When you think of classic 1950s style makeup, red lipstick is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. After all, nearly every picture we see from that time features a smiling woman with ruby red lips!
This look has stood the test of time, and modern vintage and pinup styles are still capped off with a red lip. But which red is best? The reality is, the same red lipstick will look different on different people and there isn’t a single red shade that is universally “perfect”.
Your skin (regardless of your actual skin colour) will have warmish or coolish undertones, as will your hair. So take a look in the mirror and look for a red with undertones that are right for you.
Red lipstick for cool undertones
Cool Blonde – pink to fuchsia
Cool Brunette – orchid to violet
Cool Red – soft pink or blue reds
Cool Gray – muted pink or rose
Red lipstick for warm undertones
Warm Blonde – coral to true red
Warm Brunette – geranium to true red
Warm Red – golden or brownish
Warm Gray – coral to true red
What if your hair colour isn’t the one that grows out of your head? You can still use this as a basic guide – even with pink or green or blue hair! Yup, it’s all about colour theory. The warm side of the colour wheel is Red/ Orange/ Yellow and the cool side is Green/ Blue/ Purple.
There are approximately 174,286 shades of red lipstick in the world, so finding your favourite may take some trial and error. But this guide can help you narrow the search! Have you found a a can’t-live-without-it shade of red lipstick? Let me know what it is and why you love it in the comments!
(List adapted from the 1954 book “Secrets of Charm” by John Robert Powers and Mary Sue Miller.)