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How to Find your PERFECT Bold Lip Color

Lipstick is EASILY my favorite cosmetic to play around with. I just love it. I love how it can be the main statement of an outfit that is otherwise just jeans and a tee. I also love that it can be such a subtle “background” type of makeup! The options are endless, and as someone who loves trying beauty products, I see lipstick as an enormous playground of options. But for many of you, as I’ve heard, finding a bold lip color can be quite daunting!

I think the default for many women is to want to find a signature red lipstick. It works for date night, it can work for the office, it can be playful and fun, or it can be serious and mature. Red is versatile, and I wanted to show you a few different red options that work on different skin tones and hair colors!

I asked Teighla Norris, a fantastic makeup artist in the Raleigh/Durham/Greensboro area to come and select red shades that worked on my beautiful models. All of these women were kind enough to take time out of a Thursday morning in April to come to the Leslie-Alford Mims House in Holly Springs, NC and be models as we found their signature red shade! It was such a fun shoot!

Let me first start off by showing you an example of a red that doesn’t work extremely well, and one that does.

For Rachel, this shade is a bit too orange. Can you see how it isn’t really complimenting the rest of her skin tone? Scroll down to the next photo to see a red that works better for her.

This shade, Bite’s Luminous Creme lipstick in Pomegranate, has a bit more blue in the undertone and works much better with her skin. It’s still bright and fun, but it doesn’t look like it’s separated from the rest of her makeup, like the orange-toned one did.

On Katie, who is fair skinned with light hair, we went with a classic red. This can work with pink or yellow undertones, and was definitely a statement!

Joanne has beautiful dark hair and more of a yellow skin tone, and we found that this deep red color looked beautiful on her. She could really pull off either a warm or a cool toned red, but we liked the slightly cooler tone from this color against her hair and skin!

Lauren has a yellow undertone to her skin as well so we chose a warm red for her.  Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Bawse is a strong color that she can pull off! Her eye color works with either tone as well!

For Melissa, I wanted to show an example of a red lip that isn’t an “in your face” red lip. Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Ruby is a burgundy red that works beautifully against her hair and skin. It’s red without being a serious statement, and a color like this would work perfectly in a professional setting.

So as a refresher, here is what each of the girls is wearing in the photos!

Another reason that these shades worked so easily on these women is they were wearing a neutral top as well. If you are going to wear a strong lip color, make sure you think about how it balances against your clothes. A bright orange top with a cool toned lipstick shade won’t work as well as something more neutral or cool in tone!

Huge thanks to Teighla for selecting gorgeous colors for these women, Jordan Maunder for the photos, and Mims House for letting us try on lipstick for a few hours at your beautiful venue!

Edited to add: I completely understand that there isn’t a wide variety of skin colors represented here. I placed a call for models and with a quick turn around and a mid-day shoot my options were a bit limited. I did have a model with a darker skin tone scheduled but she was unable to make it. So then we focused on pink or yellow skin tones, and showed a very pale, cool complexion and an olive toned complexion as well. 

My hope is to do more posts like these and I will continue to ask for models that represent all skin tones and hair colors! The models that were able to make it took time out of their days and did a fantastic job. It was a fun shoot and we’ll be doing more things like this in the future! 



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