Red lipstick is a makeup kit essential. With roots dating back to Ancient Egypt — Cleopatra herself was known to flaunt a red lip — the crimson shade is as relevant today as it was back then. And while other lipstick colors have captured our fleeting interest — nude, purple, pink — red will always have our hearts.
But let’s be honest: Red lipstick has many faces. Blue undertones, brown undertones, classic red, coral, mulberry, and cherry — the color options are endless. And finishes? Between the glosses, mattes, satins, creams and stains our heads are literally spinning with a merry-go-round of gorgeous red lippies. However, for the sake of keeping your makeup arsenal in check, we decided to break it down for you. First, see our tips for how to properly prep your lips for the red-lipstick life. Then, check out our picks for the best red lipsticks, ever.
Lip Care 101
Step #1: Exfoliate
Step #2: Moisturize
Step #3: Prime and Line
Step #4: Pick the RIGHT Red
This orangey-red lipstick is perfect for the babe who likes a warmer red lip. The consistency is creamy, and its staying power is impressive. For a truly flawless finish we recommend the matching lip liner. Luckily, Maybelline has a convenient lip kit so you can grab them as a pair.
Having trouble choosing just one red? NYX has a palette for that. This lip cream palette features six color coordinated shades ranging from blue-red to a deep crimson. You can wear them on their own or mix and match for a truly customizable shade.
The staying power of this lipstick is seriously impressive. We’ve done virtually everything with it on — from brushing our teeth to going to the gym. This blue-red (and slightly fuschia) shade is beautiful when applied and looks on great on a variety of skin tones.
For starters, we love the Liquid Suede formula. It’s super comfortable, completely opaque and wears well throughout the day. It comes in 24 fun shades, but Kitten Heels has definitely stolen our hearts. The bright red shade is slightly orange — particularly on olive and deep skin tones — and at $10, it is definitely one of the best red lipsticks money can buy.
You’ll be tempted to grab this lippie for the packaging alone — that’s how pretty this lipstick is. Created in partnership with iconic fashion house Balmain, this collection features 12 shades that range from comfortable, statement mattes to daring shimmery hues. Domination is one of our favorites, a true red lipstick that is comfortable and chic.
This blue-red lipstick is a godsend for anyone whose red lipstick always shows up as a weird shade of pink. This bright lipstick is bold, smooth, and looks good all day.
For the past few years, matte lipstick has reigned supreme, but shiny lips are definitely making a splashy comeback. This glossy, high-shine lipstick is ultra-moisturizing and feels amazing on your lips. Pro-tip! Use a lip liner underneath for truly popping color.
While we’re obsessed with bold, bright shades, we can’t resist a deep, vampy lip either. This creamy, matte lip from Maybelline is everything you’ve ever wanted in a lippie. This brown based red is perfect for those days you want to draw extra attention to your lips and at $9.99 a tube, it really doesn’t get any better than this.
This deep, brick red shade is pigmented, creamy and the staying power is pretty great. There’s a little surprise in the top (spoiler: It’s a lip primer), and at only $7 a tube you can grab one in every shade.