How To Find Your Perfect Red

Red can’t be ignored. It’s bold, confident, and beautiful on everyone. Even in the lab, red is the most powerful color. Studies have found that men find women more attractive in red, women find men more appealing in the color, and people even find pictures of themselves more attractive when they’re adorned in a crimson hue. 

Though red truly looks great on everyone, it’s important to find a red that works for you. To find your captivating crimson, you need to start with your undertone.

What Is An Undertone?

Whether your complexion is light, medium, dark, or anything in between, you have an undertone that influences how colors look on you. Ever see a lipstick that looks great on your friend, but less great on you? That’s the undertone in action!

How Do I Find My Undertone?

It’s easy! Go by the jewelry rule. The type of jewelry that looks most flattering, will tell you your undertone. In other words: 

  • Gold = Warm Undertone
  • Silver = Cool Undertone
  • Both = Neutral Undertone

Look through your jewelry box and you’ll find your undertone. If you still aren’t sure, try on a bit of silver or gold (it can just be the colors, you don’t have to raid Tiffany’s) and see what you like best. If they both look lovely, then you likely have a neutral undertone.

When it comes to red lipstick, knowing your undertone makes all the difference. With this information, now it’s easy to find your perfect red!

Lipstick Undertones or What’s A Blue-Red?

When it comes to red, most lipsticks have an undertone of their own. These can range wildly, but two types are the most important: orange and blue. 

Reds with orange hues look good on people with warm undertones. Red Hot Red is a great example of a bright red with a bit of an orange base. So, if you love gold and Marilyn Monroe - Red Hot Red is a sure bet.

Blue-toned reds are good for people with cool undertones. Though Forever Red may not seem very “blue,” it actually uses a bit of blue coloring in the formulation to give it that cool, bright hue. So, Forever Red would be ideal for people flaunting their silver jewels.

Other lipsticks may skew a bit pink, brown, or true red in the base, but the basic orange/blue (or warm/cool) distinction is a good way to guess if a color will work for you. 

Below, you can see how five different reds have a range of undertones, but still fall on the simple cool/warm spectrum.

If you have a neutral undertone - you’re in luck. Any shade will look wonderful!

Though knowing your undertone alone will help you find a wonderful red, here are some even more specific recommendations of our sensational scarlets.

For the Fairest of Them All (Literally)

If you have fair skin and a cool undertone, Victory Red can be a great pop of color. This is especially striking if you have dark hair, though it also looks lovely on blondes. 

For Light/Cool Skin Tones

If you have light skin and a cool undertone, try a raspberry shade like American Beauty. The berry tones warm up the skin while still giving an arresting red effect.

For Light-Medium/Warm Skin Tones

If you have light to medium skin with a warm undertone, try Blood Red. The tiniest hint of brown in the base makes the color flattering, while the dark hue makes it unique. It’s dramatic without being theatrical, perfect for a cozy fall date or a eye-catching office presentation.

For Medium/Warm Skin Tones

If you have a medium skin tone with an olive complexion, Forever Red will look stunning. The true red base brings out the golden tones of your skin while the deep hue has the bonus effect of making your teeth look whiter!

For Medium/Cool Skin Tones

For medium/cool friends, the Bésame original is your best bet. Bésame Red provides a beautiful pop of color while bringing out the natural glow of your skin. If your undertone falls more to the neutral side, Bésame Red immediately brightens the skin. The happy tone always brings a smile (and a compliment or two!).

For Dark/Cool Skin Tones

Lipstick with a brown undertone is generally not as flattering for Dark/Cool skin tones. Try deeper burgundy or berry shades, like Cherry Red. Though the effect is still vibrantly red, this slight berry base really make this hue pop against the skin.

For Dark/Warm Skin Tones

Noir Red is a dramatic, dark red that will look absolutely beautiful on Dark/Warm skin tones. The color is bold, yet the red base keeps it from looking overly goth or costume-y. 

Redheads Can Wear Red!

It’s a common myth that redheads can’t wear red. They just have to wear the right red. For those with auburn or copper locks, Red Hot Red almost always looks lovely — no matter your skin tone! The slight orange base go with your hair beautifully while accentuating the natural glow of your skin.

If You’re Still Not Sure

Bésame has a lot of lovely reds to choose from and if you can’t decide or aren’t quite sure what would work for you — don’t worry! We have an all purpose red that also happens to be our most popular color: Red Velvet.

Popularized by Hayley Atwell on Agent Carter, this neutral red isn’t too orange or too blue. It’s just right. Customers of every skin color, hair color, and undertone have loved Red Velvet and we’re sure you will, too!

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  • Sandra

    I’m almost 62…redhead through and through….yes, with freckles! Tough to find cosmetics that truly work for me, but when I found Gabriella’s several years back, (even before Agent Carter made her stuff popular), I’ve been buying hers’, and well, I love the longevity for wear and the custom shades that have classic beauty looks. However I still have a hard time convincing her that there’s more to redheads than just Carmine shade lipstick! Which I find isn’t even mentioned in this add above! I have naturally light/warm toned skin and even Gabriella herself suggested Carmine the first time I met her at her store in Burbank. I have used her cream base and powders but because of the freckles, it’s been tough to match, and they discontinued the cream base I was using! So now all I have is the powder. I love the quality of everything I can use in her line…just wish there was more warm toned products to choose from. P.S. Not every redhead can wear Red-Hot-Red lipstick, on me it’s just too dark, especially for day wear. More shades like Carmine, and more bases with warm undertones, PLEASE……

  • Janis Fitzgerald

    I am a fair-skin light blonde with a neutral skin tone, and I choose the color I wear based on what colors are in my clothing. I will choose Tango-Red for warm/orangy clothes, Besame Red goes with everything, and my newest acquisition is American Beauty and I love it. Besame lipstick is like the cherry on top of the cake – and once you start using it you just can’t stop – it’s a beautiful addiction :)

  • Nancy McKay

    What about women with salt and pepper hair. I’m fair skinned and hazel eyes.

  • Deidra Thomas

    Your lipsticks are gorgeous! I wish I could wear them but I’m allergic to beeswax, synthetic wax, and synthetic fragrances. Any chance you will come out with a vegan line of lipsticks?

  • Edith Reese

    Actually, it gets a little more complicated— I have fair to medium skin with blue undertones but a sallow overtone. My teeth are naturally slightly mottled and a little yellow. My best lipstick color is actually a mauve, but I can wear either an orange red or a blue red.

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