Red lipstick is one of the only beauty staples that never ever goes off trend. Check out our pick of shiny and matte red lipsticks for your #1...
Having been seen in make-up bags and on dressing tables for decades, red lips are synonymous with timeless glamour and elegance, as well as adding serious (and easy) sass points. Not just for special occasions, red lipstick has filtered down into our day-to-day. Whether you’re disguising a hangover, or make that shift from day to night when you thought you'd get time to go home and change, a slick red lip can be a real game-changer - but choosing one is where it gets serious.
Consider your undertone. Everyone’s picked up that one shade that looks amazing on your best friend, but turns you into a pallid zombie. Skin with warm undertones suit anything leaning towards the sunset side of the colour wheel, and will rock orange-y and brick reds amazingly. If you suit colours that are cooler, then opt for true reds or blue-based reds. This red lipstick quiz will match you to the perfect shade in seconds.
Pick a formula. Nothing shows true pigment quite like a matte lip, but since the formula doesn’t reflect any light, any rough, uneven skin can be accentuated rather than disguised. Anything creamy and hydrating will sit comfortably, and avoid any crustiness come lunchtime. A sheer wash of red lends a hazy, poetic feel, or a lacquer-like gloss is perfect if you feel like embodying some high power.
Try them all. It’s pretty rare to find two shades of red that are exactly alike. Spend as much time as you can experimenting at beauty counters, pick up every shade in every formula, until you find one (or five) that give you a warm hug of confidence when you look in the mirror.
We know a good red when we see one, and we’ve racked up a few firm favourites over the years (and if you're still a little daunted, go more natural with a nude lipstick....
1. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick In Tell Laura
Everyone's gone bonkers about Charlotte Tilbury — and the hype is justified. We were all about the lipstick, with the smooth matte finish, and the Hot Lips range has some great colours. Our favourite is Tell Laura, an orangey red which is super flattering.
2. MAC Lipstick In Ruby Woo
MAC has an incredible range of lipstick shades, and Ruby Woo is probably the most famous red shade on the planet. It wins our Best Beauty Buys award for 'Best Red Lipstick' almost every year and is a fave with make-up artists.
3. Topshop Lips In Champion
Topshop have a great selection of fun reds, from orangey-reds and coral-reds to blue-toned reds like Champion. They're always loud, bright and fun, and particularly good if you're on a budget.
4. Tom Ford Lip Color In Cherry Lush
Yes they're expensive, but they're also pretty much the creme de la creme of lipsticks — moisturising (like, you can wear it all day without it drying out), luxe casing and high in pigment.
5. Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick
Kate Moss personally selected all the shades for the Rimmel collection and they're all winners. She told our beauty writer that this hot red shade (01) is her personal favourite.
6. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square
This is the perfect rorange (red-orange) - it flatters pretty much everyone, slicks on easily thanks to its pencil tip, and sits comfortably for hours.
7. Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy In 400
The Rouge Ecsasy texture is industry famous — gliding on to the skin like a dream, they're so velvety soft it feels like you're not wearing anything and instead of drying out your lips, they have an added moisturising balm. Win.
8. Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour
The deep reds in Chanel's Rouge Allure Velvet collection are so chic it's ridiculous. Pat into the centre of your lips for a more low-key blended pout.
9. Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy In Impassioned
Estee Lauder's Pure Color Envy range has really good colour pay back; the colour you see in the bullet is actually the colour you'll get on your lips. It smoothes on into a defined shape, with no need for lip liner, and it'll last all day. The magnetic close also avoids that annoying losing-your-lipstick-lid-in-your-bag thing.
10. Lola Matte Long Lasting
The Lola lipstick colours is rich and intense, as well as being seriously hard-wearing. A real high street gem.