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When Taylor Swift sang, “And I got that red lip, classic thing that you like”, she was right to say she’ll never go out of style.
Since the release of her highly anticipated, Red (Taylor’s Version) re-release – yes, her 2012 album was even named after her favourite make-up shade – searches for Taylor-inspired red lipstick have skyrocketed by 3,300%. That’s almost as many red lips as Swift mentions in her own songs. Almost.
Red lipstick is a makeup classic, but it can be tricky to find the right shade for you. This is because we all have different skin tones and undertones – and so does lipstick. From pink to brown to blue to yellow – yes, yellow, really – the colours mixed into your ‘Very Berry’ Or ‘Scarlett Harlot’ determine the shade that shows up and how it illuminates your face (or actively works against it).
As Joann Mahon, owner and managing director of beauty website Millies says: “When it comes to purchasing the ‘perfect’ red lipstick, there are many mistakes to be made. Red lipstick can be difficult to wear because of the fact that every skin tone suits a different shade. No one shade of red lipstick will flatter all, so to combat this, shop for a shade that has the same undertones as your skin.”
Work out your skin tone and undertone
To find the best red lipstick shade for you, you’ll need to know not just your skin tone – the one you see when you look in the mirror – but your undertone, too.
So how do you go about doing that?
Look at your veins
This is probably one of the simplest ways to asses what your undertone is. If your veins look greenish, then you have a warm undertone. Those with cooler undertones will have blue or purplish-looking veins. If you have neutral undertones, your veins might look colourless or match your skin colour
Study your jewellery
The jewellery you gravitate towards can also be a tell-tale sign of your skin undertone is as usually wear jewellery that suits our skin.
If you wear yellow gold hoops or necklaces, you may well have warm or olive undertones. If you’re prefer to wear silver, platinum or rose gold jewellery, your undertone is likely to be on the cooler side. If either silver or gold looks good on you, you may have a neutral undertone.
Find your perfect shade of red
Once you have an insight into your skin’s tone and undertone, you can crack on with finding your dream red lipstick. Mahon has advice for all skin tones.
“For those with fair skin tones, pink-hued reds and coral shades will work best as they won’t overpower your overall look. Beige skin tones best suit true reds and berry shades as they will instantly whiten teeth and highlight golden undertones,” she says.
“For those with a more medium complexion, feel free to play around with browner shades of red as these will complement your skin tone, and will add a pop of colour to your look,” Mahon adds. “Finally, for those with more melatonin in their skin, and darker complexions, you should look for intense colours, such as brick red and berry tones, or reds with blue undertones. For darker complexions, we love shades of red that are deep, bright and matte.”
And don’t forget your undertone! Warm undertones demand a yellow-based red while those with cooler undertones should look for a product with a blue base.
Mohan recommends Benefit Love Tint Lip & Cheek Stain and Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored. We also love Mac’s Russian Red and Ruby Woo lip shades, as well as the liquid Red Velvet by Lime Crime.
And remember, if in doubt, take your cues from Tay Tay: “Red lips and rosy cheeks, say you’ll see me again, even if it’s just in your wildest dreams.”