Red is an iconic lipstick shade popularized by Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as modern stylistic luminaries, including Gwen Stefani and Taylor Swift. It’s a gorgeous, powerful statement color that can accentuate a little black dress as easily as it can complement your favorite jeans.

However, red can be a challenging color to pull off, so you must carefully select the right shade and apply it the right way. Follow these five tips and tricks, and you’ll be able to choose and rock the right red like a pro.

  1. Coordinate It with Your Skin Tone

It’s a myth that only a few lucky people can wear red lipstick. Actually, anyone can wear red. It’s just a matter of finding a shade of red that harmonizes with your skin tone. Hundreds of nuanced shades are available, and one will be ideal for your unique complexion.

Find out which lipstick is most flattering for you:

  • Fair complexion

If you have fair skin, pair it with blue-based reds or pink-based reds, such as wine and burgundy. You can also sport a classic red, such as Marilyn Monroe’s signature shade, for a vivid pop of color against porcelain skin.

Try Becca Ultimate Lipstick Love in Ruby, MAC Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, or Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in 69.

  • Yellow or Medium Complexion

Reds glowing with rich undertones of orange, gold, or apricot will flatter these skin tones by picking up their warm hues.

Try MAC Matte Lipstick in Mangrove, Becca Ultimate Lipstick Love in Scarlet, or Ulta Luxe Lipstick in Red Carpet Red.

  • Olive Complexion

If you have an olive complexion, you can sport a variety of red shades. Feeling sultry and seductive? Flaunt a maroon or berry-colored lip. Feeling more playful? Polish your pout with a gorgeous, tangerine-tinged red.

Try Ulta Luxe Lipstick in Red Flag, MAC Matte Lipstick in Red Rock, or Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Gash.

  • Deep Complexion

Ladies with deep complexions can achieve dazzling results with earthy reds. You can also be captivating in a golden-red or a blue-based red, such as wine or plum.

Try Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Pioneer, Clinique Dramatically Different Lipstick Shaping Lip Colour in Angel Red, or Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiery.

  1. Exfoliate Your Lips

Since such a highly pigmented shade looks prettiest on soft, flake-free lips, you’ll need to exfoliate them before coloring them. You can buy exfoliating scrubs at the drugstore, like the Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Scrub, or you can make your own with a few simple ingredients.

Mix sugar and honey, or sugar and petroleum jelly, gently massage into lips, rinse and pat dry. You can also remove flakes by carefully scrubbing your lips with a soft, damp toothbrush.

  1. Line Your Lips

A lip liner is crucial for a well-defined red lip that doesn’t feather or bleed. Red is such an attention-getter that it has to be lined with great accuracy. This means that it’s important to have matching liner and lipstick. Many cosmetic brands help take the guesswork out of matching them on your own by offering liner and lipstick in the same shade. Otherwise, use a shade that’s similar to your own lip color.

  1. Apply the Lipstick

After you’ve lined your lips, you’re ready to fill them in. Layering is another key to a great red lipstick look. Sweep the lipstick on, coating it with a sprinkling of powder, and add a final layer of lipstick. Red lipstick is infamous for migrating to pearly whites, so close your lips around your index finger and pull it out to blot any excess lipstick.

  1. Apply the Rest of Your Makeup

You’ll look garish, bordering on cartoonish, if you pair red lips with equally intense eye and cheek makeup. You’ll look much more polished if you pair a red pout with a subtle touch of mascara and neutral eye shadow, along with minimalist blush.

Red isn’t merely a color. It’s a statement. Let it do the talking for you by trying the five suggestions above.