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Best Red Lipsticks for Women of Color

In the beauty world, a great red lipsitick is equivalent to the perfect LBD. A swipe (or two) of the bold hue can give you more confidence, pull your look together, and entice a few DMs. However, like fashion, cosmetics aren’t one-size-fits all, especially for women of color.

Thankfully, the industry is steering more towards inclusivity but that doesn’t make your search the perfect shade any easier. According to L’Oréal Paris Celebrity Makeup Artist, Sir John, women of color should steer clear of shades with pink undertones and select those that are orange- or blue-based. “An orange-based red make a complexion look tanner and adds a bit of a glow to the skin, while a blue-based red will help punctuate white teeth and puts one’s smile on a proverbial pedestal,” he shared.

Beyond considering just undertones, women of color can’t underestimate the importance of pigment quality. Bad color payoff can be whack to say the least—liquids and creams hold the longest. “On myself, I apply straight from the tube but on clients, I always use a brush or my finger,” explained makeup artist Lavonne Anthony. “After applying, I like to take a bit of concealer and make the bottom and corners super crisp.It prevents bleeding and makes the pout precise.”

Of course, we wanted to see what a bevy of shades looked like IRL on real women. So, we caught up with various beauty bloggers, makeup artists and tastemakers to get their testimonials about their perfect red shade—and have them snap a pic! Keep scrolling to see their favorites.

Avielle Amor, @avielleamor​​

“Growing up, I always heard that dark skin women should not wear red lipstick. Wearing this vibrant red helps me visually say f*** you to society’s standards on what’s beautiful—and who should wear what! I wear what I want and I feel damn good!” Avielle Amor, @avielleamor

Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick in Crimson, $9; urbandecay.com

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Destiny Matuet, @callherdestinyy​

“I’ve always struggled with the idea of myself in a red lipstick. [Having a dark complexion] was one thing that probably held me back the most because I saw every skin tone just killing the red lip, but never saw the right tone of red on a darker skin tone. Finally, I watched more videos about tones and color [to start my hunt]. M.A.C Cosmetic’s Ruby Woo was the perfect tone—it wasn’t too orange or too magenta, it was the perfect cool-toned blue-red. [The shade] compliments almost everyone I’ve seen wear it.” — Destiny Matuet, @callherdestinyy

M.A.C Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, $19; nordstrom.com

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Teni Panosian, @tenipanosian​​

“If I’m going for a red lip, it’s going to be a bright one! My favorite for my olive complexion is the Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Bang-Bang. It’s the perfect standout red and pairs well my black hair.” — Teni Panosian, @tenipanosian

Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Bang Bang, $24; ulta.com

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Sally Ashour, @sallyomo​

“[I] love this lipstick color especially with a simple outfit. It just instantly gives me a bold look. I love a good red on my lips—I just think every girl looks so fierce and confident when they’re wearing it.” — Sally Ashour, @sallyomo

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour in #63 Nightfall, $37; nordstrom.com

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Alba Ramos, @sunkissalba

“As a woman of color, I love playing with dark reds and burgundies but you can never go wrong with a classic red like this one. Here, I’m wearing Dr. Hauschka lipliner #02 and the 100% Pure Lipstick in Nopal, which is my favorite brand because it contains nourishing ingredients without toxins!” — Alba Ramos, @sunkissalba

Dr.Hauschka Lip Liner in #02, $20; dr.hauschka.com

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100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick in Nopal $29; 100percentpure.com

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Blake Von D, @blakevond​​

“When it comes to the perfect red lip, finding ‘your red’ is key. M.A.C’s Ruby Woo takes the guesswork out of it, because it literally looks good on EVERYONE. That is why it’s always my tried and true go-to.” — Blake Von D, @blakevond

M.A.C Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, $19; nordstrom.com

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Gracie Mercedes, @grasiemercedes​​​​

“I found my perfect red lipstick about six years ago—and it’s still my favorite: Stila Liquid Lipstick in Beso is the best! It goes on like a liquid and dries matte. It stays on all day long and is the perfect cherry red.” — Gracie Mercedes, @grasiemercedes

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso, $22; sephora.com

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Paloma Cordova, @palomaxcordova

“My favorite red lipstick is the Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint. It’s the perfect neutral, mid-tone red for my olive skin and not to mention it’s super long-wearing.” — Paloma Cordova, @palomaxcordova

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint, $24; sephora.com

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Pam Hetlinger, @pamhetlinger​​

“The Lip Maestro in Shade 407 from Armani is one of my favorite red lipsticks! The shade has a velvety matte finish that doesn’t dry your lips and stays put all day long. This is definitely one of my beauty must-haves.” — Pam Hetlinger, @pamhetlinger

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in Shade 407 Drama Red, $38; sephora.com

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Frédérique Harrel, @freddieharrel

“[M.A.C] Ruby Woo is my ultimate red lipstick! I love its retro feel and, as a lot of black women [do], I love the matte finish! I already have thick lips so am quite wary of a huge shiny red mouth, so Ruby Woo is my jam!” — Frédérique Harrel, @freddieharrel

M.A.C Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, $19; nordstrom.com

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DJ Kitty Cash, @kittycash

“I die for a perfect red lip! My lips are very full and I love the way red accentuates my fullness and adds an extra pop to every outfit. It’s bold, timeless, sexy, and always makes me feel pulled together.” — DJ Kitty Cash, @kittycash

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in Don’t Stop, $26; sephora.com

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Mattie James, @themattiejames

“I’m a red lipstick kind of girl and whenever I wear my Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint, I turn heads. It’s the ultimate red and stays on ALL DAY without drying your lips.” — Mattie James, @themattiejames

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint, $24; sephora.com

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Jade Kendle, @LipsticknCurls​​

“One of the juiciest red lips I’ve ever worn is the Covergirl Melting Pout Gel Liquid Lipstick in Tan-Gel-O! This lippie gives me the best of both worlds: high impact color like a lipstick and shine like a gloss.” — Jade Kendle, @LipsticknCurls

CoverGirl Colorlicious Melting Pout Liquid Lipstick, $8; ulta.com

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Coco Bassey, @cocobassey​​

“I’ve been obsessed with every product Pat McGrath puts out, and this red lipstick is no exception! It’s super flattering, and best of all, it’s moisturizing, too, so I can wear it comfortably all day.” — Coco Bassey, @cocobassey

Pat McGrath Labs Lip Lust 004 Kit in Vermillion Venom, $60; patmcgrath.com

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Temi Marie, @herday.ca​

“It’s so hard to find an orange-red lipstick that complements a dark complexion. Blue-tone red lipsticks are abundant to find, but this orange-red lipstick warms up your skin tone. I love how it complements my golden undertone. Plus, it’s vegan and you can use it as a blush too!” — Temi Marie, @herday.ca

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Cayenne, $26; sephora.com

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