Style

The perfect red lipstick for summer — for every complexion

Find your cool, coral or crimson pout perfection.

Find your cool, coral or crimson pout perfection

A good red lip never goes out of style. And although we're seeing lots of glosses and nudes this season, rouge is also having a major moment; no surprise since we saw pops of red at spring/summer 2019 runway shows like Rodarte, Hellesy, and Lela Rose. Plus, a red lip is a great option if you want to embrace the "bright lip, no other makeup" look. 

But, how to know which red lipstick is best for your skin tone? Toronto-based, long time makeup artist Elizabeth Taylor outlined the general rule of thumb for choosing the right red for your complexion. "Fairer tones should look for more true reds or even coral-based red lipsticks. Medium and olive tones look best in more orange and sometimes plum-based reds. If you have darker skin look for brighter, blue-toned reds."

So with that in mind, here's a list of great red lipsticks, for you to find your match within.

Bite is back at it with an Amuse Bouche limited edition collection, and this time they're taking us on a road trip with city-inspired shades of their signature lipstick. There are eight new shades, but we've got emoji heart eyes for the Canadian city in the mix: Toronto. The shade is called Maple-leaf Spice. It's a beautifully rich and creamy lipstick that goes on so clean you won't need a liner. The warm orange colour is universally flattering, but ideal for olive, medium and darker skin tones.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Toronto Maple-leaf Spice, $26, Bite Beauty

The stunning, vintage-inspired gold etching on the tube sets the stage for this gorgeous satin finish lipstick. It's super opaque and feels lusciously hydrating even as the day goes on. This vivid red hue is definitely a true red and as a result, will really pop on fair skin tones. It also has a blueish base that will pair nicely with darker toned skin.

Gucci Beauty Odalie Red Lipstick, $48, Gucci

This is a bold and fun lip colour that'll definitely make you stand out this summer. There are seven big bright shades, all of which are highly pigmented with a subtle satin shine. Don't expect it to be long wear, but it will feel comfy and creamy on. 'Hot blooded' is a candy apple red; a great choice for darker or even olive skin tones.

Fenty Beauty Poutsicle Juicy Lip Satin in Hot Blooded, $25, Sephora

The look of this lip gloss reminds me of vinyl — that luxurious high shine that summer dreams are made of! I'd describe this as a pigmented lip colour dressed up as a lip gloss (you don't often get such an intense, full-bodied colour in a lip gloss). It glides on silky and that lacquered look will stay. 'Studio 64' is a look-at-me orange red shade. Go for this if you've got an olive or medium skin tone.

Charlotte Tilbury Latex Love Lip Gloss in Studio 64, $39, Charlotte Tilbury

This new offering from Flesh is seamlessly smooth, shiny and lightweight. It's uncomplicated to apply and doesn't seep into lip creases. I also like that it has a refreshing little kick of mint to it. This new collection has ten shades, and the shade 'a passing moment' is a deep raspberry red. The plum-based tones of this shade make it flattering for medium tones, contrasting nicely with yellow undertones. Darker toned skin can use this as well, it will just show up more as a typical berry.

Flesh Hot Sauce Lip Gloss in A Passing Moment, $24.24, Utlabeauty.com

This is the classic Rouge G in a semi-matte formula. If you don't like strong scented lipsticks then you won't be a fan of this one. But note, you'll only need one swipe to get a good coverage, and it's got ingredients like black seed oil and jojoba to help keep lips hydrated. The matte shade no. 44 is a sultry and warm orange red. Complementary to all tones but particularly olive to dark tones.

Guerlain Rouge G Matte Lipstick in No. 44, $38, Hudson's Bay

Not a brand new collection, but Selena Gomez recently wore the shade 'Oh, Miley' at this year's Cannes film festival which reminded me of how fabulous it is. The lipstick goes on incredibly creamy, but actually settles into more of a satin, slightly matte finish. So there is some decent staying power, but like most cream lipsticks, you'll have to reapply after eating. This colour is described as a strawberry spice red; it's definitely a classic red with cool undertones perfect for fair or even very fair skin tones, but as we saw with Selena it also looks stunning on medium to olive tones.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Lip Crème Lipstick in Oh Milley, $39, Sephora

These new lipsticks promise major hydration and more moisturised lips after use. As if that wasn't enough, it comes in 50 gorgeous colours including a couple vivid red shades. A standout feature of these lipsticks is the '3D pearl center core'.  A really interesting angular shape that helps you apply the lipstick with more precision, perfectly hugging (or creating) your cupid's bow. I really like the colour 'hot tamale'. It's more of a coral red so will be best suited to fair to medium skin tones.

CLINIQUE Dramatically Different Lipstick in Hot Tamale, $25, Sephora

It's back! MAC has relaunched a bedazzled version of its original Viva Glam 1 shade to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the iconic lipstick (and as usual, with all proceeds going to organizations that support "the health and rights of people of All Ages, All Races and All Genders". This lipstick is a true matte but it's not jerky to apply, nor does it leave your lips dry or feeling stiff. The shade that started it all is a brownish-blue red; a winner for all skin tones, especially darker tones.

MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam 25, $24, MAC

This lipstick has a creamy look with a semi-matte finish — a slightly similar look to the CT latex love lip gloss mentioned above, but it lasts even longer. Like all Sephora collection liquid lip colours, I find once it dries down, it doesn't transfer. The smell is a bit on the strong side but the look and smooth vitamin E-infused feel outweigh that con. This is a pretty classic red with mostly blue undertones, great for fairer tones but particularly flattering for darker skin tones.

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Shine Red Potion, $18, Sephora


Nneka Elliott (@nnekaelliott) is a lifestyle blogger, host and actor. She shares her adventures with fashion and beauty in her pursuit of a gutsy life. nnekaelliott.com

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