The Best Red Lipstick Looks for the Holidays

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The Ultimate Guide to Rocking Red Lipstick This Holiday Season

When the holidays roll around, there’s no beauty staple more iconic than the perfect red lipstick. It’s a festive classic that never goes out of style—versatile, bold, and the epitome of holiday cheer. Whether you’re attending a cozy family gathering, a posh company party, or a glamorous New Year’s Eve bash, a swipe of red on your lips can instantly elevate your look. The best red lipstick looks for the holidays are those that complement your skin tone, attire, and the event’s ambiance. From matte crimson shades to glossy cherry hues, there’s a red for every occasion. In this article, we’ll navigate through top tips on selecting and styling red lipstick, ensuring that your pout is perfectly dressed for any festive celebration.

Finding Your Perfect Red

Finding the right shade of red lipstick is crucial to creating your holiday look. For fair skin tones, a blue-based red lipstick can make your complexion pop while adding a touch of cool sophistication. Medium skin tones glow with warmer reds that have a hint of orange. Dark skin is beautifully complemented by deep, rich reds with blue or purple undertones. Remember that the finish of your lipstick can also affect how the color looks; a matte finish will give a bold, classic vibe, while a gloss can add a youthful, festive touch. Here’s how to find the best shade for your skin:

  1. Start by determining your skin’s undertone. Look at the veins in your wrist—if they’re blue or purple, you likely have cool undertones. If they’re greenish, you have warm undertones.
  2. Consider the occasion. Opt for a subtle, sheer red for daytime gatherings and a bolder, more saturated hue for evening events.
  3. Use your favorite outfits as a guide. If you gravitate towards certain colors in your holiday wardrobe, look for a red lipstick that pairs well with them.
  4. When in doubt, classic true reds are universally flattering and a safe bet for almost anyone.

The Matte Romance

Matte red lipsticks are the go-to for many makeup lovers seeking a timeless look with staying power. The lack of shine ensures that the color is the star and provides a velvety finish that’s both sophisticated and dramatic. For the ultimate matte lip, exfoliate your lips first to remove any flakiness. Apply a lip primer or a bit of foundation over your lips to create a neutral base, ensuring true color payoff. Line your lips with a red lip pencil to define your shape and prevent feathering. Finally, fill in your lips with your matte lipstick, using a lip brush for a precise application. For added longevity, blot with tissue and apply a second layer of lipstick. Here are some examples of stunning matte looks:

  • The Classic Hollywood: Pair a matte red lip with winged black eyeliner and understated eye makeup.
  • The Bold Minimalist: Keep the rest of your makeup bare—with just a touch of mascara and a flawless complexion—to let your matte pout stand center stage.
  • The Edgy Twist: For a modern take on the classic red, try a matte lip with an unconventional eye color like navy or forest green.

The Glossy Glamour

For those who prefer a dash of shine, glossy red lips are the epitome of festive glam. They reflect the twinkling lights of holiday décor and suggest a fun, playful mood. To achieve the ideal glossy red lip, start by hydrating your lips with balm. Then, apply a red lip liner to the entirety of your lips to provide a pigmented base. Swipe on your favorite glossy red lipstick or layer a clear or red-tinted gloss over a matte lipstick for extra dimension. The key to rocking a glossy lip is ensuring it stays put; look for long-wearing formulas and avoid overly sticky textures that can be uncomfortable and attract stray hair. Here’s how to wear them:

  • The Glittery Accent: For a unique twist, add a dab of gold glitter to the center of your lower lip over your gloss for a reflective effect.
  • The Ombre Lip: Use a darker red liner blended into a lighter glossy red center to create depth and fullness.
  • The Dewy Finish: Match your glossy lips with glowing skin by using a highlighter on your cheekbones, brow bones, and the bridge of your nose.
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Bold and Beautiful: Make Your Red Lip Last

To make your holiday red lip withstand hours of feasting, talking, and perhaps a mistletoe kiss or two, longevity is key. Start with clean, exfoliated lips for a smooth canvas. Apply a thin layer of lip balm for moisture, then a lip primer to reinforce staying power. After lining and filling your lips with liner, apply your red lipstick with a lip brush for precision. Here’s a fail-proof method for making that red last:

  1. Apply your lipstick, then blot with a tissue to remove excess oil and moisture.
  2. Place a tissue over your lips and lightly dust translucent powder through the tissue to set the color without dulling the finish.
  3. Add a final layer of lipstick to seal in the color. For extra insurance, consider using a product specifically designed to lock in lip color.

Accessorizing Your Lip Look

Accessorizing your red lip look is the final touch in perfecting your holiday style. Tailor your accessories to balance your outfit and the statement made by your bold lips. If you are wearing a high-neck or embellished outfit, you might choose subtle earrings and let your lips take the spotlight. On the flip side, a simple black dress paired with a statement necklace can complement a classic red lip beautifully. When selecting jewelry, consider both the color and the finish of your lipstick—a glossy red might go well with glittering jewelry, while a matte finish could be the perfect partner for more understated, elegant pieces. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Match metals with undertones: Silver jewelry typically pairs well with cool-toned red lipsticks, while gold complements warm tones.
  • Keep balance in mind: If your lip color is doing the talking, let other aspects of your makeup and accessories take a supporting role.
  • Remember your outfit: Ensure your lipstick shade does not clash with the colors or patterns of your holiday attire.


Red lipstick is a holiday classic for a reason—it’s versatile, glamorous, and fitting for any festive occasion. Whether you prefer a matte or glossy finish, the key is to find the shade and style that best suits your personality and your holiday wardrobe. By following these tips, you can ensure your red lip is the highlight of your holiday look. So this season, embrace the boldness of red and make a striking impression at every event you attend.


  1. What is the best way to apply red lipstick?
    The best way to apply red lipstick is to start with a clean, exfoliated, and moisturized base, use a lip liner to define your shape, and then fill in with lipstick using a lip brush for precision.
  2. How do I prevent my red lipstick from bleeding?
    To prevent your red lipstick from bleeding, use a good quality lip liner to outline and fill in your lips before applying lipstick, and consider using a lip primer or setting your lipstick with a light dusting of translucent powder.
  3. How can I make my red lipstick last longer?
    To make your red lipstick last longer, exfoliate and moisturize your lips, apply a lip primer, fill in your lips with lip liner, apply lipstick, blot, powder, and apply a final layer of lipstick.
  4. Can I pull off red lipstick with a casual outfit?
    Absolutely! Red lipstick can elevate a casual outfit and add a touch of elegance. Choose a softer, more sheer red for a casual look.
  5. What are some recommended red lipstick shades for fair skin?
    For fair skin, look for blue-based reds or true reds. Some recommended shades are ruby reds, cranberry, and pink-toned reds.

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