I’m not sure if you know this, but I’m a little bit of a red lipstick aficionado. So with the day of hearts and flowers and red lips (gag gag gag, sorry) upcoming, I thought I would share my top red lipstick picks at every budget level (and in every formula)!

Best Red Lipsticks for Valentine's Day Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Budget-friendly picks:

A surprising pick I learned about thanks to Valentine is the Revlon Super Lustrous Matte Lipstick in Really Red (around $8). There seems to be an underground group of people who know how good this color is. And now you’re among them. It often gets compared with Ruby Woo, though if you compare them head to head, Really Red pulls a little bit warmer. But either way, it’s similar in that it’s a neutral red that looks good on anyone. It’s not desert dry like Ruby Woo, just a beautiful-wearing matte red. And cheap, too.

Part of the reason I watch awards shows is for the dresses, but another part is for the makeup. And when Helen Mirren called out Elisabeth Moss for her performance while accepting her own award at the SAGs, Elisabeth’s surprise and shock…were shown on her gorgeous red lips. Shortly thereafter, Maybelline (yes, Maybelline) tweeted what lipstick she had been wearing. According to them, it was a mix of Superstay 24 Color in All Day Cherry (around $10) and Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet (around $9).

I assumed the All Day Cherry was put on first, since it’s one of the all-day liquid lipstick stain types (with the balm to put on top), and without using the balm, I layered the Signature Scarlet on top and it gave it a gorgeous shine. It came off very cherry red. The Color Elixir is Maybelline’s version of YSL’s Glossy Stains. Which I love and hate. I love gloss in theory but don’t love sticky things on my lips. But it pretty much lasted most of the day, and at around 5 I blotted off the rest and my lips were left with a gorgeous red stain.

Another all-day wearing lipstick that I always seem to forget that I have is Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in Always Red ($13). But I have asked 2 different people what they were wearing, and it was this. (And it’s a lot cheaper than the Stila version.) And just as gorgeous and long wearing.

Mid-range picks:

Only $3 separates the Sephora Cream Lip Stain with MAC lipsticks ($16), but I’ll count them as part of the mid-range picks.

Of course, I’ll start off with the classics. Russian Red and Ruby Woo. Russian Red is a more blue-toned pin-up color. It’s the classic MAC matte lipstick formula and lasts well without the liquid-to-powder feeling of the stay-all day lipsticks. Ruby Woo is the notorious “retro matte” formula that goes on like sandpaper but is such a gorgeous bright neutral red. It’s worth investing in a good lip balm for.

And for those of you who aren’t comfortable with a classic red, Lady Danger is a great, gorgeous orange-red choice. It’s such a pretty color, a friend of mine told me to ditch the usual reds and stick with this one.

Also, a good lip liner is ESSENTIAL when doing a red lip. MAC Cherry lip pencil ($15) is my go-to.

One of my favorite discoveries on my search for the perfect red was Illamasqua Box Lipstick ($24). This being a matte lipstick, it was dry, but not Ruby Woo dry. It tugs a tiny bit going on, but it spreads really nicely and wears really nicely. It feels very velvety on. And also, being matte, it lasts and lasts. See it in action here.

Best Red Lipsticks for Valentine's Day
Makeup bag: Pamela Barsky

High-end picks:

This one’s a little unfair, since it’s exclusive to Sephora VIB Rouge members, but if you are a member or have a friend who’s a member, you must get the Bite Beauty VIB Rouge lipstick ($28). It’s such a gorgeous, darker, very old Hollywood red. I feel instantly glamorous when I wear it, and Bite Beauty is good for you, too.

Another discovery made in my search is  Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture The Mats in Rouge Rock ($34). Though described as a matte, it goes on silky, but not as slippery as YSL lipsticks usually are. It wears less like a matte and more like a cream, just with less shine. It’s all written up about here.

Once again, a “search” discovery, Surratt Mégalomane Automatique Lip Crayon ($34) is such a pretty, wearable shade. It’s almost like an understated red that doesn’t draw attention to itself. See for yourself.

Luxe picks:

It’s definitely an investment, but By Terry Rouge Terrybly in Terrific Rouge ($49) is so worth it. Possibly my new favorite lipstick formula, this is not a matte lipstick, yet it lasts like one, only it leaves your lips feeling amazing. If you want to read me gush about it, you can here.

One lipstick that I have never spoken of and that I should wear more often is Guerlain Rouge G de Guerlain in Garçonne ($49.50). I was lucky enough to pick this up on sale plus in Europe, so I spent about $30 on it. It’s creamy and a gorgeous shade of red, it lasts, and is one of Temptalia’s favorite lipstick formulas.

And there you have it. The best red lipsticks for Valentine’s Day no matter how much you can spend. And no matter who you’re wearing it for. Even if it’s just for yourself.

Will you be wearing red lipstick come Valentine’s Day? Which do you think you’ll wear?

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14 comments on “Best Red Lipsticks for Valentine’s Day (and Every Day)”

    • By Terry is a French line! It's the makeup line of Terry de Gunzberg. I know they have it in Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, for sure. 🙂 They have SO many beautiful reds. (The one you wear in your photos is beautiful too, though!) x

  1. I have one red lipstick (yes, I know) and don't wear it very often, but I did the other day and can appreciate the love people have for it. Not something I could see myself wearing or investing a ton of money in, of course, but I definitely am no longer adverse to trying something new. (Especially after I realized how often I had to reapply and I am not here for that!)

    • Hey, some people don't have any, so you're a step ahead! And actually, that's really why I prefer matte formulas, because they have the staying power that creamier formulas do not, resulting in significantly less applications. And there are some great drugstore brand mattes (one is mentioned in this post, even!).

      • Hmmm. I'll have to hit up the Mercadona and see what they have. And matte should be fine by me, especially since I normally slick on some Burt's Bees on top anyways. (Need my mom to send me some more! My tin's JUUUST about out and I pretty much live on that stuff!)

        • What drugstore brands do they have there?

          Ah, also, putting lip balm on top can make it come off sooner/bleed. ;)You're better off putting some on your lips first and letting it absorb and putting the lipstick over that. Just in case you were interested. I'll stop now. 🙂

          • ….I think my mascara is Maybelline. That's pretty much all I've bought since I got here, to be honest. I've never really taken a super close look, but I'm by one tomorrow morning, so I'll have to pop in and see what they have!

            Hmmm. Note taken! I'll definitely take that into consideration for next time! Thanks. 🙂

          • No worries! I just thought if you did know, I could give you some recs. But that takes away the fun of discovery. 😉

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