At this point in my life, I should have red lipstick tattooed on. I’ve been wearing it on the reg since I was fourteen and bought a tube of Clinique’s Deep Lacquer at my local Marshall Field’s. As soon as I put it on, I felt like myself. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the load of color on my lips; it felt perfectly natural. I don’t look like me if I’m not wearing it. It’s my security blanket, my trademark, my secret weapon and my number one confidence booster. I’m always tryin’ to spread the gospel of red lipstick.
Friends are often asking me to help find a red that suits them. There are many, many fantastic shades to choose from, but in my field research I’ve found a few that look great on everyone, no matter their coloring. Here are my top 6.
MAC Ruby Woo OR RiRi Woo.
Ruby Woo is a classic, perfect retro red and its limited-edition sister, designed by red lipstick aficionado Rihanna, is equally flawless. Ruby Woo is brighter, a Maraschino cherry, while RiRi Woo leans a bit deeper and bluer. Neither Woo sister is a shy, simpering wallflower.
NARS Heat Wave.
In contrast to the Woos, Heat Wave leans more orange than blue, which means if you’ve got a hint of olive to your complexion, you are going to look smashing in this shade. It works for those of us who are pink-cheeked, too.
Revlon Fire & Ice.
Fire & Ice is a classic; it’s been around since the ‘50s. And the best part is not the legend or the fact that your grandma probably had a tube when she was young, but that it’s about $6 at the drugstore. If you wanna feel like a movie star, Fire & Ice is the one for you.
MAC Viva Glam I.
I realize I’m recommending a lot of MAC, but as a certified lipstick queen I can wholeheartedly say their range is my favorite. I don’t know why it took me so long to purchase Viva Glam I because it is wonderful! The RuPaul campaign caught my eye, but the deep ruby red caught my heart. I think Rita Hayworth would pick Viva Glam I if she were alive today; it’s vampy and glamorous. Plus, every cent of the $15 you pay for a Viva Glam lipstick goes to people living with HIV/AIDS. I look good AND I feel good, which is the best way to wear a red lip.
Wet ‘n’ Wild Megalast Lip Color in Stoplight Red #911D.
Stoplight Red is what we lipstick folks call a “true red,” which means it leans neither cool and blue-based or warm and orange-based. It’s just red, pure and simple. And guess what? It’s $2.99. Wet ‘n Wild makes my favorite drugstore lipsticks because a) they’re cheap as hell and b) the colors are beautiful and last forever on your lips.
Make Up For Ever Moulin Rouge.
It’s too bad Baz Luhrmann released his film of the same name in 2001 instead of waiting for this color to launch, because it would’ve been perfect on Nicole Kidman’s Satine. Remember that red satin gown she wears when she’s singing on top of the elephant? This is the color she should’ve been rocking.
Are you a little intimidated by a loud red lip? Ease into it! Wear any of these shades blotted off like a stain, or try Revlon’s Lip Butters or Maybelline’s Color Whispers, which contain less pigment than a regular lipstick. I like Candy Apple from the Lip Butters line; it contains just enough color so your lips are tinted perfectly red, but it’s not nearly as vibrant as a lipstick would be.
If you really wanna wear a red lip but don’t know how to go about it, this list is a good place to begin. What’s your never-fail color? I want to know!