Best classic red
Named after Chinese actress Carina Lau, 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
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
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
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 for fair skin tones
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 for olive skin tones
This warm crimson 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 for dark skin tones
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
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
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.
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