Lip service: The best red lipsticks to elevate your look

Ellie Goodman

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31 March 2022

Radiant reds for the perfect pout

"On a bad day, there is always lipstick" - Audrey Hepburn

31 March 2022 | Ellie Goodman | If you purchase something via our website, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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orget heavy-duty contouring and luminous highlighters. Move over graphic eyeliner and luscious lashes. When it comes to makeup, the only real power play worth your time is a red lipstick. Versatile and flattering, a carefully considered swipe of red has the ability to instantly imbue you with confidence, refine your makeup and truly take things up a notch. Whether matte or shiny, sheer or bold, there’s a perfect red lipstick for every pout – all you have to do is choose your shade.

How to choose the best red lipstick

Fortunately, when it comes to selecting your perfect shade there’s plenty of choice. From blue-toned hues to vibrant orangey reds, your favourite luxury beauty brands have something to suit every skin colour. The first step is to determine your skin’s undertone as this will dictate which shades will be the most flattering. Generally, those with cooler undertones should opt for reds with blue bases, while those with warm skin tones should go for orange and brick-based reds.

 
 

How to wear a red lip

The best thing about red lipstick is its versatility: whether you’re running errands or out on date night, a red lip has the power to instantly elevate your look. The general rule for wearing red lips is to leave makeup minimal elsewhere to prevent looking overdone – so no neon eyeshadow or OTT blush – though there are some exceptions to this rule.

Worn with a bare face – comme les Français – a red lip provides the perfect pop of colour for a low-maintenance look. Make yours matte and pair with a classic cat eye and bold brows to evoke Old Hollywood glamour, or try blotting your lip colour with your fingers to soften the edges for a laidback, worn-in approach. To up the ante, prep with a coordinating lip liner then finish with a clear gloss to leave your lips looking luscious and defined. Not into high-octane makeup? Opt for a balm or tint with sheer coverage for a (nearly) natural shade that is much more subtle.

From nourishing balms with the lightest of coverage and grab-and-go bullets, to stay-all-day liquid lips and matte-finish kits, there’s a red for every occasion. Luckily, Luxury London has done the legwork for you: here’s our guide to the best red lipsticks to achieve the perfect pout.

Armani Beauty Lip Power

This satin-finish lipstick is formulated with a blend of nourishing oils for an intense, long-lasting colour that feels as though you’re wearing nothing at all. Bright and bold, this neutral red will suit a plethora of skin tones, both fair and deep.

Armani Beauty Lip Power Vivid Colour longwear lipstick, shade 300, £32.50, harveynichols.com

 
 

Carolina Herrera The Lip Liquid

Striking and intense, Carolina Herrera’s velvet-finish liquid lip in shade 580, Orange Affair, is ideal for warm undertones and looks particularly striking on darker skin colours. Ultra-pigmented and moisturising, this vegan, waterproof and smudge-resistant formula dries instantly and promises to last up to 12 hours. To truly make it your own, choose from three gold, animal-embellished caps: the lucky beetle, the turtle and the lioness.

Carolina Herrera The Lip Liquid Velvet, shade 580 Orange Affair, £24, harveynichols.com

Chanel Rouge Allure L’Extrait

Chanel’s refillable Rouge Allure L’Extrait delivers highly-concentrated colour, nourishment and light-reflecting shine for a radiant red. Shade 854 is a rich, blue-based rouge, ideal for cooler skin tones of any shade, adding a touch of sophistication with its bold satin finish.

Chanel Rouge Allure L’Extrait, shade 854, £46, chanel.com

 
 

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution

Charlotte Tilbury’s ruby red lipstick takes inspiration from the starlets of Old Hollywood. Infused with achiote (AKA the lipstick tree) and orchid extracts that nourish the lips, this cult formula contains glowing 3D pigments for a bold matte finish that looks tailor-made for the red carpet.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick, Red Carpet Red, £25, spacenk.com

Dior Addict

Infused with jasmine floral wax and natural oils for all-day moisture, Dior Addict delivers punchy, high-gloss colour for up to six hours without budging or smudging. A bold, cherry red, shade 745, Re(d)volution, will complement a wide range of skin tones, both warm and cool. Complete with a chic refillable case, this iconic upside-down lipstick is as unique to you as your makeup is.

Dior Addict Shine refillable lipstick, shade 745 Re(d)volution, £33, harveynichols.com

 
 

Fenty Beauty Stunna 

Fenty Beauty’s Stunna liquid lip paint delivers high-impact, long-wearing colour in just one stroke, sitting smoothly on the lips without bleeding or feathering. Chosen for its universally flattering undertones – Fenty is focused on ensuring all skin tones are equally represented in the beauty sphere – and soft-matte finish, Uncensored is the ideal, wearable red for all.

Fenty Stunna Lip Paint, Uncensored, £22, harveynichols.com

MAC Retro Matte

Beloved by makeup artists, drag queens and supermodels alike, Mac’s Ruby Woo is the cult favourite that put the brand on the map. A vivid blue-red with a true matte finish, this durable, buildable formula is perfect for achieving a retro, fade-proof pout.

Mac Retro Matte Lipstick, Ruby Woo, £18.50, maccosmetics.com

 
 

Nars Audacious

Packed full of naturally nourishing ingredients, this high-impact, velvet-finish lipstick delivers bold, full coverage colour in just one stroke. A vivid orange-red, Lana is the ideal shade for vibrant summer looks.

Nars Audacious Lipstick, Lana, £26, spacenk.com

Pat McGrath Labs Lip Kit

When renowned makeup artist Dame Pat McGrath announced the launch of her eponymous cosmetics line in 2015 the beauty world was abuzz with excitement in anticipation of what promised to be a high-performance, top-quality offering. And we were not disappointed. Harnessing her years of experience working behind the scenes at fashion shows and cover shoots, McGrath’s Crimson Couture lip kit is the ultimate fool-proof lip duo. Combining a precision lip pencil in ruby red shade Blood Lust with matte finish, moisturising MatteTrance lipstick in exclusive shade Elson 3, this lip kit is unmatched when it comes to creating the perfect high-impact pout.

Pat McGrath Labs Crimson Couture Lip Kit, £43, patmcgrath.com

 
 

Tom Ford Ultra-Shine Lip Colour

A hybrid of the brand’s classic Lip Colour and Ultra-Shine Lip Gloss, Tom Ford’s Ultra-Shine lip colour delivers a delicate, high-shine finish that provides all-day nourishment. Glossy, creamy and understated, Willful is a low-maintenance, buildable red that sits effortlessly on the lips and will suit a wide range of skin tones.

Tom Ford Ultra-Shine Lip Colour, Willful, £44, spacenk.com

Wonderskin Wonder Blading Peel & Reveal

Combining the comfort of a lightweight tint with the staying power of a liquid lip, Wonderskin’s peel and reveal lip colour kit provides full, pigmented coverage that stays put all day. Perfect for an evening on the town, or date night with your beau, this transfer-proof, waterproof red has the slightest warm undertones, giving a classic vintage-inspired finish.

Wonderskin Wonder Blading Peel & Reveal Lip Colour Kit, Glamorous, £25, wonderskin.com

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