Red, White & Beautiful: Sparkle and shine with the best reds and blues for you
Classic red lips command attention and say all-American — but sometimes a bright wash of color on your face can have you screaming for help. When it comes to red lips, some women can be shy. Instead of holding back, search for the right red for your skin tone.
“Cherry reds look great on people with fair skin,” says Jocelyn Borkowski, a makeup expert at Sephora at Oak Park Mall. Bright reds can add a pop of polish and color without overwhelming light skin — think just-eaten popsicle, not hot red mess à la The Dark Knight.
Borkowski suggests fair-skinned gals try Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Stain in Fiery ($24, Sephora), a blue-based red infused with peppermint for a little pick-me-up. These colors have the popular “chubby stick” design, which is like an oversized lipstick crayon that makes application simple and foolproof.
“Tarte is great for women with sensitive skin — usually women who are fair,” Borkowski says of the natural cosmetics brand formulated without parabens, petrolatum, phthalates or synthetic fragrance, which can irritate skin.
Women with medium- and dark-tone skin also can benefit from Tarte’s collection of natural, high-pigment colors. Medium-tone skin looks ravishing in fire-engine reds and red-orange, while darker-skinned beauties make rich, burgundy reds look effortless. Try Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster in Fever ($24, Sephora), a red-orange for medium skin or Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Stain in Lust ($24, Sephora), a blue-based red for dark skin.
Amp up your pout with true lipsticks, as opposed to glosses or gloss/lipstick hybrids, which offer more staying power and opaque finish — which means getting the best red for your skin tone is even more important.
Make Up For Ever, a professional line formulated without parabens, is a high-performance brand used on the sets of shows such as 30 Rock and Gossip Girl. These lipsticks are not for the faint of heart; if you’re looking for high-impact, bold color that lasts, Make Up For Ever will be your new favorite line.
Fair-skinned beauties can look smashing in Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense #42 in Satin Vermilion Red ($19, Sephora), while medium-tone skin girls can pull off Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense #8 Matte Bright Red ($19, Sephora). Darker-skinned women’s skin stands out in Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense #44 Satin Brownish Red ($19, Sephora).
Also, try these lipstick picks for your skin tone from Sephora's brand, $12 each: fair, Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Hot Tango; medium, Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in The Red; and dark, Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Courtisane.
Burst of Blue
Offset your classic red lip with an edgy, modern blue mani. Unlike lip colors, nail colors are more flexible with any skin tone. Think of polish as an accessory rather than a cosmetic, and judge the color, look and feel based on your own aesthetic. There’s no time like summer to pull off bright, unconventional shades.
Trim and file your nails into a squoval shape (squared and oval) for the ultimate casual yet glam look, and paint on a few coats of patriotic blue to get the look of the season.
Here are our polish picks: Revlon Mysterious ($4.99, Ulta), a staple for your polish collection, this true blue is formaldehyde- and toluene-free and uber-inexpensive; Zoya Talula ($8, zoya.com), this intense, metallic, vegan-friendly polish looks great on all skin tones; Essie Aruba Blue ($8, Walgreens), DBP-, toluene- and formaldehyde-free, Essie’s practically a household name, and her frosty blue sapphire polish is like a gem on your fingertips.
A Little Extra Sparkle
Add a dash of delight to your fingertips with a glitter topcoat, or draw on your own stars and stripes with a white nail art pen. Look for Deborah Lippman, Glitter in the Air, $18, Nordstrom; butter LONDON, Frilly Knickers, $14, butterlondon.com; and Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen, White, $7.99, CVS.