The 6 Best Red Lipsticks Of All Time
In a hypothetical hierarchy of cosmetics, I think it’s safe to say that red lipstick would sit confidently at the top. For thousands of years, people have gravitated toward the best red lipsticks of all time (and their ancient predecessors) for their confidence-boosting powers. The origins of red lipstick date back to 3,500 BC, when Sumerians crushed red-hued rocks to create pigments. Later, Cleopatra reigned supreme in a proto-red lipstick made of crushed insects. Later still, cultural icons like Marilyn Monroe helped transform this regal product into a makeup-bag mainstay for non-royal folks (albeit glamorous folks) like us.
Thanks to its legendary status, there are so many red lipsticks on the market right now. All of them boast slight variations in formula, undertone, finish, and staying power, and all of them claim to be the best. Though it's certainly a luxury to have so many options to choose from, this can also make it tricky to figure out which is the right red for you. But that's where this list of the (truly) best red lipsticks of all time comes in. Ahead, you'll find a wide range of formulas, whether you're looking for a long-lasting liquid or an affordable drugstore tube. But what they all have in common is that thousands of people swear by them — and I’m sure you will, too.
1. The Rasberry-Red Lipstick Your Mother (& Grandmother) Loved
Since its debut in 1952, Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow has been a makeup-bag staple for generations of red lip-lovers. And it’s remained a best-seller for good reason: Its neutral undertones work on virtually every skin tone, and the formula is spiked with moisturizing agave, moringa oil, and cupuaçu butter for a truly comfortable wear. Cherries in the Snow leans more raspberry-pink than fire-engine red, so this is a perfect starter shade if you're just dipping your toes in the vibrant red waters.
2. A Supermodel-Approved Cherry-Red Lipstick
Kate Moss has collaborated with Rimmel on lipstick collections for over a decade, but I’m loyal to Moss’s original line of Lasting Finish Lip Colors—especially 10, which is a classic, blue-toned cherry red. The formula feels buttery-smooth upon application, and its balm-like consistency is easily workable with your finger or a lip brush. The color dries matte, but retains just a hint of gloss for a lacquered look. Think of this under-$5 lipstick as an accessible dupe for MAC’s classic (and much pricier) Ruby Woo.
3. The Best True Red Liquid Lipstick
Since its (unoffical) endorsement by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso is a serious contender to become this generation’s Cherries in the Snow. All you need is one coat of this bold, fiery red to last you up to six hours (or more, according to reviewers). The liquid formula dries matte, but it won’t smudge if you layer a gloss over it if you prefer a shinier finish. Plus, it’s infused with vitamin E and avocado oil to keep your lips soft and hydrated, despite being a matte liquid.
4. The Best Brown-Red Liquid Lipstick
Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Liquid Lipstick in Dazed is a brown-toned red that dries almost immediately into a flawless, powdery matte finish. Despite its unparalleled color payoff, it feels lightweight on lips — you might even forget you're wearing it. The applicator has a slightly rounded doe-foot tip, which makes it easy to precisely trace your lip's contours. But perhaps the best thing about this lipstick is that it won't budge on its own, or even with water and a tissue. When you’re ready to take it off, use an oil-based cleanser or micellar water to dissolve the pigment, then scrub your lips gently with a washcloth to remove any residue.
5. The Best Hybrid-Formula Red Lipstick
The NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream's unique formula has a creamy, whipped-like texture, but it dries into a completely matte finish. It’s surprisingly long-lasting, too. I wore this lip cream to my sister’s wedding, and after about 20 hours of talking, drinking, eating, crying, and sweating on the dance floor, I only needed to reapply the color twice. Plus, the tube is small and weighs almost nothing, so it’s basically made to stash in your pocket or Lizzo-sized purse. The Soft Matte Lip Cream collection offers a range of highly pigmented shades, but go for Amsterdam if you’re looking for a bold, blue-toned red.
6. The Shiny Red Lipstick That Feels Like A Lip Balm
Lipstick Queen's Rear View Mirror Lip Lacquer deposits a subtle sheen, rather than the ultra-glossy, reflective finish you’d expect from the product name. That said, reviewers love the slim tube’s easy application and its creamy, hydrating, non-sticky consistency. The formulation may feel like a lip balm, but the color payoff is as intense as a traditional lipstick.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.