As someone who’s been in the cosmetics industry since the mid-nineties, there is one surety during this time of year: the desire to find The Perfect Red Lipstick. Every year like clockwork, after Thanksgiving and until well after New Year’s Eve, people of all walks of makeup life begin (or continue) the search of TPRL. It is a nice change from the deep wines and burgundies of the fall season, and still feels current without skipping a season like a bright pink or rose can feel like when there are still snow flurries, even after the holidays.
Now, I’m not here to argue that there is a statement classic red for every skin tone (there is), or that everyone should have TPRL in their makeup arsenal (you should), but more so to help everyone’s search and offer tips and tricks to find the best red for you.
There are typically 2 families of reds that a lipstick will fall under:
A brighter, blue under-toned color which is typically more flattering on a cooler toned person.
A warmer, more golden or orangey color which is typically more flattering on warmer skin tones.
Pro-Tip: Just like an easy way to see what undertone your foundation should be is to put a stripe on your skin and see how it looks on your skin, the same could be said about swatching the perfect red lipstick. If you stripe it on the back of your hand and it looks really blue or cold, you should go for a warmer, more golden red. If, conversely, you swatch it and it looks really yellow or gold on your skin, a better option may be a cooler red.
I’m going to start with the best of the reds, I won’t save the best for last. The best, most luxurious, long lasting and truly universal red is Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored.
Like…… YA’LL…. Go to Sephora.com and look at all the women that are wearing this color. Type in the hashtag on IG. See how the fairest of alabasters to the deepest of ebonies look with this amazing shade. I have truly never seen anything like it. Even better than the shade is the formula. It is creamy yet stays put, a mix of a matte and a satin, with a slight shimmery dreaminess. I understand that these concepts seem like they cannot occur simultaneously, but Robin Fenty has made a way out of no way!!
Other beautiful reds that made the cut:
In the bluer, cooler family MAC Ruby Woo, NARS Dragon Lady, Makeup Forever C404 Passion Red.
In the golden, warmer palette: MAC Russian Red, NARS Cruella, Makeup Forever C405 Stage Red.
For a twist on the traditional, try Beatrix or Diva lipsticks, or add Nightmoth liner to deepen up and make a classic red more nuanced. All from MAC.