rouge Essentiel Silky Creme Lipstick - Rose Ultimate: This fire-engine red lippy is a very similar shade to the one Marilyn Monroe wore in ‘Some Like It Hot’ and oozes old-style movie glamour. Laura Mercier is famed for high-intensity lipsticks – and this red hot hue is no exception. A must-have for your collection!
  4. Ted Baker London - Posh Pout: Pucker up with this Ted Baker matte lipstick – and get a punch of long-lasting primary colour. We recommend pairing with a classic little black dress, killer heels and nude eyes to dial-up a dramatic look. It’s the statement you’re after!
  5. Feral Liquid Matte Lipstick - Haute Sauce: Bold, beautiful and cruelty-free, Haute Sauce is a striking red liquid matte lipstick with a smooth, lightweight feel. We think it’s the perfect accessory for any outfit. If you’re a fan of liquid lipstick, this one’s for you!
  6. Guerlain Kiss Kiss Shine Bloom Lipstick - 520 Love Bloom: For fans of a high-gloss finish, this lipstick delivers shine without stickiness. If you’re feeling rebellious and ready to party and want a glass-like sheen to complete an edgy look, then this is the shade you’re looking for. We even love the stylish silver lipstick case it’s packaged in.

Red lipstick is a classic, timeless look and by following our tips, everyone can wear it and shine bright. 

Remember, the most important key to nailing the head-turning red lipstick makeup look is to wear it with confidence and don’t be afraid to experiment with different hues until you find one that makes you feel sassy, bold and brilliant!

You can shop our full range of makeup at Reliked to tie your whole look together!

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