By Dina Fierro

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick,” said Gwyneth Paltrow. One thing is for sure, from Marilyn Monroe to Dita Von Teese, red lips equate to glamour, power and undeniable sex appeal. Yet red remains an intimidating color for many women as choosing the right hue for your skin tone, hair color and personal style is absolutely essential.

“Red is color that everyone can wear,” says Giella, founder of the eponymous line of custom blend cosmetics. “It depends on the value (light to dark), undertone (cool or warm) and intensity (brightness or saturation) of the color.”


Giella goes on to explain that “red can be light or medium in value rather than typically perceived as dark. It can be muted with brown, or it can be golden. Based on your hair, eye and skin color, the correct shade of red can be determined. Also, the coverage level is important too. Red is great to wear as a sheer gloss or lipstick for just a hint of berry. Or coupled with a soft gold shimmer…” Giella thoughtfully provided Beauty News NYC readers with a handy-dandy clip and save chart; print it and take it straight to the cosmetics counter:

Pale – Olive Rosy Golden Dark
Blonde Light, clear red = Coral Clear vivid red = Claret Light, warm red = Ginger Medium red = Maroon
Red Light brown red = Paprika Medium vivid red = Rose Medium golden red = Cinnamon Medium brown red = Garnet
Brown Brown red = Cranberry Deep vivid red = Scarlet Deep golden red = Mango Deep, bright red = Burgundy
Black Jewel tone = Ruby Dark vivid red = Crimson High contrast golden red = Tomato Dark bright red = Cherry

If you’d prefer a chart-free shopping experience, visit or the brand’s custom blend counter at Henri Bendel to find the perfect red for you.

Two more can’t miss reds:

Pretty Girl’s Rich Girl is a true, cool toned, blue red. A perfect complement to dark hair and fair skin, it’s pure glamour when paired with a smoky eye for evening. Available at


On the other hand, Jemma Kidd Makeup School’s innovative Ultimate Lipstick Duo boasts chic black packaging with an uber emollient balm with apricot kernel oil and karite butter on one end of the dual sided tube and a warm, vivid, orange toned red on the other. Buy it at


Once you’ve nailed down the perfect red for you, make sure to apply it carefully. A clear lip liner paired with application with a high-quality lip brush like Vox’s #16 ( can help keep red lipstick within your natural lip line. Blot once with a tissue and lightly dust with a translucent powder to set and you’re ready for…anything.

Originally published February 2007
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