Two known facts about a red lip: one, when done right, it is mighty powerful. And two, no two shades are ever the same. After a summer filled with bronzer and glowy sheens, it’s grounding to return to a deep, rouge matte. Red lipstick is the makeup equivalent of BDE, instantly pulling a look together with confidence.
This goes on like a gloss but dries matte. However, you’ll need to let it really dry for the color to set in place. It is greatly pigmented and will last throughout a workday, dinner, drinks, a night out – maybe even a cheeky morning after. Since it’s long-wear, you’ll want some gloss or salve to refresh dry lips periodically. The Lady Balls color is very 1950s classic Americana red, it could almost venture into Rockabilly status. Pro tip: use a lip brush to apply. Once this dries, it’s on.
I sufficiently streaked my arm with about 10 shades before landing on this gem. Unlike the Too Faced gloss, YSL is a lightweight gloss that marries the staying power of a stain. It won’t last as long as a stain, but it also won’t dry out your lips. A little will rub off on cups, but the stain element keeps lips in solid shape. I love the Rouche Gouache shade – a soft pinky red.
It’s bold and it’s vegan. This lipstick feels super nourishing when applying due to moisturizing shea butter, grapefruit peel oils, and coconut. There is something nice about having a vegan/eco-conscious brand on your mouth, especially when eating. However, this was an epic fail on the lunch test. I ended up with the dreaded ring of fire but was able to easily wipe off the excess on my lips. Still annoying. So this is a good option when you are able to touch up regularly or won’t be eating. The color is great and comes out in a lush matte.
I was quite keen to try out Bite Beauty after reading such stellar reviews online – it did not disappoint. It’s creamy, pigmented, and has just a touch of shine. I like the Tannin color for its cooler red tone, it feels like a good lipstick for autumn. Because it is pretty creamy, you’ll want a lip brush when applying and to remember to pack the brush for midday touch-ups. Bite Beauty is made with 12 edible oils and triple-milled pigments, which is richly distilled. With Tannin, it’s easy to layer on, but you might also want a little balm to rehydrate after 6 hours or so.
Limited Edition, pocket-sized, and supporting the Boys and Girls Club, I like the Naomi for being on the cooler red side, similar to Bite Beauty, but this one has a touch of plum. It feels luxurious, like Tom Ford himself and worth the splurge – even in the mini size. It’s creamy, smooth, and feels comfortable. It’s a buildable color, which doesn’t bode well for the price, but likely contributes to the ease of use. This is a #treatyoself lipstick.
Charlotte Tilbury is a queen. While not quite red, this is a darker berry, muted, and perfect for fall evenings. Creamy, not drying, and can last through a feast. I generally spaz out if I don’t have a chapstick on me at all times, but this lipstick actually hydrates while staying on.
Photo: Violet Grey