Growing up, I remember being told by people that the one thing every woman needed in her makeup arsenal was a perfect red lipstick. After years on years of failed attempts and looking like a literal clown, I felt there was no perfect red for me – that is, until I learned the secrets of the trade. So for all my fellow beauty lovers out there who are just trying to learn how to find that perfect red for them (because trust me, you deserve it), follow my basic formula:

1. Find Your Undertone

When it comes to red lipsticks, there are some common undertones to look for. Depending on YOUR undertones (are you warm or cool toned? Does gold or silver look better on your skin?) certain undertones in the lipstick will look better on you than others. For reds, there are pink-based undertones, blue-based reds, orange-based reds, and what we call a "true" red. Usually, your undertones will determine what type of undertones you'll wear on your lips, however, I'm all for experimenting and finding your favorite shade that makes you feel like a #boss! I believe you should choose red lipsticks for different occasions, all with different undertones. That red lip for the NYE party? Different than the one you're sporting on that first date or out at brunch with your girls. My favorites are MAC's Ruby Woo, MAC's Chili (this is actually my favorite red lipstick ever) and Nars' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl.

2. Don't Count Out A Lip Liner

One of the biggest culprits for not pulling off a red lip is that it bleeds. To make sure your red lipstick doesn't, incorporate a lip liner. If you want to keep the shade true to its original color, try a red lip liner that's slightly darker and shape right around your lip and cupid's bow. If you're looking for more dimension, try a darker lip liner like MAC's Chestnut (or my favorite dupe, Wet 'n' Wild's lip liner in Chestnut) and fill in the corners of your mouth while still lining your cupid's bow and your bottom lip. It'll give your lip some dimension and also add a nice ombré to your look.

3. Pick Your Finish

The finish is the last shebang to all of this. Are you going for a matte look? Sheer? More of a lip gloss? The type of finish determines how your overall look turns out, and it's definitely going to determine the lipstick you end up purchasing. Ruby Woo, for instance, is EXTREMELY matte, so you'll need to make sure those puckers are super moisturized before putting it on. A sheer lip, such as the Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick in Icon, is much more moisturizing due to the formulation. There's matte, lusters, sheer finishes, tinted balms, and, of course, the trusted gloss.

What's your favorite kind of red lip? Tweet us @21Ninety and let us know!

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