Working with red paint can be problematic for some folks. There are lots of different ways to go about getting a nice "red" on your models, all you need to do is find the right technique for you.
When I posted pics of the Raven Guard squad I was working on recently, I was asked how I painted the red on their gun casings. I went to great pains to make sure my reds on those models did not get bright enough to evoke the dreaded "Christmas Tree effect."
The technique I used was one I developed while painting Space Hulk terminators and even further back with my Saim Hann force I did long ago.
If you're interested in seeing the history/evolution of the technique:
Here's the step by step for the Saim Hann technique.
Here's the step by step for the Space Hulk terminators.
In this case, I started again with a light grey basecoat over the areas that were to be red. I kept the area small as well. I used the red as more of an accent color. With the area based light grey (to keep the red from being too dark over the black), I added my layers of red.
It only takes two coats with the red I use when working over the light grey. It's a craft paint called Moroccan Red from Delta Ceramcoat. It's not that bright to start with so it allows me to push the red into the muted category or make it brighter depending on what color I use to highlight it with.
Two washes of the GW Baal Red turn the base red into a rich red color. One pass with Devlan Mud in the recessed areas adds some contrast and darkens the recessed areas.
I highlight just along the edges with a Terra Cotta color. It's a muted orange brown color that adds a nice highlight and keeps the overall look muted in this case.
If I'm just painting something like purity seals though, this is great since I can put it on over any base color, it only takes one pass and I can keep on working.
So if I were to try and explain to someone how to paint red, I might tell them to try and number of different techniques until they find one that they can do and gives them the results they're looking for. It all comes down to having a "formula."
It's taken me some time to figure out how I "paint red," but now that I have it down, I can try some new things and really fine tune my results.