This month, it’s all about red — the color of passion and power. Whether you’re dressed in ruby, scarlet, poppy, cherry, tomato, paprika, claret, maroon or burgundy, “red always is an attention getter,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute. “There’s nothing quiet or soothing about it. It’s the color of high arousal and confidence.”
Whatever shade you choose, “the only thing that matters is that it’s vibrant,” says Joanna Schlip, celebrity makeup artist to Christina Applegate. “Even this season’s oxblood isn’t muddy, dark or tragic.” Shy about wearing red? Don’t be! You can make this dynamic color work for you with these tips from celebrity stylists and makeup artists:
Keep It in the Family
Any skin tone or hair color works with the color of love, as long as you stick with your skin’s undertone — either pinkish (cool) or yellow/olive (warm). To figure out what your undertone is, look at your inner wrist under a good light. If the skin has a pink or blue cast, you have a cool undertone; if it’s yellow or olive, it’s warm. Still not sure? Check your jewelry. “If silver is your best friend, you’re a cool tone. If you gravitate toward gold, you’re a warm tone,” says Pilar Steinborn, a CNN wardrobe stylist.
Cool-toned women look best in cool reds like cherry, racing-car red or wine. For warm complexions, look for tomato, rust, grenadine, mandarin or poppy.
Make a Perfect Match
The freshest approach to red in 2014 is to mix and match clothes in variations of colors within your palette, says Eiseman. “Reach into peachy variations of orange-red, or pinky colors with blue undertones for blue-reds such as wine.” Other good matches for a red dress, blouse or jeans include jet, chocolate, charcoal, camel, khaki, teal or turquoise — and you can’t go wrong with vermillion set against 2014’s trendy fuchsias and purples. “They’re a marriage made in heaven,” says Don O’Neill, the creative director behind Theia evening wear. “But avoid pairing red with green except at Christmas, or with blue unless it’s toned down with white or black.”
Accessorize for a Quieter Impact.
If you’re hesitant to wear such a confident color, limit it to accents, says Steinborn. “A red lip, patent belt or pony-hair shoe will make a black dress pop.”
Know How to Wear Red Lipstick
Want to pucker up in red? Keep the rest of your makeup simple. “You don’t want a dark eye with red lips — and use just a hint of blush,” says Schlip. “You’ll get all the color you need via your pout.”
If you’re also firing up your nails in red, use a different texture on your lips, says Nick Barose, makeup artist for 2014’s It Girl, Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave. “Wear a matte bold red on nails and a sheer red stain on your mouth.”
To make your lipstick stay on your lips (and not your coffee mug), exfoliate your lips first with a toothbrush, says Schlip. Moisturize with balm and blot with a tissue. Then try a homemade lip stain straight from the kitchen: Add a few drops of water to a teaspoon of powdered red Kool-Aid or Jell-O to make a paste, then apply to your lips with a cotton swab. Amp up the glamour — and avoid feathering — by filling in your lip next with liner. Finally, apply a long-wear lipstick or a gloss-matte hybrid “liquid lipstick” with a lip brush for the most precision. Blot with a tissue and reapply, without re-blotting.
Before heading out, check your teeth for smudges and pack a lip pencil, says Schlip. After all, this is the month of romance — and you never know when you might need a quick touch-up.
Michele Meyer is a freelance beauty, fashion and celeb writer for MORE, Travel + Leisure and USA WEEKEND. The former Allure and Lucky correspondent has also contributed to InStyle and Real Simple. She has previously contributed to Life & Beauty Weekly.