Makeup for Redheads: How to Be a Proper Redhead

Red hair can be very attractive, but you need to know which products to use to enhance your hairs flair. Read this article and learn how to be a redhead.

Whether your red locks came from your grandma or your hair stylist, they require special attention! While they might be stunning on their own, you still need to learn how to flatter them and we’ve got just what you need. Here’s the ultimate guide on how to choose makeup for redheads and rock red hair.

redhead makeup

Know your type

Red hair isn’t just red hair. It’s important to know what kind of redhead you are (and the answer isn’t feisty). There are three basic categories of red hair: red, purple and orange. Generally speaking, most natural redheads fall into the orange category. Of course, some natural redheads still get a little bottled help, so it’s totally possible you are a different type if you’ve used a hair color with a violet base or a true red toner.

This might seem like a minor difference, but it is important when you’re trying to choose complimentary tones, so figure out your type. Figuring out your type is the first step to finding flattering colors.

redhead makeup

MACARA for redheads

There is some debate over whether redheads look best with black or brown mascara. There is no right or wrong answer! The color that works best totally depends on you and the look that you are trying to achieve. Go for black if you want a more dramatic look or pick up a shade of brown for something more natural.

And don’t forget that there are plenty more tubes of mascara in the sea! You don’t need to always just choose between black and brown. There is a myriad of colors out there, so don’t limit yourself.

When it comes to flattering red hair, auburn should definitely be one of your top picks. By adding that touch of red to your lash, you can create a more dramatic yet natural look. It’s also incredibly flattering to blue and green eyes, which most natural redheads have.

redhead mascara

LIPSTICK for redheads

You’ve probably heard that redheads shouldn’t wear red lipstick. There is definitely some merit to that idea, but it’s definitely not a hard and fast rule of beauty.
If you have ever been lipstick shopping, you know that there is more than one shade of red. Just because you have red hair doesn’t mean that you should eliminate every single shade of red from your beauty arsenal.

The most important thing to remember is that your lipstick shouldn’t match your hair exactly. Remember when we talked about types of redheads? That was important. If you are an orange redhead, you’ll want to avoid lipsticks with an orange undertone. Likewise, ladies with blood red hair should stay away from fire engine red shades, while violet redheads won’t look their best with a plum lip.

So, you CAN wear red lipstick and look amazing in it, as long as it’s a different shade of red.

redhead lipstick

EYE SHADOW for redheads

The world of eye shadow is pretty wide open. Unlike mascara, choosing the right shade of eye shadow has way more to do with your eye color than your hair color.

If you’ve ever taken an Art 101 class, you know what the color wheel is. This is important knowledge even if you can’t paint a circle. Using complimentary colors can do everything for you, so save a pic of the color wheel and have a look next time you go shopping.

According to the theory of the wheel, green eyes look best with warm shades of purples, browns, and gold, so always look for the red undertone. Blue eyes will pop next to orange tones so look for shades of gold, copper and rust.

That said, you can wear any shade of eye shadow and look amazing. It’s all in the technique. If you want to go for something bold like black or true blue shadow, do a more subtle application. Since most redheads have vibrant hair and very light skin, it’s easy for makeup to overwhelm your face, so always aim for subdued color or a natural application.

redhead eyeshadow

EYEBROWS for redheads

As a general rule, you should aim to keep your eyebrows about one shade darker than your hair color, regardless of whether you’re a redhead, blonde or brunette.

It can be tricky to find the right eyebrow pencil and powder for a redhead, but it’s important. If you are an orange type, find a strawberry blonde shade. If you have a red or violet tone to your hair, you might be able to get away with brow fillers designed for brunettes, but it really just depends on how vibrant the red in your hair is. Once you find the right brow shade for you, stick with it!

redhead eyebrows

SKIN PREP for redheads

If you are a natural redhead, it is important to give your skin special attention. Redheads have thinner skin, which means more sensitivity, so you’ve got to take a few special precautions to prevent irritation. Of course, redheads tend to have freckles too, which aren’t always easy to work with as far as foundation goes. So, all things considered, here’s your best routine:

Step one: Use a gentle cleanser then follow up with a lotion or facial oil. Sensitive skin tends to be dry, and it’s better to stay ahead of the game with a daily moisturizer rather than waiting for dry patches to appear.

Step two: Apply SPF. Go for a spray, lotion or whatever type you prefer, but DO IT! It’s really important for redheads in particular, so don’t slack here.

Step three: Add a primer. A lot of women skip primer because it doesn’t do anything obvious, but it really makes a difference. Not only does it help gloss over wide pores, it also makes your makeup last twice as long.

Step four: Now you are ready for foundation. Stay far away from any foundations that have a red or pink toned base.

It’ll make your head look like one big red balloon. Look for foundations that have a yellow base. And added SPF protection is always a bonus.

redhead skin

NOTE: If you have a lot of freckles, avoid wearing foundation. When you cover freckles in foundation, they take on an odd coloring and it’ll ultimately just look like you’ve made a bad attempt to cover them up. If you want to flaunt your freckles, but get a little bit of coverage for uneven spots and blemishes, go for a powder. Mineral foundations are great or you can just add a loose powder over your concealer.

Step five: After you apply foundation, it’s time to grab the concealer. Because redheads have thinner skin, they are prone to uneven skin tones. This means that it’s especially important to use an under-eye concealer and cover up any red areas around your nose.

Step six: Once you have your foundation and/or concealer in place, go over it with a loose powder. Keep in mind that this isn’t just a randomly chosen order. If you apply concealer before your foundation, you’ll just end up smearing it around.

Of course, the point of the concealer is to cover particular spots, so it’s important to keep that as step two so that you can be precise. When it comes to loose power, it’s best to do that last because it’ll set your makeup and make it last longer.

SUN PROTECTION for redheads

redhead sun protection

Protecting your skin from the sun is incredibly important for redheads. Properly protecting your skin will make a massive difference in both long and short term, so stick with it!

Not applying sunscreen often enough is one of the biggest beauty blunders that we all make. BB creams and foundations with SPF are great, but they aren’t a cure-all. SPF only sticks with you for two hours. FULL STOP.

Whether you smear on a BB cream or bathe in sunblock, you will only have SPF protection for two hours. That means that you must reapply it. You need SPF when you’re lying out on the beach or kicking through the snow on a dreary January afternoon.

Obviously, SPF is a bit of a pain in the butt. None of us want to smear a messy lotion over our makeup every couple of hours. But there is an easier way! Enter powdered SPF. It’s a truly amazing product. Dry SPF powder will work exactly like normal pressed powder with the major added perk of protecting you from the sun.

FAUX GLOW for redheads

redhead tanning

If you absolutely must have that tan glow, do it right. Only use the “medium” shade, never the “dark” and don’t get lazy about it. Exfoliate your skin before you apply it. Use a tanning mitt to prevent those telltale hand tan lines. Most importantly, don’t go too cheap! While you don’t need the priciest self-tanner, it is important to get something of decent quality. Read reviews before you grab one from the shelf.

Bronzer is another great way to add a healthy glow to your skin. It’s lower commitment than self-tanner, which is a very good thing if you are still learning how to create that natural looking tan. The only trick to using bronzer is finding your natural sunny spots.

Want that natural “just came back from St. Tropez” look? Make a 3-shape on either side of your face. Just add a little matte bronzing powder to your brush then go over your forehead, cheekbone and jawline. See that? You just made the shape of a “3” with your brush. Repeat on the other side.

Finish your look by sweeping the bronzer down your nose. Now you have covered all the spots that the sun would naturally hit.

DOs AND DON’Ts for redheads


DO: Embrace your freckles. We all want what we haven’t got and there are women out there who would kill for your freckles. They are nearly impossible to hide anyway, so quit the battle and learn how to love them.

DON’T: Be afraid of red. Whether we are talking about a dress or lipstick, redheads can look amazing in red. Just remember that idea about redhead types and avoid matching the exact tone of your head.

DO: Go for peach blush. Pink blushes can overwhelm your face, while peach tones will typically sit more naturally with your natural coloring.

DON’T: Go crazy with the bronzing. It’s okay to wear bronzer, but keep it natural. Not only do naturally pale ladies look a bit odd when they are uber tan, but the typical bronzer isn’t a great shade for redheads. Think about it. If you have bronze hair, do you really want to cover your body in bronze powder? Avoid that statue look and embrace your natural skin color.

DO: Have fun with color. Just because your hair is a bright color doesn’t mean that you have to live in black and neutrals. Go bold. Wear anything that suits your personality and style rather than obsessing about hair.

DON’T: Forget about your eyebrows. Your brows make a much bigger difference than you might realize. They are the frames of your face and can majorly impact your overall look. Learn how to properly groom and style them. It is well worth the effort.

DO: Flaunt one feature at a time. This is a pretty standard rule of style. If you are wearing a low cut shirt, don’t pair it with a mini skirt. If you are going for cherry red lipstick, don’t do a smoky eye. This rule is especially important for redheads. Because red hair is so eye-catching, you don’t want to make both your lips and eyes compete for attention. Go for a dramatic eye look or a bold lip color, but not both.

DON’T: Neglect your locks. Whether your hair is naturally red or comes from a bottle, red hair tends to fade. Don’t let your color get washed out. Use shampoo and conditioner that is formulated for red hair and don’t be afraid of toners. A little boost of color can make a major difference to any shade. Even if you have never dyed your hair before, hair glosses and toners are well worth a try.

Don’t forget to check out the eyeliner Infographic we’ve made for you: How to Apply Eyeliner for Every Eye Shape.

About the author

Nicci Mende

I love to travel and learn style tips from other women around the globe. I like learning how to use natural oils and cosmetics made from local organic ingredients, like kohl and henna.

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