Red Lipstick: The Perfect Shade

Guest Post 

How to wear: Red Lipstick 

Finding the perfect shade of red lipstick for black and African American skin-tones (images below)

By Iv Valentine of

The History of Red lips is one that is tantalizing, teasing, and for most of history taboo. An anthropologist study dates the wearing of red on the lips and cheek back to the Ancient Middle East which includes, North Africa and India.
It is thought that red lips were first used to simulate the look of the labia by prostitutes when performing fellatio. Japanese Geisha are also mostly depicted with bright red lips due to its seductive and alluring nature.

In the 20th Century, red lips became a symbol of women's independence as well as what your grandmother would refer to as a "lady of the night" or "jezebel". No matter what side of history you land red lips are an attention getter that has transcended time and trend for thousands of years.

As a makeup artist I have had many clients of color who fear wearing the color red on the lips because they feel there isn’t a red suitable for their complexion.
My response for the last 12 years has been that any woman can wear anything all you need is a daring spirit and a little time and patience to find the Red that you are most comfortable dawning.

These are my simple tips for finding the right Red for your skin tone

Pay attention to your lips natural pinkness or redness and use that as a baseline for finding what is right for you.

If your lips are darker go with a "true" Red meaning it has more of a blue undertone and let your natural lip color do the toning.

If you have lips that are two tone meaning your upper or lower lip is darker than the other, let the darker of the two lead the way and fill in the brighter lip with a lip pencil the same color as the darker lip.

For you girls that don't want your Red too bright take a berry or flesh tone lip pencil and use it as a toner to achieve your desired brightness.

Want to really make your pout sizzle? Add a clear or gold/bronze gloss over top of your lipstick to really make it pop!

I find that women who have a lighter complexion look great in more orange or coral reds and women of deeper complexions look awesome in brick reds and reds with a blue or purplish undertone.  

Either way, find what works best for your style and don't be afraid to experiment!!! Alright ladies get out there and try one of histories most classic shades...

Happy Painting.



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Here are a few of my favorite Reds:
red lipsticks for darker skin tones
Urban Decay
Gash: a long wear, creamy, blue/purple undertone.


Fire Down Below: a semi-matte, “brick” red.


Iman Red: a semi-matte “true” red.


Liable: a matte, orange undertone.


Ruby Woo: a very matte, “blue” red