When it comes to classic makeup looks, a red lip tops the list every time. In fact, the crimson shade dates all the way back to ancient Egypt. Because of its lasting allure, red will never go out of style, and for that, we’re eternally grateful.
“I think a red lip is so empowering because it just exudes confidence and beauty,” says Grace Lee, lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York, who works with Adriana Lima, Gigi Hadid, and Emily DiDonato. “It can instantly [bring] your makeup from boring to fabulous. It’s a great way to make a statement.”
And when it comes to types, everyone has a favorite. Whether you’re into blue or orange undertones, liquid or bullet formulas, drugstore or prestige, there really is a red lipstick for every single makeup wearer on the planet. “My absolute favorite is Maybelline Color Sensational Made For All Lipstick in ‘Red For Me,'” says Lee. “It’s the perfect shade of red that looks good on every skin tone, and it’s perfectly matte but not overly drying or cakey looking.”
And as high-maintenance as it sometimes may be, it’s still a red carpet staple, which only goes to show the power of a good red.
Below, the 15 best red lipsticks to keep in your makeup stash.
1M.A.C Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick in “Ruby Woo”
Perhaps the most famous red of all time, it actually used to be Rihanna’s go-to shade, before she created her own (more on that below).
2 M.A.C Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in “Russian Red”
When it comes to M.A.C’s iconic reds, you’re either a Ruby Woo person or a Russian Red person.
3 Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance Lipstick in “Obsessed”
One of the newest additions on the list, Pat McGrath Labs’ matte red shade is quickly gaining a cult following.
4 Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in “Always Red”
Fun fact: this is the lipstick of choice for most Emirates flight attendants, who need to match their lipstick to the red accents in their uniforms.
5 Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color in “Uncensored”
Rihanna created a universal red that looks great on all skin tones, and we haven’t been the same since.
6 Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in “Red Carpet Red”
A comfortable matte, Charlotte Tilbury’s red has been worn by your favorite celebs, including Emma Roberts after the Oscars.
7 Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in “Cruella”
M.A.C. has its two red lipstick camps and so does Nars. Whether you’re a fan of Cruella or Dragon Girl, the matte lip pencils make for comfortable, all-day wear.
8 Maybelline Color Sensational Made For All Lipstick in “Red For Me”
Makeup artist Grace Lee’s red of choice, the Maybelline pick complements all skin tones.
9 ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in “Creeper”
One quick look at the reviews section on the Creeper page will tell you all you need to know about this fave.
10Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani Matte Lipstick in “400”
Say the number 400 to any Giorgio Armani Beauty fan and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about (and will probably gush over the shade with you).
11 Dior Rouge Dior Matte in “999”
Same goes for “999” and Dior fans.
12bareMinerals Statement Lip Matte Liquid Lipstick in “VIP”
Perhaps one of the lesser-known reds on this list, the bareMinerals liquid lipstick is comfortable, long-wearing, and not drying—at all. That’s a win in our books.
13 YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick in “Le Rouge”
One look at the mesmerizing campaign video starring Cara Delevingne, and you’ll see why we’re obsessed with this one.
14 NYX Cosmetics Liquid Suede Lippie Duo in “Kitten Heels”
The liquid lipstick and lip liner duo is an affordable, simply perfect shade of red.
15 CoverGirl Katy Kat Matte Lipstick in “Crimson Cat”
Katy Perry’s CoverGirl red has earned a permanent spot in our collection.