Primp Tip: The Best Reds for Your Skin Tone

Picking the perfect red lipstick to compliment your skin tone is more important than you might think… Swipe something on that’s too bright and you end up looking like a clown. Pick something too blue-based and you could be mistaken for a corpse. That’s why I am going to lay down the law on which reds go best with different shades of skin. I’ve decided to break down the different skin colors into general categories, so if you don’t see an exact match, try to find a happy medium between the two closest shades… Or if in doubt, go for a coral-red since it’s a universally flattering color.

Primp Tip: The Best Reds for Your Skin Tone

So let me break this down for you…

Fair Skin Tones

If you have a peaches and cream complexion, here’s what you need to know:

  • For pink undertones, opt for coral reds since they are not so overpowering. Matte reds with a hint of orange look great too.
  • For yellow undertones, go with a coral or brick red that is a bit warmer.

Medium + Bronze Skin Tones

For those of you with more olive or golden skin, here’s what works best for you:

  • Lucky you! Most shades will work with your coloring… Go crazy!
  • True reds, cranberry shades, and pink-based reds look especially lovely with your coloring.

Dark Skin Tones

If you have a deeper complexion, with cool undertones, here’s what you need to know:

  • Blue-based reds and cool shades will look best with your rich coloring—think fig, dark cherry, and dark jam.
  • Stay away from anything too bright, otherwise it will look harsh.

If you have any extra pointers, please sound off below! Also, if you have a favorite brand and color that works well with your skin tone, be sure to share that too.

Which red hue are you?

XO Lauren

Photo: Glamour, image layout by
Categories: Contributors, Lauren Conrad, Makeup, Primp
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  • kjandersen11

    Pinned the illustration to save it for later :) Wanna be sure I pick the right red next time I go shopping.

  • Amy Breckenridge

    this is so helpful! i’m usually afraid to wear red because i think it looks too dramatic on me, but maybe i should branch out. :)
    i just did a post on hot pink lipstick and gloss, check it out!

  • redheadrachel

    I absolutely love red lipstick! I’ve always heard fair skin tones look best with lipsticks that have a blue undertone, so I’m surprised to see the opposite here. But I have lipsticks that have blue undertones and I even have an orange-red and all of them look great! My favorites are three shades by NARS: Jungle Red, Dragon Girl, and Heat Wave.


  • Mallory

    So helpful! I prefer pink tone lipstick over a red. And I love corals in the summer time!


  • Rachel Trampel

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE red lipsticks! I usually use a coral/orangish red color! Definitely looks good on fair skin!

  • Amanda Holstein

    This is such a great guide! I swear, we’re always on the same page because I just did a post on lipstick today too! Check it out here:


  • Jessica | My Style vita

    These are really great tips. I love a good red lipstick and finding the right hue is really important!

    xo Jessica

  • Ashley Rizzardo

    Thanks! Such helpful tips :)

  • Heather M

    I have wanted a true red lipstick for so long but everything I have tried has looked relatively horrible – now I know exactly what to look for! thanks!

  • Flor Garcia

    These tips are great!


  • Amy

    I did a post about my 5 favorite lip colors including my favorite red lipstick by Clinique. Even though I recently got a new one by Revlon I haven’t tried yet!

  • Cassidy Short

    OOO I love that fair skin should go for shades with a hint of orange, I LOVE coral lips! Great post :)


  • Metaden

    thank you lauren for you re great tips , i have a medium skin , like what you said all the shades look absolutly great but we have to find the right lip stick i mean the texture matte , liquid , frosty ….

    xoxo salma

  • hooleywithaz

    i love lipstick, but am just starting to get brave enough to try reds. for whatever reason, that color is scarier to me than a hot magenta!

  • JennySue Makeup

    I love all of MAC’s reds, but my faves are Russian Red (true red) and Lady Danger (hint of orange.) I’m a mommy with a makeup problem…

  • sarah lawrence

    Love those colors! Check out my blog!!!

  • Anne-Marie Hainer

    I find the thing about medium skins ones being able to wear any color interesting, because I have a pretty light complexion and I have not problem wearing any shade of red.

  • Melisa Beleli

    Hi there!
    I have a youtube channel in which I put a lot of time and effort, it would mean the world if you could check it out and possibly sub?
    Thank you! <3

  • Kylie Miller

    Really great post, I definitely want to buy some new lipstick colors to try after reading this! Check out my blog:

  • Cami

    Great post! definitely need to check out more berry type reds. I do like the cherry ones but sometimes they look off on my skin!
    Thank you for sharing

  • debora f

    I love MAC russian red

  • Valeria Alvarez

    great tips, red is such a dificult color to wear if you don`t know how to choose it!

    <3 Val

  • Beans

    i hardly wear makeup, & even more rarely lipstick, but i think im going try the coral reds for my fair pink skin & surprise my man on valentine’s day 😉

  • These Peach Roses

    I looooove this post. Very helpful! Red lipstick seems so scary and totally-not-foolproof. I’m going to bring these tips with me next time I hit up the MAC counter. Thanks!

  • Taanjaa

    Never thought about this before, thanks!

  • My Style Diary

    Love this post! It’s very helpful :) My skin tone is light amd I like wearing corals a lot so that’s great!

  • Dana Mathews

    i have very fair skin (pink undertones), and i agree that the reds with a hint of orange look nice. but i also have a dark red (CK One line) that looks good too! so i don’t think you necessarily need to count that one out for fair skinned

  • Shellz

    i have a post on this with a lot of different lipstick selection… check it out fellaz:

  • Kate Noto

    This is really helpful. Now I know what type of lipstick I need to get for my skin tone.

  • HistoryBeauty

    I totally agree!

    Check out my beauty channel and blog!!

  • Erika Jeanine

    I’ve always said my skin tone was golden without even knowing if that was an actual description. For the most recent halloween I wanted to wear a lipstick (typically I hate lipstick because it tastes gross and gets on everything). I went to a random beauty store I drove past and asked a lady inside what she thought would look good. She handed me FIG by SMASHBOX. I absolutely loved it. I tried other colors, I may have liked them, but none were better than my Fig color. But after reading that I might be able to get away with a ton of colors, I’m thinking about trying stuff out.

    A few months before though, I tried finding a “”nude”” lipstick elsewhere and I hated everything. That’s what I want the most and I can’t seem to pull it off yet.

    Two Pix (same stick):

    Feel free to follow (:

  • Erika Jeanine

    ^ oh and the Smashbox lipstick didn’t have that normal plastic-y taste which made me more likely to wear it.

    Also, Estee Lauder has a more pleasant taste also

  • Kelby Peachey

    a tip i like to follow: if you can wear it on your nails, you could probably wear it on your lips too. :)


  • Amy

    I don’t find this to be entirely true– I’m incredibly pale with red hair and brown eyes, and orange-based reds look terrible on me! Corals appear almost clownish, as they seem to bring out a weird cast to my skin. Blue-based all the way :D. I say regardless of skin tone, go for an orange-based AND a blue-based red lippy and see which one you like better!

    • Michelle Hughes

      Red hair here too agreed

  • cmh96734

    I completely, completely, completely agree with this statement. Corals and oranges look terrible on fair-skinned ladies. Blue-based reds are ideal for us fair-skinned gals.

    FWIW, I wear red lipstick almost every single day and I have red hair and super fair skin. Blue reds all the way. Well said, Amy! :-)

  • Nat:)

    Reds seems not to work for me period. I have a cool dark skin tone not too dark and not too light but for some reason when ever I try a red lipstick it makes me look nasty as if I’m trying too hard or something. So I just stick to nudes and soft not really noticeable pinks

  • Chelseaness

    I have an orange lipstick with gold in it. I’m fair skinned and it doesn’t look terrible on me…

  • nicole Smith

    I love being medium-skin-toned. It’s the best for any colors that I want to wear!

  • Ashley

    I have very fair skin and my favourite red lipsticks have a blue undertone.

  • jeana

    I think that Lauren (or anyone posting a blog post on makeup tips) needs to take into account not just our skin tones, but the different undertones! I have fair skin as well, but with olive undertones dark hair and dark eyes, and I find that I can wear most red tones, but not pink based reds. My mom has fair hair green eyes and fair skin and I think warmer colors suit her better.

    My point is, fair skin has different undertones. Not just pink, and that should be taken into account.

    Also, as an olive skinned brunette, I do not consider myself medium or bronze. I am as fair as they come!

    • laurdaisy

      I totally agree! I have really fair skin with freckles in a medium tone and really bright blue eyes and medium brown hair with natural red undertones. I just wear lipsticks I like though! If I don’t think they look good I won’t wear them but it’s hard to know what I ‘should’ be buying.

  • Ms. Piggy

    So I have very fair skin and anything coral based or orange is absolutely guaranteed to look horrible. I’ve never gotten anything but negative comments when I try even the slightest orange undertone. I have blue-green eyes and light brown hair and probably the palest skin known to man. And the undertone to my skin is neither pink nor yellow. I’ve tried pink-reds and orange-reds more times than I can count and they always go straight in the trash after one application. There’s more to which color you ought to wear than the paleness of your skin.

    • Éloïse

      You could try almost berry shades. I find they look better on my skin tone. I still don’t wear reds because I have really small lips and I think it looks odd but the raspberry shades tend to look great colour-wise (:

  • Meagan

    I actually think that when choosing a red lipstick, what is more important than skin tone is your teeth. In my experience and from what I’ve seen with others, unless you have had your teeth whitened, orange-y reds make your teeth look a bit yellow. On the other hand, cool reds with blue undertones are much more flattering in making your teeth look white. And this is coming from someone with very white teeth for being natural!

  • Gamze Bozkurt

    I have very fair skintone with yellow undertone so I can use any red lipsticks with my fingers so it can look natural. I like coral red lipsticks.

  • Jen Ruhman

    awesome! Just shared this article!

    I also think you can rock any red you want as long as your eye makeup is neutral.

  • Stacy Hirsh

    i am really pale and need to wear a pretty bright pink shade to brighten up my face, especially in the winter, i look too washed out without lipstick on.

  • Daisy

    BUT LAUREN, my skin is fair with yellow undertones! Do I just stay away from red lipstick??? (spoiler: no)

  • Teeka Hartzler

    If you look better in ivory stick to a coral/orange undertone if you look better in white stick to a blue under-toned red



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