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The Best Lipstick Colors to Wear on a First Date, Relationship Experts Say

Feel your most confident by selecting a lipstick shade that matches your dating vibes.

You're almost done getting ready for a promising first date. The only thing missing is that perfect shade of lipstick to finish up your look, but you can't seem to decide on a color. Is your signature red lip too intense? Is your go-to nude lipstick too blah? Relationship experts and makeup artists say they're both great—it just depends on what you're going for. Keep reading to learn what they say are the best lipstick colors to wear on a first date, whether you want to look sultry, playful, or something in between.

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Best Lipstick Colors for a First Date

1. Bold red

red lips
LightFieldStudios / iStock

From Marilyn Monroe's iconic pout to Taylor Swift's signature 1989-era smile, a red lip is sure to make a statement.

"Red lipstick… symbolizes a strong woman unafraid to assert her feminity," explains Lisa Lawless, PhD, CEO of Holistic Wisdom. A bold red lip was a symbol of the 1900s suffragette movement and the lipstick choice during World War II when women took on the work of men who were fighting in the war, she points out.

When thinking about aesthetic attraction, Alana McKenzie Page, dating and intimacy coach and author of The Art of Feminine Seduction, says red lipstick "increases the facial contrast between your features and skin, which makes you glow and can make you appear more vital and vibrant."

This is backed by a 2012 International Journal of Psychological study which suggested red lips are universally appealing to men. The research found that women who were already perceived as being attractive were considered to be even more attractive when wearing this classic color.

One thing to keep in mind with a bright red lipstick, however, is that your date may feel hesitant to smooch you. "They are worried it will smudge, and they can be intimidated," says Aimee Carr, make-up artist and founder of Voodoo Makeup. "You might need to make the first move, giving your date the okay for a kiss!"

2. Nude

nude lips being applied
Prostock-Studio/ iStock

If a red lip feels too bold for you on a first date, you might want to try a subtle nude lipstick or a clear gloss.

Page says a nude lip gives off a sophisticated vibe and can help you appear more put together. And since it's a natural look, it can make you come off more approachable to your date.

Carr notes that another perk of this hue is that it can make your lips look fuller. "Nude shades can range from light to dark, and it's important to find one that complements your skin tone," she advises.

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3. Soft pink

blush pink lipstick

"If you're feeling flirty and bold about a date, pink is a great choice," Page says. She explains that pink lipstick can give you a "youthful, energetic look" and that it speaks to your playful side.

"It is a color associated with feminity and complements many skin tones," Lawless adds. "It provides a softening effect that can be psychologically calming and appealing."

As for which specific shade of pink you should wear on a first date, Carr thinks a soft pink hue is flattering and romantic. "It's a subtle yet flirty color that can make your lips look fuller, more inviting, and add a pop of color without being too overpowering."

4. Chocolate brown

Close up of a woman wearing brown lipstick and holding a chocolate bar up to her lips
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

When Kylie Jenner launched her lip kit with three brown shades, it ended up selling out in minutes. Carr says this color is subtle but also plays with the idea of desire.

Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, a stylist, designer, and influencer, suggests a chocolate brown for a sophisticated and glamorous look. "It's a bold and daring color that can add a touch of drama to your look, making it perfect for a night out or a special occasion."

If you feel your brown lipstick is a little too much, Carr recommends topping it with a nude pink lipstick or gloss for a "unique twist."

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5. Berry

A pretty young woman with black hair on a city street wearing burgundy red lipstick and shirt
Rido / Shutterstock

Berry-colored lipstick combines the playful, flirty vibes of pink with the boldness of red.

Malarkey says it's a "dramatic color that can create a sultry and mysterious look." She adds that it'll send the message on a first date that you're confident and empowered but still want to have fun.

Based on your skin tone, Carr says you can find a complementary berry shade ranging from light to dark.

Still stumped on what color lipstick to wear on your first date? Don't worry. "The most important consideration is choosing a lipstick shade that makes you feel confident about your appearance, which will translate into how you come across during the date," Lawless advises.