How To Find The Prettiest Red Lipstick To Suit Your Skin Tone

One lipstick maven reveals her tips on finding a lip shade to complement your complexion

From raspberry to orange to blue-based reds, here's how to find the right red lipstick shade for your unique skin tone. Photo / Babiche Martens

She put local lipsticks in the limelight when her eponymous collection first landed on shelves in 2008, but for lipstick designer Karen Murrell, her passion for pouts still burns bright.

Her line of no-nasties lipsticks has proven popular both here and abroad, with a range of shades inspired by New Zealand’s diverse flora and fauna. The most recent shade to be added to her coterie was Red Shimmer, a fun yet festive bullet of pohutukawa-inspired red, which launched late last year.

Beige, blush and buff aside, it’s been said that red is the new neutral in the line-up of lipsticks available today, and one that Karen adds is her favourite colour-family to work with.

READ: Get The Look: 4 Ways To Wear Impactful Red Lipstick 

“Possibly the most beautiful part of working with the colour red is the extensive variations to this shade. It provides a full spectrum of colour, from deep scarlet-red hues to bright, intense, almost blood-like shades,” she says.

While we agree that the lipstick shade that suits you best is the one you feel your most confident in, there are a few things to keep in mind when searching for a shade to flatter your complexion.

Left to right: Karen Murrell Lipstick in 10 Magenta Moon, $32; Kester Black First Date Lipstick, $45; Living Nature Lipstick in the shade Wild Fire #11, $33. Photos / Supplied

If you have a medium complexion, try: Raspberry reds.

Karen says: “If you have a medium complexion, you’re likely to tan a little in the sun and have a little more natural pigment in your skin. Those with medium complexions look great in bright raspberry reds.”

If you have a dark complexion, try: Orange-red tones.

Karen says: “If you have a darker complexion and you tan more easily when you’re in the sun, your skin looks phenomenal with a more orange red tone lip that really pops.”

If you have a fair complexion, try: Pink or blue-based reds.

Karen says: “Those with fair complexions burn easily in the sun and typically have more peach or pink tones in their skin. Fair complexions suit reds with a pink or blue base to them.”

From raspberry to orange to blue-based reds, here's how to find the right red lipstick shade for your unique skin tone. Photo / Babiche Martens

But if a swipe of punchy red feels too intimidating, Karen recommends trying a more diffused effect.

“Red lips look great on anyone. However, if you’d like to pare back the intensity of your red lip look, try only applying a small amount of the lipstick to your cupid’s bow on your upper lip directly from the canister and a little directly to the base of your lip. Then smudge or kiss your lips together to create a natural cover and seal the pigment,” Karen says.

READ: Get Reddy: The Best Red Lipsticks To See You Through Party Season 

Like experimenting with any kind of makeup, practice always makes perfect, Karen explains. “You will find as you become used to seeing yourself in the mirror with the red shade on the more lipstick you will want to apply — your red- wearing confidence will grow!”

Red-dy to try it yourself? Karen advises making your red lip last by using a lip liner in the same rouge hue for extra staying power. “To keep my red lipstick on, I simply outline my lip just inside my natural lip line and then feather inward,” she says.

STOCKISTS: Bobbi Brown and Dior from selected department stores; Karen Murrell from selected health stores, department stores and pharmacies, or online at; Living Nature from selected pharmacies, health stores and online at;; Sisley from

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New Zealand Herald

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