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10 red lipstick essentials for a perfect pout

Red is the most iconic of lip colors, made timeless by some of the world’s most famous women, from Marilyn Monroe to Margot Robbie. But going for a bold red lipstick requires prep and precise application – here’s what you need in your kit to guarantee it. By CHANELLE HO

Red hot
Fans of the flawless red-lip look include Australian influencer Nicole Warne (whose red pout perfectly complements her black lace top), Olivia Palermo (who wears it well with a crisp white shirt) and German model Caroline Daur

Best classic red: Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick - Carina’s Love

This vibrant and universally flattering lipstick comes in a buildable and soft-matte texture and creates a satin finish – plus, the square tip of the lipstick makes it easy to follow the shape of your lips. Remember to always line your lips before applying to avoid feathering.

Best matte lip: Christian Louboutin Beauty Velvet Matte Lip Colour - Diva

Most matte lipsticks feel drying on the lips (make sure you moisturize before), but this one is comfortable and creamy, gliding on smoothly, and doesn’t crack throughout the day, staying put for hours. The velvety matte finish makes lips look plump rather than parched.

Best lip pencil: Tom Ford Beauty Lip Sculptor - Dominate 13

The triangle-shaped tip of this lip pencil lets you line the lips precisely, with no feathering or bleeding. It’s double-sided with a square-tipped lip brush, so you can paint on the rest of your liner or touch up your lipstick with precision. It’ll quickly become a handbag essential.

Best organic lipstick: RMS Beauty Lip2cheek - Beloved

This diffuses softly into the cheeks for a subtle flush of color and doubles as a true-red lip tint. Fully organic and infused with coconut oil and rosehip oil, it really hydrates your lips and hides any signs of chapping.

Best red lipstick for fair skin tones: Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Lipstick - My Icon Is

If you have pink undertones to your skin, find a cool-toned red with hints of blue or purple instead of orange-y reds. We love the ultra-creamy texture of Hourglass’ formula – plus, the slim bullet is great for clutch bags and the refillable case means that you can swap it for any color of lipstick or just refill your favorite red.

Best red lipstick for olive skin tones: Kosas Lipstick - Thrillest

This warm crimson with orange undertones looks beautiful against warmer olive and medium skin tones. The formula is ultra-rich and deeply pigmented, so you’ll get impressive full coverage. Line lips first and blot the first layer of color off before applying the second to avoid feathering.

Best red lipstick for dark skin tones: Pat McGrath Labs LuxeTrance Lipstick - McGrath Muse

Brick or berry reds look incredible on darker skin tones, as do vibrant reds with blue undertones. This one from global makeup artist Pat McGrath is flattering on everyone but stands out especially on darker skin. You know it’s a great one when she’s named the lipstick after herself…

Best lip balm: By Terry Baume De Rose Nutri-Couleur - Cherry Bomb

If you prefer a subtler red for daytime, a tinted lip balm is the way to go. Loved by all beauty editors, By Terry’s Baume De Rose lip balm got its name for its nourishing and cashmere-like texture; when applied, this poppy red looks super-sheer and fresh.

Best lip gloss: Burberry Kisses Gloss - Military Red No.109

For high-impact glamour, layer a red lip gloss over your red lipstick. This Burberry formula doesn’t feel sticky and won’t transfer easily; make sure to apply it to the middle of your mouth and spread outwards (rather than all over the lips) to avoid gathering at the corners.

Best lip primer: Heir Atelier Lip Primer

It’s the one product you never knew you needed but, when it comes to red lips, a lip primer is non-negotiable. This one is your ideal antidote to feathering and fading. Better still, it locks in color and moisture. Try using it overnight as a lip mask for extra impact and deep nourishment.

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