The Best Red Lipsticks

I spent October playing with the reds in my lipstick collection, setting up a little personal challenge to wear every single one at least once. The purpose was to show a neglected part of my lipstick wardrobe more love. A nice side effect that came out of this challenge is that it helped me narrow down my collection to just a handful of options that I adore as opposed to being overwhelmed by too many choices. Let’s explore the cream of the crop, shall we?

This is the latest formula in the Giorgio Armani Beauty lip arsenal and it completely took me by surprise. It’s a very thin matte veil of colour that feels totally weightless on the lips without being drying. Even in colder weather when my lips tend to be high maintenance, this formula causes zero discomfort and wears beautifully all day. Rouge D’Armani Matte “Four Hundred” is a classic deep red that has just the right amount of blue undertone to make your teeth look whiter. I’ve owned this colour in different Giorgio Armani lip formulas in the past and this iteration has been my favourite. It’s so chic and totally scent-free, which is a nice change of pace.


Giorgio Armani

Lip Magnet Liquid Lipstick - Lip Vibes Collection 405 Vermillion

I refer to this colour as a “cozy red”. It has a gorgeous warm orange undertone without being too bright. Sadly it was not a permanent release - you might still be able to catch it at department store counters or at a discount if you’re in the UK (link here) but the colour was unique to my collection hence me keeping it around. Armani’s Lip Magnet is a comfortable lightweight liquid lipstick formula that is easy to apply straight out of the bottle without needing a lip brush or a lip liner. The finish is satin-matte. I didn’t find this to last as long as the Rouge D’Armani Matte lipstick formula on my lips but it still stayed on for a solid 4 hours before needing a post-lunch touchup. It’s also an unscented formula, hurray!

The colour “1” in YSL is akin to “400” in Armani - it’s the brand’s classic red and they offer the colour in most of their other lip formulas. It’s a perky bright classic red and I actually own this colour in their older Rouge Pur Couture formula as well but I prefer this one. Although heavily scented (it has a fruity mango scent), the YSL Tatouage Couture liquid lip formula is one of the best I’ve tried. It really does leave the most beautiful stain behind, and it is the most long wearing lip formula that I own. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable either, it’s totally weightless and the slanted applicator makes it a breeze to put on. No lip liner or lip brush needed!

MAC will always have a special place in my heart. It is what catapulted my love for makeup and the subtle vanilla scent of their lipsticks brings me right back to 2004 when I purchased my very first tube. Lady Danger makes me happy every time I put it on and it works well both in summer and winter. This matte lipstick formula doesn’t have the sophisticated glide of an Armani or YSL lipstick, but it’s a half the price and brings just as much joy - just make sure your lips are moisturized before application. MAC make many great reds but this red hot orange-red steals the show for me.

The vampiest lipstick I own! Oxblood gets me an insane amount of compliments every time I wear it and for some reason I rarely reach for it. It’s an intimidating colour for a nude lip addict like me but I’m trying to expand my horizons, people! The Liquid Lip Velvet formula from Burberry is the most creamy and hydrating matte lip formula I have ever tried. I didn’t even think it was possible for a matte lip formula to be hydrating but somehow Burberry have accomplished said task. Also totally scent free - hurray! The applicator is a classic doe-foot which makes spreading this creamy formula a little bit challenging, but it’s nothing that a little lip brush can’t fix. Burberry is one of the most underrated luxury beauty brands and one of my all time favourites.

Why does YSL have the longest lip product names? Alas, “Rouge Pur Couture The Slim” is the brand’s latest launch and it is chic AF. The packaging looks like a fancy lighter - it has a sleek long shape and the lipstick itself is square and angled. The shape is supposed to make application easier but in my personal experience, it makes things more difficult. I prefer just using a lip brush to get the colour on my lips but once it’s on, it’s lovely. It’s similar to the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution formula but with more pigment. It’s a bit more creamy than the Rouge D’Armani Matte formula, making it even more comfortable to wear if you have dry lips. It didn’t wear as well as the Armani but it still looked great - it just didn’t pass the “eating chili for lunch” test as well as Rouge D’Armani Matte did. The colour number 21 has replaced NARS Mysterious Red in my collection - they’re identical in colour but I prefer this formula over NARS.

A deep scarlet red that makes me feel like a badass. Cruella is the red lipstick that made me more confident in wearing red lipstick, and for that reason it will always have a place in my heart and my makeup collection. The NARS Matte Velvet Lip Pencil formula can get quite drying on my lips but I cannot fault their colour range - it’s perfection. It doesn’t have a scent either, it just smells like… pencil… if that makes any sense. It is a chubby pencil that you need to sharpen regularly - so it can get inconvenient when it gets down to be a short nub BUT that also means you can get a precise application without the need of lip liner. This red lipstick is autumn in a bottle and I adore it.

What’s your go-to red lipstick?