Red lipstick…argubably the most defining cosmetic product on the planet since its inception back in ancient times when women would crush berries and apply the juice to their lips as a stain. Then in 1952 came Revlon’s famed Fire and Ice campaign that featured a fire engine (or affectionately referred to as “hooker red”) red lipstick with a matching nail polish arrived. Many, many articles have been written about the impact of red lipstick and in finding the right shade for you skin tone, as finding that perfect shade can be as daunting as discovering which foundation effortlessly gets your skin tone.
The red lipsticks that are listed below were either found by accident or by much trial and error. If you’re a makeup fiend, you may be determined to find a red that works since the color and how its worn is so iconic. Even today’s stars have made red lipstick their own with singer Gwen Stefani immediately coming to mind as an example. It seems like she never leaves the house without it, and lots of female celebrities turn to red when trying to achieve that ol’ Hollywood glamour, like Christina Aguilera during her Back to Basics phase, as well as Dita Von Teese, the always demure Sade, and punk rockers adore it as too, as they muss it up on cue when on stage or partying hard.
Red lipstick also conjures potent love it or hate it reactions. Whether soft or loud, it evokes something that expresses intensity and afterthoughts, and even for those that don’t wear it often occasionally call upon it for a jarring new appearance every so often. Even if you don’t wear a lot of makeup, if you ever have or only do for event purposes, having this specific color of lipstick on call is a must. And red lips aren’t just red anymore. They are bases to the formula that can be blue, orange-y/coral, and even rose or fuschia. Are all shades created equal for all skin tones? Yes and no. It all really depends on what you’re comfortable with. Some really like a orange-based red, while would prefer to just wear a completely different color all together if that’s the case. And there’s so many to hues within the shade of red to choose from, there’s a color for everyone and their comfort level. Then’s there’s texture. Like a creamy lipstick is more sensual especially when red, but a matte lipstick really gives an understated yet noticeable look that is more classic glam than trendy, but beware of matte formulas as most lipsticks aren’t made today in that matter, at first it can feel/look a bit chalky and rough, but you get used to it, and looking like you just stepped out of a Harper’s Bazaar from 1959 is pretty cool.
Below is a starting shortlist of what I consider to be some great red lipsticks to try if you haven’t already.
- M.A.C. Lipstick in Viva Glam I
- M.A.C. Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo
- M.A.C. Lipstick in MAC Red
- Cover Girl LipPerfection Lip Color in Tempt (355)
- Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Infrared Matte
- Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Grenadine
- L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Red Rhapsody (339) (possibly discontinued, or re-packaged)
- Wet ‘n Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Cherry Frost
For any readers out there that have suggestions of their own about great red lipsticks, leave the brand and color name as a comment and I’ll add them to the list for a future post on this topic (with your name credited)!