Let's get this out there right off the bat: Yes. You can pull off red lipstick. All it takes is the right shade and the confidence to rock it. But finding the right shade can be tricky and spendy if you end up buying a few before you find the right one.
Although I'm a firm believer that red is the best lipstick shade (who doesn't want their teeth looking whiter?) and most shades look good on just about anyone, I know some are still a little color shy, so here's a few tips to try out when you hit up the cosmetic counter.
First, there's a reason stores have testers. This doesn't mean you have to pick up the tube and slather it all over your lips, but most stores have disposable tools specifically for test application. If that's still too germy for you, apply a swipe on the back of your hand and hold it up next to your mouth, that'll give you a general idea of how it will look.
The next step is finding a shade that works best with your skin tone. If you’re unsure of what that means, you can try following this rule of thumb: Lighter skin, lighter color; darker skin, darker color. If you’re still unsure, ask your best friend or a pro at the store for her opinion. If she’s doing her job right, neither should lead you astray.
If you have fair skin:
Try starting with a shade with more coral undertones. Although the color may be bright and vibrant, you’ll at least avoid looking pale, washed out or vampire-ish. Left: NARS 'Heatwave', Right: Yves Saint Laurent 'Rouge Volupte' Lipstick in 'Extreme Coral'
If you have medium skin:
If you have dark skin:
Now if you’re still gun-shy, go for a sheer finish, as opposed to an opaque matte. If you dare settle on matte and want to finish it off with gloss, just dab a small amount in the middle of your bottom lip, then pat your lips together. This will give you shine without the attention of an overly glossed out kisser.