10 of the Best: Red Lipsticks
Red lipstick has a first-class qualification in elevating beauty looks. Once you've found a formula and colour that ticks all of your boxes, it's like the start of a beautiful friendship. Top tip: if your skin has a yellow undertone, look for warm red shades with a hint of orange; if your skin is more pink, a cool red with a blue hue will naturally suit you more. Whatever your preference when it comes to finish – matte or satin? Sheer or pigment-packed? – we've picked 10 of our favourites.
Best Blue Red Lipstick
Inspired by signature red-soled Louboutin shoes, the Velvet Matte Lip Colour Rouge Louboutin blue red lipstick is highly pigmented so it pops on every skin tone. A suede-like matte red, it’s enriched with natural oil and seed butters to nourish lips and prevent bleeding and flaking. The moisturising formula also ensures that the finish is luminous and jewel-like. The iconic vial is a sight to behold too – if you’re ever in need of a red-carpet worthy lipstick, this is it.
Best Deep Red Lipstick
A deep red lipstick that delivers punchy, cranberry toned colour in a single swipe, Rouge Hermès Matte Lipstick in Rouge H is a luxurious lipstick that’s fast becoming a cult classic. A sophisticated dark red lipstick with a touch of burgundy, the shade is inspired by leather created for the house of Hermès in 1925 – it’s timeless elegance in a (refillable) tube. The finish is buttery soft, and the angular tip of lipstick allows for precise application straight from the bullet.
Best Orange Red Lipstick
You may need sunglasses to apply the zingy, long lasting orange red MAC Love Me Liquid Lipcolour lipstick – as bright red lipsticks go, it’s a blinder. The velvety formula is infused with omega-rich argan, shea and coconut oils to condition lips throughout the day while an advanced polymer keeps colour in place for up to 12 hours. The arrowhead applicator makes light work of precision application, and the satin finish ensures that your lipstick never looks dry or chalky. All in all, yeah, it’s pretty fancy.
Best True Red Lipstick
A classic red lipstick with haute fashion heritage, Dior 999 harks back to the ‘9’ and ‘99’ lipsticks created for models to wear on Dior catwalks in the 1950s. The shades were combined to make the signature 999 red as we know it today and given that ‘9’ was Christian Dior’s lucky number, we’re dubbing it your lucky red lipstick. Available in an array of textures, this semi-matte take on a true red is a suits-everyone formula that’s as hydrating as it is dazzling. It’s the make-up equivalent of a crisp white shirt or perfect pair of jeans – a chic essential that deserves a top spot in your red lipstick wardrobe.
Best Cherry Red Lipstick
You no longer need to deliberate between the skincare benefits of a balm and the colour payoff of a traditional lipstick – the smartest formulations roll them into one. Gucci Rouge de Beauté Brillant Lipstick is a case in point. Hyaluronic acid helps the lips to conserve moisture, delivering an instant plumping effect, while a fusion of flower oils and fruit butters soothes and smooths. As for the hue? The sheer cherry red shade is nothing short of delicious. We’re talking head-turning vibrancy and an expensive looking sheen that won’t slip away into the night.
Best Berry Red Lipstick
With an unconventional square bullet, the YSL Rouge Pur Couture The Slim Matte ‘small but mighty’ lipstick is frankly futuristic. Bold red lipsticks almost always need to be partnered with a matching lip pencil to prevent colour from bleeding or migrating, but the sharp angles of the ‘slim’ negate the need for a separate pencil. The formula is high tech too. Blurring technology creates the appearance of fuller lips and means that lipstick doesn’t settle into fine lines as you wear it, plus the leather matte finish has a subtle luminosity. All in all, this allows a strong berry red lipstick such as this to be worn with even more confidence – it’s a make-up power move.
Best Brick Red Lipstick
A bestseller that truly sings (and stays put) for its supper, the Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Matte Lipstick is also a contender for the best red lipstick for blonde hair thanks to its warm undertones. Added pro-xylane, a collagen–boosting active ingredient derived from sugarcane, gives the formula serum-like properties for softer, healthier lips in the long-term. As for the short-term effects, expect buildable day-to-night colour that the likes of Marylin Monroe and Grace Kelly would certainly approve of.
Best Red Lipstick for Fair Skin
Cool blue toned red lipsticks suit fair skin down to the ground. They also happen to make teeth look whiter, which is handy if you’re overdue a trip to the hygienist. The Decorté AQ Lipstick in Bloom Red has a plumping effect that makes it the perfect red lipstick for thin lips (if you fancy a boost), and the blue toned shade makes pale skin look lively in an instant. It’s also incredibly easy to apply straight from the tube, so just the thing to reach for when speed is of the essence.
Best Red Lipstick for Olive Skin
Bond No9 lipsticks excel in the red lipstick department – Madison Avenue in particular ticks the box for the best red lipstick for medium skin tones. The warm, golden undertone makes olive skin look especially radiant and the creamy formula creates a modern satin finish. With a polished gold refillable case that mimics the brand’s coveted fragrance bottles and an all-vegan formulation, Bond No9 delivers a fresh twist on timeless red lipstick. Pop this in your bag for a daily swipe of decadence, and to pretend you’re on a first-class jaunt to New York.
Best Red Lipstick for Dark Skin
Named after some of the most inspirational women in the world, UOMA Beauty's Badass Matte Lipsticks are designed to make the wearer feel fierce. Speaking of which, Sade is quite literally an iconic option if you’re looking for a red lipstick for dark skin. Like the singer/songwriter herself, this lipstick is a seriously smooth operator and the shade mimics Sade’s signature bright red lipstick of choice. Vegan and moisturising, the formula is highly considered too. Just one stroke creates the kind of silky, fadeproof colour that’ll stand-up to solos and hot nights under lights. Or just...a clammy commute.
Beauty Secret: How to Identify Your Skin’s Undertones
Your skin’s undertones can hold the key to finding a red lipstick that’s uniquely ‘you’, but how to begin colour matching when there are so many hues to choose from? Bobbi Brown Senior Pro Artist, Warren Dowdall, has a nifty trick for nailing your undertones that bizarrely begins in your jewellery box.
“Many people are more attracted to either silver or gold jewellery because of the way it looks against their skin.”, says Dowdall. “If you wear gold, you’re more likely to have warm undertones. Silver tends to look more flattering on cooler undertones and if you have a neutral undertone, you look great in either.” If you go for gold, your skin most likely has a yellow undertone so warm red shades with a hint of orange will suit your best. If you steer towards silver chances are that your skin is more pink which means that a cool red with a blue hue will naturally suit you more. Neutral undertones? Paint the town red because anything goes.
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