Sure, finding the perfect red may seem like an impossible task, but the general rule of lip is pale and dark complexions work well with reds containing cool, blue undertones, while olive and medium skin tones suit orange-based red lipsticks.
Need a little more help? Since the pandemic, some of the major beauty brands have really dialled-up their virtual try-on experiences and you can continue your quest for the perfect red lipstick from the comfort of your couch. Try MAC’s Virtual Try On, Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Makeup Mirror Try On, or Chanel’s Lipscanner, even if it’s just for a bit of fun.
Whatever the colour you opt for, if you love it and feel confident in it, a red lipstick will always look good. Here are five of the best…
Best Smudge-Proof Lipstick – Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red
Wearing a mask these days means you have to choose your red lipstick a little more carefully. This clever formulation by world-renowned make-up artist, Charlotte Tilbury, has all the comfort of a satin lipstick with the long-lasting convenience of a matte texture, so it won’t transfer or smudge when you remove your face covering. You can use it as more of a lip stain effect (try tapping it on your lips with your finger), or for more saturated colour, apply it from the bullet, which has a square tip to mimic the shape of a lip brush for better control. The colour itself is the perfect, universally flattering shade of red: not too warm, not too cool, just right.
Best For Making A Statement – Gucci Rouge à Lèvres Satin in Goldie Red 25
A bold lip colour such as this is perfect for any kind of occasion, and Gucci has managed to find the ideal red for all skin tones too. It’s designed to be layered, so you can wear one coat for a subtle slick of colour, and add another for more intensity. Either way, it does require neat edges, so use a lip pencil to trace the line a fraction outside the outer edges of your lips to enhance your natural shape. Fill in your lips with the pencil, then colour with the lipstick for serious staying power.
Best For Making Teeth Whiter – MAC Ruby Woo
It launched in 1999 and Ruby Woo is still MAC’s most iconic and best-selling lipstick shade. The ultimate bold, opaque, matte red, it’s blue-based pigment makes teeth whiter and brighter in seconds, plus, it looks flattering on everyone, especially dark skin tones. It’s sophisticated, powerful, and really attracts the eye with celebrity fans that include Tracee Ellis Ross, Taylor Swift, Christina Hendricks and Rita Ora. Rihanna was so obsessed, she made her own limited-edition version called Riri Woo in 2013. It sold out in three hours.
Best For A Soft Satin Finish – Chanel Rouge Coco Flash Lipstick in Amour
If you’re looking for a colour that feels weightless on your lips, then Chanel’s Coco Flash lipsticks are excellent. With a balmy texture, it provides a boost of colour without drying the lips, so perfect for mature skins. Infused with oils of mimosa, jojoba, and sunflower, the Rouge Coco Flash is a high-shine sheer lipstick with an ultra-slick and hydrating formulation. The Amour shade is a bright red that applies much sheerer and lighter than it appears in the tube.
Best For A Hint Of A Tint – Chantecaille Lip Tint Hydrating Balm in Madeira
If lipstick isn’t really your thing, start sheer and opt for a tinted balm or gloss instead of a block colour. Much easier to apply and wear than their creamy counterparts, tinted formulas such as this balm from Chantecaille are often extra hydrating, thanks to nourishing butters and waxes. This vermillion shade suits everyone, but its sheer formula means you can build the intensity as you like; simply opt for more or fewer layers, depending on how bold you want to go.
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