Beauty

An Ode To The Absolute Perfect Red Liquid Lipstick

The Lip Bar's "Hot Mama" is indeed scorching.

The Lip Bar's "Hot Mama" vegan matte lipstick is the absolute perfect red.
The Lip Bar

I like to go bare. I’ve spent a lot of time combing beauty shelves for the perfect nude gloss: a delicate, translucent shade of brown that’s not too shiny or sticky. That’s not to say I’ve never indulged in the impulse to buy a bolder shade — I’d just always regret it halfway through the night as I worried about whether it was on my teeth or had slid off my lips.

Plus, growing up, I was told that dark girls weren’t “supposed to” wear bright makeup. Red lipstick? Definitely not. I even remember hearing the question of whether red lipstick was permitted for dark-skinned girls being posed on a radio segment when I was a teenager. One passionate woman called in to express her displeasure with the whole idea (the red lips, not the topic of conversation). For what it’s worth, I’ve always loved a white or neon green mani, but wearing bright lip colors has always been trickier for me to fully embrace. At least, that was the case until I discovered The Lip Bar’s Hot Mama liquid matte lipstick. I bought the tube of fiery red pigment initially to support a Black- and woman-owned brand and ended up falling in love at first swipe.

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First Up: The Basics

I’m a native Detroiter, and so not only was I geeked about supporting a Black-owned brand, but I was excited to spend my money with a local favorite. Fostered in the Motor City, The Lip Bar recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Ever since they launched, the beauty brand has remained steadfast in its commitment to being an inclusive brand that celebrates women of all skin tones and shades. Fun fact: I interviewed CEO Melissa Butler years ago, right after the investors on Shark Tank told her to quit. Her brand is now on the shelves of Targets and Walmarts across the country.

Along with vegan lip colors, the brand also offers easy-to-apply foundation sticks, blushes, bronzers, and more. But I’m really smitten with the Vegan Matte Liquid Lipstick. It applies like a juicy gloss but dries with the perfect velvety-matte finish that truly lasts. Besides Hot Mama, my beloved bold red, it comes in a variety of hues, including Playmate, a Barbie-esque pink; Boy Trouble, a neon orange; and Prima Donna, an electric purple.

Why I’m Obsessed

Whenever I preach about the red lip color that now gets whipped out practically every time I go out with friends, it always starts by me saying, “It’s literally the perfect red.” And it is. It works in whatever light I stumble into without ever being too dark or too orange. It sits in that beautiful place between bright and sultry, making it great for day or night, and it pops like a dream against my brown skin (take that, lady from the radio and all other doubters — myself included).

Since it contains hydrating jojoba seed oil, it goes on comfortably without drying out my pout, and it actually stays in place, which keeps my frustration safely at bay. Now, I won’t lie and tell you it’ll make it unscathed through a cheeseburger, fries, and a milkshake — but through sipping and snacking, the pigment holds up. And because it dries pretty much instantly, I don’t have to worry about it winding up on my teeth or that pesky spreading (you know when your lip color develops a mind of its own, actual lip line be damned).

The TL;DR

The Lip Bar’s Hot Mama liquid matte is the sassiest way to quiet anyone who suggests that a fiery red lip isn’t for everyone. If you’re sick of reapplying your lip color every 90 minutes and want to feel like you could conquer the world with a look and hair flip, you’ll want to snag a tube of this product, which comes courtesy of a brand that’s all about inclusivity and celebrating women of color. I’ll always be able to get behind a barely-there nude gloss, but this liquid matte has a special place in my heart.