I used to never wear red lipstick, I always kept one in my makeup collection just in case the mood would strike, but the poor lipstick would remain unused in the back of a drawer completely forgotten for months. You might be asking yourself why on earth would I own a red lipstick if I never used it, but the truth is I always wanted to be the person who would wear it out in the world without a second thought. Red lipstick has been an iconic shade for decades and the wearer has always had an undeniable glamour that I find so appealing. I’ve always wanted to be that girl, but as many of you know red lipstick is a commitment. You have to worry about how it might wear throughout the day, after your morning coffee, after lunch, and after many glasses of water. What if it might smudge in the most unappealing way and you have no idea until you make it home and you find the crazy mess staring back at you in the mirror. For years I crumpled in fear whenever I decided to forgo my worries and wear it in public, only to find that I’d chicken out by lunchtime and switch to an unassuming shade that is easy to maintain.
Yet starting a few months ago I began to wear red lipstick several times a week. It’s as if one day my forgotten lipstick hiding in the drawer no longer seemed terrifying, I started to see it simply as a lipstick, one that was perfect for my day. I don’t know what brought along this change in perspective; maybe it came with age, a boost in confidence, or maybe subconsciously I no longer give a fuck what other people think about the mess that my red lipstick might cause. No matter the source I am ecstatic that I have finally joined the ranks of the red lipstick wearers that I have long admired.
As I do with most of my passions, I began to obsess. Let’s just say my lone red lipstick is lonely no more. I have purchased many red lipsticks with various formulas since then and below I have listed my favorites for all of you who want to become a part of the red lipstick wearers.
My favorite red lipstick that I’ve tried is Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in Always Red ($14). This dries matte and will last through almost anything, and is definitely one of your best choices if you are looking for one that requires minimal maintenance throughout the day. As much as I love this product I can’t wear it often because it dries out my lips horribly. You might be thinking to yourself as I did that applying a lip balm before applying the lipstick would solve some of these issues, but unfortunately the lasting power decreases immensely and it becomes far easier to smudge.
Bite High Pigment Pencil in the shade Pomegranate ($24) is another one of my favorites. All Bite products are made with edible ingredients so you don’t have to worry about the chemicals you might accidentally consume while wearing their lipsticks. The High Pigment Pencils claim to be a long lasting matte formula, I find it to be far more moisturizing than most matte products making it more comfortable to wear. This is not a stain like the Sephora product but it does last longer than your average lipstick, but I do warn you to be mindful of smudging and be prepared to touch up throughout the day.
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in the shade Cruella ($26) is a matte lip pencil and with a deep red shade. This definitely lives up to it’s matte name but is still surprisingly comfortable to wear. The Velvet Matte Pencils last really well on the lips but will not stay put when you are eating food no matter how careful you are. You will also need to sharpen the pencil fairly regularly to keep the pencil sharp enough for easy application.
Chanel Rouge Allure in the shade 135 Enigmatique ($36) is a great everyday red lip color that feels nice on the lips and is quite versatile because it can be worn sheer or layered for a darker color. However this does need to reapplied regularly because it’s lasting power is minimal. Despite the lasting power being less than desirable this tends to be my everyday lip color during the fall and winter months because it is beautiful and feels luxurious.
OCC Matte Lip Tar in the shade Vintage ($18) is a liquid lipstick that dries matte on the lips, the packaging comes with a mini lip brush to make it easier to apply. Vintage is a great color if you want to try out the vampy lip trend because it is a deep burgundy shade that works well with my pale complexion. This lasts fairly well throughout the day but I like to have it on hand for touch ups because like most lipsticks it fades after eating.
From Left: Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red, Bite High Pigment Pencil in Pomegranate, Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, Chanel Rouge Allure in 135, OCC Lip Tar in Vintage