Lipstick can make you feel a lot of positive things—powerful, polished, put-together. But one negative thing it can make you feel is self-conscious over the brightness of your teeth. (Just me? Okay.) Why is it that some lip colors make your teeth feel sparkling white and some make your teeth feel less than their best?
To get to the bottom of this, I reached out to my dentist, Dustin Cohen of The Practice of Beverly Hills, to find out why. His explanation was actually quite simple: The key to making your teeth look whiter is all in the color's undertones. "All makeup colors are really based off three colors: blue, yellow, and red," Cohen explains. "Lipsticks that have more of a blue base will appear cooler in color, which is best for making your teeth look whiter. Blue will contrast and counteract the natural yellow tones of the teeth."
So what does the opposite and make your teeth look more yellow? "Lipsticks with a yellow component will appear warmer, and lipsticks with red undertones will be the warmest—not exactly what you want to reflect on your teeth. Teeth generally have colors like yellow in them already, so when you use a lipstick with a warm undertone, it will accentuate the yellow of your teeth."
Sounds easy enough, right? But how can you tell which products have a blue undertone? Just follow Cohen's advice: "In order to figure out whether the shades of lipstick you are trying to choose between have a cool blue undertone or a warmer undertone, rub some lipstick on the back of your hand or on a white tissue. If you compare the two shades side by side, you will be able to see which one is cooler in color. The one that is cooler is your winner! You can also compare the lipstick to something that is a true blue color and a true yellow color. If the lipstick blends better with the blue, then it will help to make your teeth appear brighter and whiter.”
Well, there you have it. The key to red lipstick that makes your teeth look whitest is actually blue. To make life a bit easier, I did the research for you on some of my favorite makeup brands and found the 15 best red lipsticks with cool undertones, each of which I've shopped out below for you. Here's to brighter teeth all around!