HOW TO: Makeup For Red Hair

What’s so special about being a redhead? Everything!  Red Hair Rocks (period!) but it is not without its challenges with regards to makeup.

There’s no question about it, red hair is rare. It’s estimated that only about 2% of the world’s population has naturally red hair. So, being a rarity, how do you cope in a makeup world designed for blondes and brunettes?

Red hair is generally an awesome statement on its own. That “statement” may also be accompanied by paler skin and/or freckles (which we LOVE! don’t ever hate your freckles).

It can be difficult to find products that match your skin tone.  Freckles may cause your makeup to look less precise or even alter the color payoff.  Due to your fair skin, you might be prone to sunburn or carrying red tones in your skin. This is one of things to understand in order to play colors off of this fact.  Also, using a healthy sunscreen daily is super important!

You might also complain of lipsticks turning pink. This is where “blending” comes into play; I will hit on that later in this article.

Our test subject for this quick lesson is our very own Lindsey.  Lindsey is an employee here who honestly enjoys and loves her red hair.

In order to really showcase the true beauty of what can be done, we need to fully understand the “before” picture.



Meet Lindsey.

She had no idea it was coming.

She was simply instructed “come here, stand there, SMILE” and snap, the shutter released.

Zero makeup, freckles, hair straight out of a ponytail.

When we decided to create a “look” for Lindsey, we wanted one that could double as work, easy date, afternoon lunch with friends, not a lot of fuss and easy to maintain.  Nothing crazy, but elegant for sure.

Not only does Lindsey need to consider the appropriate colors for her skin tone and all of the other red hair issues you might complain of (or love about yourself) :) she also faces the normal challenges of any 32 year old woman.

I am going to show you the finished result first and then de-construct from the beginning.



Red Apple Lipstick’s Andrea developed the concept for this look.  She wanted an elegant, sunkissed look with little or no fuss.



She started with an all-over mineral foundation in a light beige color.

This particular foundation is a creamy mineral foundation in development here at Red Apple.  This product is not for sale yet, but we did want to show you the color tone that set the base.


She next handled all contouring with this mineral pressed blush.  This is also a product in development here but the important thing to note is the rich red / brown tone (and the sparkles are a fun addition)  NOW, when I took this photo, it came out a little “hot”.  That basically means the photo is slightly more rich in color than the actual product really is.  Only a tad :)



In order to achieve the “sunkissed” look, Andrea then used another of our mineral blushes in a much deeper red tone on the tops of Lindsey’s cheeks, nose and forehead.  This gives the appearance that Lindsey might have been in the sun recently, which is always such a fun, fresh, vibrant look.

SCROLL BACK up and study the after photo for a moment and you can easily pick it out now.




Eyebrows are a must! Lindsey’s brows were filled in with a very soft blond eye brow pencil (also a red apple development)

Next, she used our Eye Primer (still in development) all around her eye being sure to rub it in fully and smoothly.

Andrea started with Buttercream mineral eye shadow all over as a base.

Champagne was used in the inside corners and under outside.

Golden girl was used next on the lid.

Violet Vixen was used as the crease color

Espresso as an Eye Liner



To polish off the look, Andrea used a technique we refer to as “blending”.  It’s the simplest thing in the world to do AND it creates endless possibilities for color if you are using mineral lipsticks like Red Apple Lipsticks.

Blending is just that.  Blend two shades by placing one lipstick over another to create a custom color.


Andrea started with Sunkissed straight up!  This is a bright orange/red lipstick from our Summer Passion series (and it’s the writer’s personal favorite of the season :))

Knowing full well this orange was too “orange” for the hair color or the makeup set in general, Andrea made one pre-planned and quick move to set the color exactly where she wanted it to be.


To shift the color to her desired feel, Andrea then began placing thin layers of Berry Blast on top of Sunkissed using an inexpensive lipstick brush.  What we like about the brush at this point is two fold.  1) You won’t get Sunkissed on your Berry Blast and 2) you can precisely control the depth and pressure; therefore it is more easily controlled for a better, end color result. When using a brush, draw in light strokes from the line of your lip to the middle.


Here’s a quick reference for the colors used.  Click either to visit them :)


Finished Look


A FAT curling iron made these beautiful sweeping curls. Celebrity hair stylist Ken Paves recommends keeping your red strands silky and shiny as matte red hair can look dingy and brittle. Adapt this same philosophy for your makeup. Adding a subtle shine will give you a healthy glow and keep you from looking unbalanced.


There are many shades of red hair.  Remember to keep your makeup fairly light around your eyes. Anything with too much brown can look muddy or even dirty if you have freckled skin.

You want your skin to look vibrant and youthful!

Freckles are gorgeous, try to use a tinted moisturizer or pale powder instead of covering them up. This also evens out your complexion.

Heavy foundation can look like a mask, especially if your freckles are prominent on other parts of your body. Speaking of the rest of your body, extend your foundation to exposed chest.  The match in tone will look more natural.

When selecting an eye liner or mascara, go with a brown or black if you’re wanting a natural look. Purple is also a great color for both eye liner and eye shadow. If you opt for a bright color on your eyes, keep the lips neutral and vise versa to avoid the dreaded clown effect.

In the end, it’s all about what makes you comfortable! Play with colors and experiment, what works for one person may not work for someone else, but that’s half the fun!


  1. Lezlie says

    There are some great ideas in this article. I am not a true redhead, but my dad was a redhead, and I have the redheaded complexion. I consequently color my hair auburn because I feel it flatters my complexion. Some of the ideas about handling freckles and using lighter eye makeup were very helpful to me. Thank you so much, and I love the photographs!

  2. says

    Fabulous article! Being a redhead myself, I can certainly relate that the various shades of red being accompanied by various skin tones. I actually have no freckles, with a cool skin tone BUT is slightly yellowed some days to a health problem. I actually have several foundation shades to match my skin each day. I also wear both liquid and mineral, depending on my skin that day (dry, normal or oily). The colors you suggested are spot on too, and I SO embrace dark purples myself. I can wear just about anything EXCEPT royal or navy blue. Not a redhead’s favorite color. And her modified lipstick shade was SPOT ON! I’d wear them together in a heartbeat!
    Fabulous makeover! She looks great! Good job!!

  3. says

    Simply beautiful! A picture is worth a 1000 words and these pictures speak volumes. LOVE the makeover:D When’s it my turn? Let me know if you ever need someone to show off your products who’s in her very early, well I’m going to say, very, very late 40’s (I’ll lie just a bit):D

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