Red Lips 101: Choosing a Lipstick

Red lipstick is the indisputable king of the makeup world, you cannot get any more classic than a bold red lip. Rouje lipstick is probably the most traditional beauty tool out there, with our ancestors wiping berries over the faces to add a stained flush – we really have this one in our DNA when you think about it! Given that a red lip is seemingly second nature, it only seems appropriate that we all have one tucked away in our makeup bag! But, how do you choose the right one, you ask? Read on for a class on just how to select the perfect shade for you and your pout…

Formula and Finish

Formula is a biggie, and it makes a huge difference to the overall impact of your lipstick so it’s not, repeat not, to be ignored. Here are your formula options that you’ll come across when you’re shopping around.

Balm – A balm lipstick is going to give you a super subtle wash of colour, and an extra kick of moisture on days when you’re looking a little dry. This is great if you want an incredibly natural tinge of red.

Sheer Matte – This is a little bit of a newbie on the makeup scene, but it has been welcomed with open arms! Sheer matte formulas add a gorgeously graceful hint of red to your lips whilst still keeping things matte, it looks seriously stylish and delightfully natural at the same time whilst still having great staying power.

Sheer Gloss – This is a lovely one to wear on a summer’s day or for when you want a glossy lip with an extra something-something. Glossy sheer red lips are ever so fashion forward and fresh.

Pigmented Shine – This is your shiny lipstick that packs a punch in the pigment department. A glossy pigmented red is great for a glamorous night out on the town.

Classic Satin – The classic satin formula is your traditional lipstick choice. A satin finish sits between matte and gloss, giving a perfect plump pout in a matter of swipes.

Matte – If you’re looking for staying power and bold colour pay off then matte is the formula for you.

Colour Considerations

Once you’ve landed on your perfect formula fit, it’s time to get choosing your colour! You might be thinking that reds are a pretty basic colour category, but think again! When navigating the wonderful selection of reds out there you’re going to have to think about…


You have plenty of options for different undertones, but if you really want to make it simple for yourself then you need to split it into two categories, warm and cool. Cool reds have a blue undertone, this is your crimsons, classic reds and burgundies. A warmer red has more of an orange tinge to it. Warm reds are fire engine tones, hot oranges and bright neons.


Depth makes a huge difference to the look and vibe of your lipstick. This basically means how dark or light the saturation of your chosen undertone is. Of course, your formula of choice plays a part in the payoff of your red, so factor in this here when deciding. For example, if you want a dark vampy look, a glossy deep dark wine toned red is going to be better than the sheer, lighter option.


Your options for application methods include the classic twist up tube, a liquid applicator (usually used with liquid lipsticks), cream, pot and even multifunctional blush/shadow/lipstick products. Choose what fits best with your preferred routine for lipstick!

Well, now that you’re a total expert in all things red lipstick, you can get out there and start shopping for one!

Written by Monella


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