The Best Red Lipsticks

Woman smiling and wearing red lipstick.

Buying Guide for Red Lipsticks

Close-up shot of red lipsticks of different shades on white tabletop.

Why buy red lipstick?

Unlike other colors, red has typically been worn and associated with a bold power move. Icons such as Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I and II are just a few of many historical examples of women who wore red lipstick to signify their authority and high positions. So although red lipstick is a classic, it is a recurring trend that can never steer you wrong. And even if you think red may not be suited for you, there are a vast amount of shades and textures that you can experiment with to find the right one you feel confident in. Pop a bright shade on for a day in the office or a darker, more subdued shade for a date night.

What should you look for in red lipstick?

  • Shade/Skin Tone: When choosing a suitable red lipstick, there are no hard and fast rules—you can wear whichever shade you want. However, there are some valuable tips for finding a complementary shade to your skin tone. For deep skin tones, deeper reds and reds with blue undertones such as a wine or berry shade will really stand out. Those with olive skin can get away with more orange and yellow-based shades such as corals and poppies. Medium skin tones have way more versatility and can go for cool and warm reds. As for those with light to fair skin, cool reds like a cranberry shade or one that will complement the pink undertones of the skin will look the most flattering.
  • Finish/Pigment: Lipsticks can come in quite a number of finishes: matte, gloss, cream, and satin. Matte lipsticks are typically the finish that most people go for because of their long-lasting staying power and high color payoff. These usually have zero shine and provide a velvet texture on your lips. Glosses are the complete opposite, delivering hydration and shimmer with less pigmentation. However, they can give the illusion of fuller lips. Creams fall in between matte and gloss as far as color goes and apply smoothly. These may not have shimmer, but they deliver on pigmentation. Satin is the perfect combo of the previous three, making it a more malleable and shiny option that still provides ample color to the lips.
  • Form: The most common form of lipstick you see is the solid tube; however, there is also a liquid option. It truly boils down to your preference since both forms can come in all finishes and shades. Just think about if you’d rather swipe it on in one go with a solid or have an applicator that may be more forgiving with a liquid.

What are some tips to make your lipstick last all day?

If you have an all-day event that you need your lipstick to survive, then take heed of these simple steps. You’ll want to start with a thorough exfoliation to ensure a nice smooth base for your lipstick to adhere to. This can be as simple as a sugar scrub which will leave your lips hydrated and without any rough texture. Next, prime your lips with a primer or balm to create a tacky surface that will make the color last longer. After priming, outline your lips with a lip liner that’s similar in shade. This step will ensure the lipstick won’t bleed outside of the lines when you’re eating or drinking. Once you’ve swiped on your first coat of lipstick, take a tissue and gently blot. Then, apply another layer. This blot and repeat method gets the lipstick inside every crease of your lips for a richer, fuller look. Lastly, if you have a translucent powder on hand, simply dust some over the lips to really set the color in and keep it from moving.

Our Picks for the Best Red Lipsticks

Pros: It’s no wonder this lipstick has “sensational” in its name. Tried and tested on 50 different skin tones, it truly delivers a curated quality lip product. It comes in a matte finish, so you’ll have bold, long-lasting power for the entire day. It’s formulated with honey nectar, creating a non-drying, smooth application to leave you with soft lips with every swipe. Aside from the iconic red shade, there are a number of shades, from nude to pink to dark wine.

Cons: You may have to reapply it, as it does fade after a few hours.

Bottom Line: Throw this red lipstick in your bag when you need that instant revamp while you’re out. Even with its solid matte look, your lips will stay fully hydrated throughout the day.


Pros: For up to 16 hours, your lips can achieve a flawless, high-impact red look with Maybelline’s Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick. It delivers a smudge-free, matte finish while retaining strong pigment throughout the day or night. The unique doe foot applicator is comfortable on the lips and makes it easy to apply in one clean swipe. Depending on your taste, there are several shades of red that run deeper or brighter.

Cons: This may leave a dry yet tacky texture on your lips.

Bottom Line: If you’re in need of a lip product that doesn’t skimp on color saturation and staying power, this liquid lipstick is it. Worries of having to reapply or deal with weak color are at a minimum.


Pros: You don’t need to be a professional to use this matte lipstick, despite its name. It’s made with a creamy, rich hydrating formula that easily glides on and stays put even after hours of wear. It comes in a few red shades, so you can play up your look in several ways. NYX prides itself on being cruelty-free, so you’ll feel even more empowered to choose this product.

Cons: The colors may apply sheerer and lighter than expected.

Bottom Line: Rich in pigment and a plush feel, you’ll be reaching for this NYX red lipstick when you need that pop of color that won’t fail in hydration. Its shockingly smooth application and cruelty-free formula are both things you can feel confident about.


Pros: With up to 40 shades, rich pigmentation, and a cruelty-free formula, Milani’s lipstick truly does make a statement. It’s made with vitamins A and C to provide full moisture and a clean, smooth application. Whether you go for a minimal, natural look or a full-glam face of makeup, you can easily add one of these red lipsticks to elevate or match the style you desire.

Cons: It has a strong, perfume-like scent, which may be a turnoff for those who are sensitive to smell.

Bottom Line: If you want to experiment with deeper tones of red, these Color Statement lipsticks are a fabulous place to start. Even with a bold lip, you won’t get skimped out on plump hydration.


Pros: To achieve a fuller set of lips, it sometimes takes a bit more than lipstick; try adding a lip liner. With this set from GR Cosmetics, you can get just that. The formula is infused with vitamin E and avocado oil to leave your lips feeling smooth, hydrated, and supple without any tackiness. It’s known to be long-lasting and has a full-coverage application without worrying about transfer. Add the matching lip liner, and you’ll be good to go.

Cons: This product may stain your lips after trying to remove it.

Bottom Line: Eat, drink, sleep, and repeat with this lip liner and lipstick set. You can be confident that the final look you worked so hard to create will last you for hours.

Final Thoughts

A solid shade of red lipstick is reliable, timeless, and can take your final makeup look to the next level. In just a few simple swipes of your favorite shade, you’ll be put together in an instant with a boost of confidence that only a set of red lips can offer.

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