Best Universally Flattering Red Lipsticks For The Holidays
Because red is always a good idea
December is here and what is a better time to show off your best red pout? Being your trusted makeup aficionado (or simply put, a red lipstick hoarder), I have selected my top five picks so perfect for any holiday party. Oh, let me add - these are all universally flattering shades too. Curious to know more? Then please keep on scrolling.
Hot, bright red of your dreams
Reds are typically split into three main categories: warm-, neutral- and cool-toned. My favorite reds tend to have a multi-tonal aspect to them; something I find to be that extra bit flattering on all skin tones.
While everyone and their mother raves about Ruby Woo (don’t get me wrong – I love it too), I chose MAC Cosmetics Mangrove (18.50 USD; Made in Canada) as my number one red from the brand. It is a relatively new-ish color in their permanent range, described as “matte warm red”.
I find that Mangrove has that unique coral-meets red-meets bloody orange vibe to it. It instantly brightens any complexion, applies with ease and leans towards a creamy-matte, non-drying finish. I like that it has a touch of yellow in it, making it a happy red, which is particularly perfect for people with medium/olive skin tones. If you like the idea of bold lips, but want to test the red waters first, this could be a great gateway drug.
Lip Liner Match: MAC Cosmetics Redd
Electric red, anyone?
If you can’t stand matte lipsticks and would rather wear something just as pigmented, opaque, long-lasting BUT creamier instead – you have to get your hands on Laura Mercier Rouge Electrique (32 USD; Made in USA).
While the brand offers a ton of other reds as part of their Rouge Essentiel Collection (review and arm/lip swatches here), this juicy shade is my personal go-to. It is quite similar to the first lipstick, with Rouge Electrique being a deeper, true bright red version of the same tone. One of those colors that adds a red-carpet quality to even the simplest “liner, lashes and lipstick” look.
Being a creamy lipstick, this red will appear glossy on the lips (you can make it more satin by gently patting it down with a tissue). Formula is certainly quite rich and hydrating, where you might need a lip liner to secure it from moving or bleeding.
Lip Liner Match: MAC Cosmetics Redd
Red sunrise in a tube
Naturally, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include my most-used Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lipstick in the shade Velvet Morning (34 USD; Made in Italy).
This is the most explosive, fiery orange-red that I currently own. I am in love with its gorgeous semi-matte, velvet finish that literally turns your lips into smooth rose petals. What is even better - although it is 100% opaque and true to its vibrant color, you won’t ever feel this lipstick on your lips (like, at all). It is that airy and weightless.
More often than not, I use a clean lip brush to evenly coat and outline my lips, which helps me achieve that soft-focused, modern and editorial look. However, a good lip liner can take this baby to a whole new, Audrey Hepburn’s “Funny Face” level (review and swatches of all Lisa's reds here).
Lip Liner Match: Laura Mercier Red Velvet, MAC Cosmetics Redd (same undertones, but a touch darker – look spotless with this lipstick nevertheless).
Royal blood red
If you like your reds “cool”, then you will fall head over heels for Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in the shade Gazpacho (currently 6.50 USD; Made in Canada).
As you might have heard, the brand is reformulating their iconic lipstick formula to make it vegan for 2020. This is exactly why you are seeing so many amazing discounts and if you are able to spot Gazpacho at your nearest Sephora – put it into your basket, don’t even sleep on it!
While I am excited to see what Bite Beauty vegan line will be all about, I still highly (highly) recommend the original formula. Gazpacho has a fair amount of blue and pink in it, so perfect for making your lips bigger and teeth whiter. This is the creamiest lipstick on this list, but you can easily pat it down for more of a natural finish. The longevity on these is insane.
Lip Liner Match: Bite Beauty 078, Mac Cosmetics Cherry.
I saved the most mysterious red for last. Ladies and gentlemen please have a look at the most iconic Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick in the shade Elson (40 USD; Made in Italy).
This must be one of the best matte lipstick formulas out there and if you only want to splurge on a single true blue-red in your life, go for Elson. And when you run out, repurchase it over and over again. Elson was part of Pat’s very first lipstick release and still is one of her best creations to this day (not to be confused with its descendant Elson 2, an orange-red version).
If you ever feel like channeling your inner pin-up diva – this is the lipstick for you. More about these bad boys (swatches included) here.
P.S. between us – this is something Snow White would kill for.
Lip Liner Match: Mac Cosmetics Cherry.
Please click on images to zoom in
As always, all of my swatches are raw and unedited (no added saturation, brightness or anything like that- I only rely on natural daylight)
What do you guys think about this selection? Let's chat some more in the comments!
More online: sephora.com, nordstrom.com, lisaeldridge.com, bitebeauty.com
PR samples and purchased products; full disclaimer here