“The shade of red that looks best on a woman generally corresponds to her skin tone, which absolutely dictates her best makeup shades,” explains NYC makeup artist Katey Denno. For example, a woman with natural auburn hair will likely have different undertones in her skin than a woman with fiery orange locks. The general rule for color: If you have pinkish undertones, opt for pink or blue-based red cheek and lip colors. Have yellowish undertones? You’re in luck, because you can rock those colors as well as orange and peach shades.
While redheads are encouraged to experiment with color (yes, a red lip works on a redhead), it’s important to be strategic not only with the colors you choose, but also with the placement. Focus on adding an intense pigment to one feature at a time. “Redheads should steer clear of too many competing colors,” says Maribeth Madron, a makeup artist and brow specialist in NYC. “You already have a beautiful palette — don't try to compete with it.”
A few guidelines for color: Take a risk and try a strong lip color like red, pink, or copper. When adding pops of color, keep the rest of your face simple by evening out your complexion and adding subtle definition. Coat your lashes with brown mascara, not black, and add brown liner to complete your look without making your eyes look too harsh. To avoid what Madron calls “bunny rabbit eyes,” make sure the shades of brown you choose have no reddish undertones.
When it comes to your skin, there’s one rule all redheads should follow, and it is this: If you have freckles, never, ever cover them. “Heavy foundation looks awful on redheads,” Madron says. Instead of using foundation, which can make your skin look older when piled on, try a sheer tinted moisturizer to even out your skin tone and let your freckles come through.
And, while an alabaster complexion is covetable, don’t be afraid to use bronzer. “A sheer, warm bronzer can bring out your eyes and show off the multi-tonal dimensions in your hair color wonderfully,” Denno explains. So, when it comes to breaking those long-standing (and totally unnecessary) "rules," you might just be better off red.
Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh