As someone who wears lipstick almost constantly, I tend to experience a lot of dryness — especially when I try to keep my lips a sexy shade of red. This year, I decided to test out a bunch of crimson lippies way before the weather got too cold. Lo and behold, I found 15 wintery red lipsticks that won't dry out your lips. My hunt began the moment the first leaf dropped, as soon as I saw pumpkins lining up at Starbucks demanding their celebrity status, and as soon as that first morning frost appeared on my lavender plant.
As StyleCaster reported, our lips are prone to chapping in the winter time because there's less humidity in the air than during the other seasons. While a sunny day may bring a little sunshine into your life, sun exposure can actually increase the likelihood of painfully, chapped lips — something I learned the hard way when I used to hit the slopes annually.
Applying lipstick on dry lips is like painting wood before it has been sanded. As Bustle's own Miki Hayes points out, this is one of the most common lipstick mistakes. You can create a healthy, moisturized environment for your favorite shades of lipstick when your lips are bare by using lip primer or balm. But if you're wearing red lipstick, all day every day, you're also going to need to find a winter red that won't aggravate the naturally drying situation on your lips.
Even though dryness was what I was trying to avoid in my experiment, I also considered factors like cost, list of ingredients, and vibrancy in my analysis. Since lip liner tends to have an even more drying effect, I went without for this experiment. Out of all the shades I tested, these 15 were my favorites.
Let's start with the color that had me feelin' myself for days: BITE Beauty's Amuse Bouche in Brick Red was long-lasting and kept my lips feeling moist even though they were dripped in a deep, matte rouge. Bite's lipstick is natural and gives a creamy feel on your lips without leaving them dry and cracked. Also, if you are in the Toronto area or a New Yorker, I highly recommend checking out the Lip Lab to make your own personalized lipstick.
Buxom's formula stayed on my lips for a full 12 hours, which meant I didn't have to eat my lipstick with my ramen. I tested the Crimson red and wanted to tattoo this color on my lips permanently. Also, props to Buxom for making their lippy paraben-free.
I'm a huge fan of Lime Crime lipstick. Their cruelty-free and vegan makeup warms my heart and gives me guilt-free pleasure as I drench my lips in these long-lasting colors. The length of time their lipstick lasts is both a blessing and a curse. Fortunately, after my first testing of Wicked, I made a lipstick remover and applied it with a Q-tip to even out my application. I cannot even express how much I wanted to make out with myself in this color. Also, my lipstick stayed on through a night of abundant drinks without a single reapplication.
Lime Crime also makes an excellent shade for fans of darker reds. Bloodmoon fulfilled all my gothy lip dreams.
M.A.C still holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the only brands that had a variety of reds that looked dope on my shade of brown skin back in my early makeup experimentation days. Ruby Woo was lightweight and very moisturizing; this was actually the first lipstick I tested in my experiment so my lips were hydrated all day with just a few applications needed. For those that don't like a super matte or heavily pigmented lipstick, this is a great winter red for casual days where you just need a lil red lipstick to make you feel like you have your sh*t together.
It didn't take more than a few minutes of wear to know there were some rich emollients in this lipstick, so I wasn't surprised that my lips felt incredibly moist all day. It's matte, it's pretty, and the ingredient combination of argan and castor oil will keep your lips as soft as a baby's. This was my first time trying Stila; I like the pigmentation of the lipstick where it's kind of like wearing a sunny day on your lips. It's a super fun color that lasted longer than I expected!
Kat Von D
This fiery red formula brought confidence and moisture to my lips. I was pleased to find that even without a liner the color didn't bleed, and I loved the way this hue looked on my skin tone. I did need a few reapplications throughout the day, but that wasn't a bad thing because removing my lipstick at the end of the night was effortless which meant I didn't have to add extra friction to my lips that could cause dryness.
I had to take a moment to make sure the ridiculously pretty packaging for this lipstick wouldn't affect my judgment about its amount of moisture. Then I had to take another moment to say "Excuse YOU" when I applied the rich, creamy pigment that definitely made my lips look naughty with hydration. Bare Minerals was one of the first natural brands I ever tried, but this was my first experience with their GEN NUDE formula. I loved that it went on thick and the color was great for literally any occasion. It also smells delicious.
I was super excited to try Ilia after I saw it on Beauty Lies Truth's list of clean lipsticks that are safe, free of chemicals, and affordable. On the day I tested Wild Child, my lips were feeling particularly dry and in desperate need of an exfoliate. This lipstick didn't cake after application, despite my major faux-pas of late night lip stick removal with a dry paper towel the evening prior. The color stayed for hours, but was easy to remove from my coffee cup. Most importantly this lipstick was like a fiery red medicine for my chapped lips.
I've been a fan of NYX makeup for a while, mostly because it's another makeup brand that started introducing wide ranges of products for various skin tones back when I desperately needed options. With a price tag of $7, this vibrant red is pretty hard to resist. The color wasn't as shockingly red as I thought it would be against my skin, but it ended up being great for playing with different shades of liner for contouring. The color stayed well and it came off easily, but not so easily that it ended up on anything other than my coffee cup.
NARS has been enriching my Instagram feed with beautiful, audacious lipsticks for some time now, so I was pretty excited to indulge in the creamy, devilish red of Rita. The red was the color of hell, if hell were filled with your favorite extravagances. I was pleasantly surprised that after a lip exfoliate my lips weren't exposed to dryness from the lipstick. It was as creamy as the description promised and the color was versatile enough to play with darker red liners and get a really amazing blood red effect.
Though it comes in packaging typically reserved for balms, this lip shine performs like a true lipstick and the shade will absolutely add some color to a grim, winter day. Since the formula is infused with coconut oil and cocoa butter, there was no dryness on these lips — in fact it actually seemed to heal some recent chapping that had started on my lips. Reapplying comes with most lip balms, but this lip shine didn't have me constantly touching-up my lips; I really only needed to reapply after eating.
At first, I wasn't sure if Meow was made for me. The color was lighter than most shades in my lipstick collection and the word Meow reminded me of my cat allergy. However, not only did this lipstick provide the long-lasting wear while keeping my lips safely moisturized, but the color was a total game changer.
I'm not even sure what I was doing with my life before this lipstick, but I can tell you what I was doing the first hour of wearing it. It started innocently enough with hundreds of selfies. Then I realized my lips looked too good for my hair, so that had to change. Then I had to change into an actual evening gown as I pranced around my house doing absolutely nothing, but being obsessed with myself. This color goes for days and, while it may not scream winter red in its tube, I promise you that once you put it on, your dreams will come true.
On the true red end of Winky Lux's color spectrum, Dirty Love has some orange undertones that I thoroughly enjoyed. The creamy texture went on smooth and stayed all day with no need for additional application — I was in "Dirty Love" for about eight hours before I begrudgingly took it off to wash my face.
All natural, organic, vegan: Yes, I love all those qualities in a lipstick, but when I found out this lipstick was handmade? I obviously had to try it out on my lips to believe it. For one thing, I was super impressed that it lasted about 12 hours without touch-up. I actually hesitated testing this lipstick in Northern NH, because it's undoubtedly colder than my home base in NY. With the dry air, I worried this homemade lipstick would be at a disadvantage, but I was actually lucky to have it on!
Now that you've gotten some lip-spiration, you can carry on with these winter shades of red without a touch of dryness.
Kristin Collins Jackson (16)