The best red lipsticks for darker skin tones lead image


Words: Abisoye Odugbesan

There are certain things that every girl should have in her arsenal, that trusted, timeless LBD that can be whipped out at a moments notice. Those killer heels that make you strut around the office à la Naomi. A good red lippy can make you feel sexy, bold and confident. It’s undeniably a glamorous look that makes a statement, however, it can be this same attention grabbing power that makes some women shy away from it. I for one used to think I couldn’t pull off a red lip, I have full lips and don’t really need /want anything enhancing them. For other women, it’s the laborious task of finding that perfect shade that is the turn off, it can be just as difficult as finding the perfect jeans. Whilst we can’t help on the LBD or the jeans front, finding your classic red lipstick could be within your reach.

We got the chance to have an exclusive one-on-one with renowned Make-Up artist Julie Jacobs to get the 101 on finding the perfect red lipstick for you. So, where to start? There are literally hundreds of options available so Julie has broken them down. “There are 3 types of reds available on the market, Blue Reds, True Reds and Orange Reds, what you need to do is shop within the category that best compliments your skin tone for a shade that will be the most harmonious, but if you’re after a dramatic look then choose a red from a different category .

Red lipsticks for dark skin tones

Dark Skin Tones

“On a really dark complexion I would use a dark blue red. However, if I had a client that really wanted an orange red (personally I feel it can look too bright and over powers the rest of the face) I would put the blue red all over the lip but then in the centre of the bottom and top lip, I would put a touch of the orange red. This is actually a great tip for any bright lippy for any skin tone. I also love to see tonal make-up on really dark skin, keeping the eyes and cheeks and lips all in the same colour family but mixing and matching different texture, a glossy lip and matt eyes for example, very chic”.

Pro Tip: “Apply the lipstick, take a tissue and gently press it onto your lips to take off the excess. Take one ply of the tissue, lay it over your lips then with your powder brush, pat on a little powder to help your lipstick set and boost its staying power”.

Julie’s Recommendations:

Red-Lipsticks for medium skin tones

Medium Skin Tones

Julie recommends true reds for those with medium skin tones but there are no set rules and one could try a different red from another category, “a Blue Red on a Medium skin tone would look more dramatic”. If your lips are your focus then make them your focus, by heavily applying anything anywhere else you take away from the lips. When the look for a shoot is all about the lips, I like to slowly sculpt the cheekbones towards the model’s mouth with one shade of a darker foundation, drawing attention to the lips. Get a good mascara going, a nice groomed brow and that is your red lip look done”.

Pro Tip: “If someone has really full lips, I would use a darker pencil on the outside (fill in the lip with the pencil to avoid a line) and a matching lipstick on the inside, this can also help your lips from bleeding Urban Decay have a matching lip pencil for nearly every lipstick, but don’t worry about getting an exact match, it is more important to get the same tone, if I was using a true red lipstick I would avoid using a blue red pencil”.

Julie’s Recommendations:

Red Lipsticks for fair skin tones

Fair Skin Tones

Orange reds are best for fairer skin tones, within these you will get different depths/ shades and they can look bright. If you’re unsure, apply it as a stain, dab a bit on your finger and then dab it on your lips and slowly build up the colour. For more intensity apply with a brush or straight from the bullet stick. Below are some of my favourites.

Pro Tip: “Wearing a bold lip no matter the colour or your skin tone requires more effort, no lipstick will sit well unless they are applied to a smooth surface. Exfoliate your lips first to remove any dry skin. I use a dry cotton bud, apply ample lip balm, I like Khiel’s Lip Balm #1 and then rub the lips to exfoliate. For an even application dab a tiny bit of your concealer on your top and bottom lip then apply your lipstick of choice for pretty pout perfection.”

Julie’s Recommendations: