Close-up of red lips with glossy finish and matching red manicured nails, exemplifying a classic and bold makeup choice suitable for light skin tones

Red lipstick is a timeless classic that can instantly elevate any look. But with so many shades and finishes to choose from, how do you find the best one for your light skin tone? In this guide, I’ll show you how to pick the right red lipstick based on your undertone, the occasion, and the effect you want to achieve. I’ll also share some tips on how to apply and wear red lipstick like a pro. Whether you’re looking for a subtle stain or a bold statement, I’ve got you covered with our recommendations for the best red lipstick for light skin.

01 | How to Determine Your Undertone

Your undertone is the subtle hue that shows through your skin and affects how colors look on you. Knowing your undertone can help you find the most flattering red lipstick for your complexion. There are three main types of undertones: cool, warm, and neutral.

  • Cool undertones have a pink, red, or blue hue to them. If you have cool undertones, your veins will appear blue or purple on your wrist, and silver jewelry will look better on you than gold.
  • Warm undertones have a yellow, peach, or golden hue to them. If you have warm undertones, your veins will appear green or olive on your wrist, and gold jewelry will look better on you than silver.
  • Neutral undertones have a mix of both cool and warm hues. If you have neutral undertones, your veins will appear blue-green on your wrist, and both silver and gold jewelry will look good on you.

02 | How to Choose the Right Shade of Red

Once you’ve determined your undertone, you can use it as a guide to find the best shade of red lipstick for your light skin. Here are some general rules to follow:

  • Cool undertones look best with blue-based reds, such as cherry, berry, cranberry, or ruby. These shades will make your skin look brighter and your teeth look whiter.
  • Warm undertones look best with orange-based reds, such as coral, tomato, tangerine, or brick. These shades will complement your skin’s warmth and add some glow to your face.
  • Neutral undertones can pull off both blue-based and orange-based reds, depending on the mood and occasion. You can also experiment with true reds that have a balance of both cool and warm tones.

Of course, these are not hard-and-fast rules. You can always try different shades of red lipstick and see what makes you feel confident and beautiful.

03 | How to Choose the Right Finish of Red

Another factor to consider when choosing a red lipstick is the finish. The finish refers to how shiny or matte the lipstick looks on your lips. There are many types of finishes available, such as gloss, satin, cream, matte , or liquid. The finish can affect how the color looks on your lips, how long it lasts, and how comfortable it feels.

Here are some pros and cons of different finishes:

  • Glossy reds add shine and dimension to your lips, making them look fuller and plumper. They also tend to be more moisturizing and easy to apply. However, they can also be sticky and messy, and they tend to fade faster than other finishes.
  • Satin reds have a smooth and creamy texture that glides on easily and gives a soft shine to your lips. They are also more hydrating and forgiving than matte finishes. However, they can also smudge and transfer easily, and they may not last as long as other finishes.
  • Creamy reds have a rich and velvety texture that delivers full coverage and intense color payoff. They are also more comfortable and nourishing than matte finishes. However, they can also bleed and feather around the edges of your lips, and they may require more frequent touch-ups.
  • Matte reds have a flat and opaque texture that gives a bold and dramatic look to your lips. They are also more long-lasting and smudge-proof than other finishes. However, they can also be drying and uncomfortable on your lips, and they may accentuate any dryness or flakiness.
  • Liquid reds have a fluid and pigmented texture that dries down to a matte or glossy finish depending on the formula. They are also more precise and easy to apply than other finishes. However, they can also be drying and cracking on your lips, and they may be difficult to remove.

The best finish for you depends on your personal preference and the occasion. For example, if you want a casual and natural look, you may opt for a glossy or satin finish. If you want a glamorous and sophisticated look, you may opt for a creamy or matte finish. If you want a precise and long-lasting look, you may opt for a liquid finish.

04 | How to Apply and Wear Red Lipstick

Now that you’ve found your perfect shade and finish of red lipstick, it’s time to apply and wear it like a pro. Here are some tips to help you achieve a flawless red lip:

  • Exfoliate and moisturize your lips before applying any lipstick. This will help remove any dead skin cells and smooth out any dryness or flakiness. You can use a lip scrub or a soft toothbrush to gently exfoliate your lips, and then apply a lip balm or a lip mask to hydrate and nourish them.
  • Use a lip liner to outline and fill in your lips before applying your lipstick. This will help define your lip shape, prevent your lipstick from bleeding or feathering, and make your lipstick last longer. Choose a lip liner that matches your lipstick color or is slightly darker for more definition.
  • Apply your lipstick with a lip brush or directly from the bullet. Start from the center of your upper lip and follow the natural shape of your mouth. Then, move to the lower lip and fill in the rest of your lips. Blot your lips with a tissue to remove any excess product and make your lipstick more matte.
  • Clean up any mistakes with a concealer or a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover. Use a small brush or a cotton swab to erase any smudges or uneven edges around your lips. You can also apply some concealer around your lips to create a sharper contrast and make your red lips pop.
  • Set your lipstick with some translucent powder or setting spray. This will help lock in your lipstick and make it more long-lasting. You can use a fluffy brush to lightly dust some translucent powder over your lips, or spray some setting spray over your face.

05 | Our Recommendations for the Best Red Lipsticks for Light Skin

To help you find your ideal red lipstick, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite products for light skin tones. These are all high-quality, affordable, and flattering red lipsticks that you can easily find online or in stores.

L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Satin Lipstick in Classic Wine
L'Oréal Paris Color Riche Satin Red Lipstick for Light Skin in Classic Wine, showcasing a rich burgundy shade, encased in a luxurious gold tube, ideal for enhancing light skin with a sophisticated touch


This is a gorgeous blue-based red lipstick that suits cool undertones and gives a satin finish. It has a creamy and hydrating formula that glides on smoothly and delivers rich color payoff. It also contains nourishing ingredients such as argan oil, vitamin E, and omega 3 to keep your lips soft and moisturized.

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Matador
L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Matador, displaying a vibrant and long-lasting red hue in a sleek pink tube, perfect for a durable, matte finish on light skin


This is a stunning orange-based red lipstick that suits warm undertones and gives a matte finish. It has a liquid and pigmented formula that dries down quickly and lasts up to 16 hours without fading, smudging, or cracking. It also has an applicator that allows you to apply the product precisely and evenly.

L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Les Nus by Color Riche Intense Nude Lipstick in Nu Impertinent
L'Oréal Paris Color Riche Les Nus Intense Nude Lipstick in Nu Impertinent, a subtle pinkish-nude shade in a stylish rose gold case, designed to complement light skin with a natural look


This is a beautiful true red lipstick that suits neutral undertones and gives a creamy finish. It has a velvety and lightweight formula that delivers full coverage and intense color payoff. It also has a nude-inspired shade range that flatters every skin tone.

Red lipstick is a must-have for every makeup lover, especially if you have light skin. It can instantly brighten up your complexion, enhance your features, and boost your confidence. But finding the best red lipstick for your skin tone can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for.

That’s why I created this guide to help you choose the right shade, finish, and product for your light skin tone. I hope this guide has been helpful and informative, and that you’ve found your perfect red lipstick among our recommendations.

Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and experiment with different shades of red lipstick until you find the one that makes you feel amazing. There’s no right or wrong way to wear red lipstick, as long as you love it.

So go ahead and rock that red lip with confidence!

Related Articles:

Top 07 Red Lipsticks for Light Skin Tones: Find Your Perfect Shade

7 Best Lipstick Colors for Valentine’s Day 2024

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