The Big Question: What’s the best red lipstick to suit Asian complexion?


It would be a miracle if you hadn’t noticed this season’s hot makeup trend, which is being sported by girls around Shoreditch as much as it is by the Hollywood Glitterati. What am I talking about? Red lipstick of course.

Blondes, brunettes, black and white – whatever their colouring, trendy girls are all rocking the red look.

gwenred christinared angered ditared friedared anothergirlred girlred

I want to ditch my neutral shades, at least for a while, and get in on the action too (!). But have never, ever been able to find a shade of red that suited my Asian / Pakistani complexion (medium skin tone, black hair, very very dark brown eyes), or one that didn’t make my not-particularly-big-lips look even smaller. My older sister looks completely hot in red (although she does have fairer skin and hair than me), so obviously I am doing something wrong.

For fun, I thought I would try out the Ask An Artist facilities available on the websites of MAC and Bobbi Brown, my two fave brands, to see if they could provide me with any general advice. I filled out the online form, which requested info about my colouring and style, and waited.

An artist from MAC called Danni got back to me the day after. Her advise was to choose a shade with blue undertones.

She said: “Red lipstick will look amazing! I have chosen a red lipstick with A blue tint, which will not only make your teeth appear whiter, but the colour stays a true red all day long!”

Danni suggested I try out a shade called Russian Red, which has an almost pink hint to it. She advised that I team this with a lip liner in a colour called Brick. For a glossy finish, she said I should try a product called Lustreglass in Venetian.

“I would advise preparing your lip first, keeping your lips well conditioned will ensure they look perfect and the lip colour stays on all day. Start with Prep and Prime Lip. This colour free lip base provides a smoothed out finish, focusing on moisturising the lips, refinish the shape and maintain the colour all day long. After applying, leave to set for one minute before lipstick application,” she advised.

“After priming your lips, use Brick lip liner. Make sure the pencil is sharp, follow the line of your lip shape and accentuate the cupids bow for a perfected pout. Blend the liner through the inside of your lips slightly by turning the pencil on its side. Use the #316 Lip Brush to apply your lipstick to give a clean, professional finish.”

1. Prep and Prime Lip, £10 2. Red Russian lipstick, £12.50 3. Brick lip pencil, £10 4. Venetian Lustreglass, £12.

M4XA mac-lipstick-in-russian-red4 M380 M49X

The following day a message from Bobbi Brown popped up in my inbox. Make-up artist Sarah said: “Red is definitely the on trend colour for lips this Autumn / Winter. When choosing your perfect shade of red it is all about matching your natural lip colour & your personal style.”

Her recommendation was to choose a lip colour and lip liner in a shade called Slopes, which on the website is described as a “flushed red”, and again has a pink tint.

Giving advice on how to apply it, she said: “Bobbi’s preferred technique for the lips is to apply lipstick first, and then use a pencil afterwards to add subtle definition. Applying the pencil after the lipstick allows it to blend more easily into the lipstick shade, so you don’t see an obvious, harsh ‘line’.

“The pencil is simply used to clean up the shape of the lips after the colour has been applied. Once the lipstick and pencil have been applied, you can then top with gloss to add a high shine and a modern finish.”

As an alternative she recommended Treatment Lip Shine SPF15 in Berry.

1. Slopes Lip Colour, 15.50 2. Slopes Lip Liner, £14 3. Berry Treatment Lip Shine SPF15, £17.

bobbi brown slopes slopes pencil berry treatment

So there you have it!

In Part 2, I’ll go and test these shades out.


Join in the conversation – I’d love to hear what you have to say!

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2 comments to The Big Question: What’s the best red lipstick to suit Asian complexion?

  • Bianca

    Hi. I have the same issue and wondered where to find the “part 2″ of you post to see what your results were? I´d love to try red lips on. Thx for the info

  • admin

    Hey Bianca
    I’m sorry to say I haven’t tested out the shades yet. But watch this space… hoping to get around to it soon x

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