Vibrant scarlets, bold crimsons and ruby reds are the usual suspects of fall red lipstick lineups, but lips have gotten an upgrade this season with rich finishes and bold textures. “Red lips are so iconic – they’re not going away,” says Jane McKay, senior M.A.C pro makeup artist. “Red lips this season were either super-matte or really glossy – very little in between.”

So what to consider when you’re wearing red lipstick? Lip shape, skin tone and the finish that you want are key. Your lip shape determines the texture you should go for and your skin tone is the basis for the colour you pick, says McKay. “Thinner lips should stick to sheer textures to make their lips appear more full, while fuller lips can wear almost anything.” And remember the rules for colour: if you’re fair, go for blue and pink-based reds while olive or medium skin tones should layer on warmer, more orange-based reds. Really dark skins look great in berry-red tones.

There were five distinctive red lip looks that emerged for fall. Which red lipstick look is right for you?

Look #1: Neon Red

Seen at: Ralph Lauren and Jil Sander

Fire up your red lips with a matte scarlet pout. “The red this season is a stronger red – it’s definitely not a stained version. It’s bold, full-on colour,” she says. “A red lip is powerful when you find that pronounced, contoured edge,” she continues. “And that’s why I like to use a lip pencil to define the shape of the lip.”

To create this sharp red look from Jil Sander, makeup artist Peter Philips used Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick in Enthusiasm on all the models. “I traced the shapes of the lips with a pencil, and then layered on the lipstick with a brush,” says Philips. To get the most staying power, he then layered translucent powder on top of lipstick and powder on top of lipstick, he says. This results in a saturated, long-lasting colour.

Look #2: Glossy brick red

As seen at
: Gucci and Hermès

Juiced up, patent-glossy brick-hued lips shined on the runways with a very 1970s flair. Lacquered lips require a lot of attention, McKay reminds us. For a look like this, first use a lip pencil to shape the contours of the lip, and then apply the pencil all over the lip so the colour has something to stick to. “Applying lip gloss atop a pencil base will create a dimensional, glossy pucker,” she says. “I find the wax in the pencil will actually adhere to the lips longer than some lipsticks do. Therefore, you get a much more long-lasting look.”

More red lipstick trends to try this season on the next page…

Look #3: Pop art poppy lips

As seen at
: Diane Von Furstenberg

Vibrant red lips were the punctuation mark at Diane Von Furstenberg’s fall show (they were inspired by Warhol’s infamous lipstick prints). This playful poppy shade is a forgiving trend to wear since it’s blue-based red that really pops contrasted against pallid winter skin. Just remember to exfoliate lips (scrubbing them with a damp wash cloth will do) before applying such a daring hue since little lip flaws have nowhere to hide with such an attention-grabbing shade. After you swipe on colour from the tube, dab a hint of clear gloss in the centre of your pout. It will help make lips look fuller.

Look #4: Red velvet lips

As seen a
t: Giles and Altuzarra

Plush fabrics like velvet are hot for fall and many of the red lips we saw echoed their softness and rich texture. To get this look, first prep lips with a balm so that no dry spots are evident and lips get a silky smooth texture. Then, with a lip brush, apply colour, concentrated the density of colour in the centre of the lips for a truly lush look.

Look #5: Brown-based reds

As seen at
: DSquared2 and Brioni

The 1990s-inspired brown-based reds had a moment at DSquared (nostalgic for MAC Spice, anyone?). This time around, the reds are not too muddy, so they are actually flattering on most skin tones. What makes them more wearable is their finish: Opposed to some matte finishes that can leave your lips looking chalky, these have a satin-like finish, which are smooth and subtle.

Read more:
Fall beauty: Must-have blush
Beauty shop: Metallic eye essentials
Fall/Winter 2012 beauty trend report