A red lipstick (or lip crayon, lip pencil or liquid lipstick – let’s not discriminate here) is probably my favourite make-up item of choice. While it may not be as useful as concealer or as subtle as a good mascara, it has impact; meaning, history, and glamour. Wearing a red lip is a ‘look at me’ statement, though it can also look understated, depending on how you work it.
One of my favourite ways to wear a red lip is with bare skin and just a little bit of a brow touch-up – maybe with a layer of mascara, if I want to push the boat out.
While my choice of formula or colour undertones (blue, pink, orange) may sway from time to time, there are a few reds that I always go back to. Here are the five reds I reach for every time:
For subtlety: Revlon’s Lip Butter in Candy Apple
If I want to wear a red lip that’s a little more low-key and won’t require constant reapplying, I turn to this trusty Lip Butter. I wrote a full review here when I first bought it, but suffice to say that Candy Apple is perfect for when you want a subtle hint of colour that isn’t drying on the lips.
For staying power: Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red
A recent purchase for me, Sephora’s 01 lip stain is legendary and one of the best liquid lipsticks I’ve tried. Not only is it a beautiful true, vintage pin-up red, it also doesn’t budge once applied. Bonus points for the fact that it doesn’t feel like you’re even wearing anything on your lips. Oh, and unlike some lip stains, it has staying power but also comes off easily with make-up remover (I like MERUMAYA’s Bi-Phase Plus Eye Make-Up Remover for removing liquid lipstick).
For ‘look at me’ lips: MAC’s matte finish lipstick in Ruby Woo
Does this lipstick need any introduction? It’s a blue-toned red that just makes the day that little bit better. Yes it can be drying (due to the super matte formula) but if you prep your lips ahead of time this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I like to apply two coats of this, blotting off the excess with a tissue between layers for extra staying power. Guaranteed to turn heads and garner compliments.
For an easy to wear red: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo
This liquid lipstick might look intimidating in the tube but trust me when I say it’s one of the easiest to wear reds I’ve ever tried. The colour is lighter and brighter than first impressions might suggest and the formula is soft and powdery, without feeling drying. I’ve tried several NYX Lip Creams and all of them do have a tendency to smudge easily, but it’s worth it for the intense colour and smooth application.
For fool-proof application: Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella
What is it that’s so satisfying about drawing on colour, particularly bold colour, with a lip crayon? The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils from Nars glide across the skin, pack a punch with pigmentation and are long lasting, too – what’s not to love? The shade Cruella is one of my favourites and is a deep, blood red shade that borders on burgundy. Perfect for nights out and for easy-peasy application.