The Best Red Lipsticks Review Swatches

The Red Lipstick Edit

The Holiday season is fast approaching and to me nothing screams glam Christmas party more than a golden eye look paired with a bold red lip. Some people might find it cliché but for me it’s a classic and classics ain’t clichés, right?

As you may know, I lurve me some dark burgundies, bright oranges, warm fuchsias and other crazy colors on the lips, but there is something about a classic red pout that makes it oh-so-special. I think that it’s interesting to note that the French, who might know a thing or two about beauty, use the same word, ‘rouge’, for both ‘red’ and ‘lipstick’. I guess that the actual reason behind this is that historically the first lipsticks were red, but still I like to use this little linguistic fact to support my idea that red is THE lipstick shade par excellence. OK, cheap etymology lesson over.

As you will notice, all of my favorite red lipsticks are matte or semi-matte. This is not only because I think they look better, but also because they’re easier to wear as they’re more long-lasting and less prone to bleeding and smudging than creamier options. So, even setting aside my personal aesthetic preferences, I think these qualities make mattes the best option when it comes to bold shades.

I personally find all the lipsticks featured in this post comfortable to wear and non-drying. To make sure any lipstick goes on smoothly and doesn’t cling to any dry patches, make sure you follow my simple lip care routine I talked about a while ago.

The Best Red Lipsticks Review SwatchesL to R: MAC Ruby Woo, Sephora Always Red, KIKO Luscious Red, NARS Dragon Girl, Tarte Fiery, Sephora Cranberry Luster, YSL Orange Imagine, Bourjois Hot Pepper

MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo: This cool-toned red is probably THE classic of all classics. Some people seem to find it drying, which makes me wonder if maybe MAC improved the formula recently. I got mine last summer and don’t find it drying at all. It does have a dry texture, so I have to apply it with a brush, but once it’s on it’s definitely not drying. I actually find it pretty comfortable to wear!

SEPHORA Lip Cream Stain in 01 Always Red: I was wearing this beautiful cool-toned red in my previous post paired with the NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Isolde. If you’re going to a Christmas party that involves food and drinking, this is the one you should opt for. It will last through a full meal (unless you eat something extremely oily) and won’t leave a mark on your glass.

KIKO Rebel Romantic Intensely Lavish Lip Pencil in 03 Luscious Red: I’ve already mentioned the Rebel Romantic lip pencils several times, so I won’t bore you once more. Check out my full review in case you’ve missed it!

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl: A pinky-red crayon that combines ease of use and an amazing formula that glides effortlessly on the lips. (Click here to see it in action)

As I said above, I find all of these products comfortable to wear, but if your lips tend to get dry no matter how you prep them, I think the next ones are better suited for you, as they’re not completely matte.

Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Fiery: This one is not as long-lasting as the other options and if you’re prone to bleeding I’d recommend using a clear liner around your lip contour. It’s a deeper red that I think looks very elegant and a little retro. It has a pretty strong minty scent that might not agree with everyone’s nose. (Click here if you want to see it on the lips)

SEPHORA Luster Matte in Cranberry Luster: Despite its name, this is not matte, but retains a strong luminosity even after it dries down. The deep red shade is very season-appropriate.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture The Mats in 201 Orange Imagine: If you like your reds to be warm-toned and want to treat yourself to something very, very special, this is definitely the one for you! You may read my full review and see lip swatches here.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in 03 Hot Pepper: Another orangey red, this time in liquid form. The consistency is different from your average liquid lipstick though, it almost feels like a gel and is not fully opaque in one swipe, but you can build it up. I think this one could please all those of you who normally don’t like wearing liquid lipsticks.

Have you ever tried any of these? Do you find them as comfortable to wear as I do? What are your favorite reds?

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  • Reply
    November 17, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    While I haven’t tried any of the ones you mentioned, I am a red lipstick girl by heart! A golden eye and red lips are festive and classic to me too and most likely what I will wear this year again.
    My favorite red is actually a lip crayon by Revlon. It says matte on the packaging, but it isn’t matte, more of a satiny finish.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    • Reply
      Carol in a
      November 18, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      I have a Revlon crayon that is one of the few nudes I own. It’s a good one!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Wow such a great post. There are so many gorgeous shades. Gemma xx

  • Reply
    November 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    These are such gorgeous red shades!! I love a great matte red lipstick

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

  • Reply
    Tiffany May
    November 17, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Must have the Cranberry Luster! All of these reds are so beautiful, its amazing how different they are. Great post!

    xo Tiffany |

    • Reply
      Carol in a
      November 18, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      You should totally give it a go, amazing formula and very pretty color!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    All this Lipstick Colours are so great :-*

  • Reply
    Luxe Toutou
    November 17, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Magnifique !
    Kiss, Léa

  • Reply
    Shireen L. Platt
    November 17, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I love my red lipsticks and only ventured into nudes last year. Ruby Woo is definitely one of my top 3 favourite reds.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  • Reply
    November 17, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Ah dry lips. Happens. I love my matte lipsticks despite that. bit of Lush lip scrub and plenty of lip balm & I’m sorted 🙂 I’m loving the reds though 🙂 great choices !!! D x

  • Reply
    A la folie.
    November 17, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in 03 Hot Pepper is my favourite. it stay all night long 😀

  • Reply
    Alina Kristi
    November 17, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Hey !
    I just found your website and I wanted to say that it’s really nice designed and I also love the quality of your photos !!
    And I also think red lips are always an good option to wear at christmas evening or new years eve :))

    • Reply
      Carol in a
      November 18, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you, I’m glad you like it!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    I haven’t tried any of these and after seeing this, I feel like I need red lip sticks in my life. I only have on or two. Always red looks beautiful on you and really suit your skin tone. I will probably check it when I visit Sephora, long lasting matte lipstick is always a winner!

    • Reply
      Carol in a
      November 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      Do check it out, it’s gorgeous! And it’s also affordable, which is always a plus! 😉

  • Reply
    Tee Joe
    November 18, 2015 at 1:56 am

    I love love love Ruby Woo. I may try the golden eye with the red lip stick this holiday season. When I do a red lip that is usually all I will do for fear of over doing it, but this sounds pretty. So cliche or not I am in!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Always, always MAC for me!

    Kisses from the Philippines!
    – Seyra

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Wow, you certainly have quite the collection of reds! The Cranberry Luster shade would have to be my favorite. Lovely reviews!
    xo Kiki

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Yes, red lipstick definitely has that wow factor that other colours don’t have:) My favourite shade is Russian Red by Mac, but I am always looking for new lipsticks to try. I am intrigued by Ruby Woo now:)


  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I haven’t tried any of the products you posted- thanks for making me crave more reds hehe! I’ve been wearing more reds this winter than I have before, and I love it! I’ve always been curious to try Sephora’s Lustre Matte Long Wear Lip Colours, got to add that to my loves list too!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I love these red lipsticks especially mac, nars and ysl 🙂


  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I haven’t managed to get hold of any of these shades! But I saw the Sephora Always Red being spoken about on another blog recently, and love the look of it. Especially on your beautiful swatches, where the shades look so pigmented. Red is definitely a colour that suits you, so I bet they all look gorgeous on you too.:) – My Autumn Matte Make-up Look

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Loving the Sephora shades..both of em… so bam on!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Ruby Woo, any time! I love your collection <3 Really want to give the Nars one a try.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    You have many red lipsticks! Love your collection! I especially like the Sephora Always Red.


  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    OMG…so many beautiful red lipsticks…..loved them all 🙂

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Kiko Luscious Red is beautiful, I bought it the other day and I’m thinking about buying another lipstick of that range haha. I also love the Maybelline Intense Velvet Lip Pencils, they’re creamy, easy to apply and not drying at all (Red Essential is gorgeous for this season).
    Have an amazing day, Carol! xx

  • Reply
    Wendee Isaacs
    November 18, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Nice review. Red lipstick is just sexy!!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    I love wearing matte lipstick as well. I’m always a fan of MAC lipstick because it last so long! Love the holidays and can’t wait to bring out all the red lipsticks I have!!


  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 12:40 am

    I don’t have Ruby Woo but my sister does, I have Russian Red. I have always wanted to try Ruby Woo but I have insanely dry lips so it’s not happening anytime soon, haha. I have the Sephora “Always Red” and I haven’t used it in a while, so I think you inspired me to put it on for Christmas parties. I also did test the Tarte Lip Surgences in Fiery and Lively, both of which I love! They are so creamy and they feel amazing!


  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Oooh what gorgeous reds! Have to say NARS Dragon Girl and Sephora Cranberry Luster have really grabbed my attention. Definitely need to be checking these shades out. Thanks for the recs!

    Anna xx

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Red lipstic is a must! Very beautyful shades, nice review.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I agree, golden eye and red lipstick is the ultimate Christmas season look! 🙂 <3 Love your selection, Ruby Woo and Luscious Red look really amazing! <3


  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    This is so helpful! Just when I thought I ought to get a red lipstick, this pops up!. As much as I love Ruby Woo I think I should get the Sephora one. Just for the er easy application.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    The YSL Orange Imagine is definitely my fave! <3

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    That’s a serious collection of reds! I love MAC’s Ruby Woo, it really is such a classic.

    Tiffany Tales – A British Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply
    kelsey bang
    November 19, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    such a fun post! so many beautiful shades of red!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Amazing review, per the usual. As for yourself preferring matte lipsticks, I always thought they were more drying but it looks like you disagree? Do you have any tips on how to keep mattes from drying or overnight tricks to naturally keep your lips more moisturized? Is water always the key? 🙂


    • Reply
      Carol in a
      November 20, 2015 at 9:56 am

      I do drink plenty of water, but actually I’m not sure it affects my skin or lips. My tip is to exfoliate and moisturize your lips every single day. I simply use my toothbrush to gently scrub my wet lips after I brush my teeth in the morning. Then I put on a lip balm and let it sink in for a few minutes while I do my makeup. By the time I’m ready for lipstick, my lips are nicely hydrated and smooth and they stay like that throughout the day. Also, when I’m not wearing lipstick I use lip balm several times a day and before I go to sleep. Hope this helps 😉

  • Reply
    November 19, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Amazing post dear! You have a wonderful blog:)
    What about following each other on Instagram, Bloglovin, Twitter?.. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 20, 2015 at 12:00 am

    I love a beautiful red lip in Winter! Love the NARS Dragon girl lipstick. Gorgeous post! xx

  • Reply
    Hanna Marie
    November 20, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    All those reds look gorgeous –Hanna Lei

    Latest Post: Fall / Autumn Bedroom Tour

  • Reply
    November 20, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Definitely a classic look that’s far from cliche!
    What gorgeous choices, I’ve always stuck by my trust Chanel red but I want to explore some more
    A girl can never have too many shades of rouge, right?

    What Raj Wants

  • Reply
    Adaleta Avdic
    November 22, 2015 at 5:22 am

    I adore this post & red lipstick in general is a HUGE weakness of mine. You wouldn’t believe how many red lipsticks I have! Thanks for sharing yours! xx,

  • Reply
    Chaste & Beautiful
    November 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    All sound and look good! I would really love to try that gooey Tarte lip crayon and Bourjois lip velvet. Great post

  • Reply
    November 24, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Very nice post, love red lipsticks! I wish to try velvet one 🙂

  • Reply
    December 4, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Im in love. So like red lips)

    Do you want follow each other?

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