The red lipstick is to beauty as the little black dress is to fashion. It is a classic that every woman should own. It is also a basic that comes in many versions, making it an exciting adventure to locate that perfect one to fit your makeup needs. To help your quest, here are two simple steps to finding your ideal match.

Step #1: Work With Your Skin Tone

Women with light skin tend to have blue undertones, which look best with shades of red that have an orange and coral cast. “They warm up the already cool tones of the skin,” says makeup artist Sara Glick. Try: L’Oréal’s Colour Riche Lipcolour in Volcanic 410.

If you have medium skin with yellow undertones, reach for red lipsticks that have a pink or cranberry hue. Try: L’Oreal Colour Riche Anti-Aging Serum in Cranberry.

If you have medium skin with olive undertones, true reds, such as NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, look splendid.

When your skin is dark, brown-based reds work their magic. Try: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in 44 – Satin Brownish Red.

Step #2:  Achieve Maximum Impact

Picking a red lipstick shade is only part of the fun. You also have many different finishes from which to choose and with which to experiment.

Stains, balms or glosses result in a more sheer application and wear for less time, whereas an emollient cream will last much longer and satin and matte reds will endure like iron.

For daytime red lips, choose a sheer lip gloss that is not too heavy or sticky. Try: Lancôme Color Fever Gloss in Molten. Conversely, satin and matte red lipsticks are great for nighttime, as they tend to create a more dramatic effect. Try: Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani Lipstick in 400.

For women who are getting used to wearing red lipstick, practice makes perfect. Apply your red of choice while you are spending time at home, where you can glance in the mirror and check the look and how it wears over time. The more used to the red you become, the more confident you will feel.

What is your favorite red lipstick?

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