Alright friends, let’s do this. A roundup of all of my red lipsticks and categorized into different types of red. This will require a series of posts to cover all the shades, and to not overwhelm your eyes with red.
I’ve actually done a red lipstick post before, when I first started this blog in 2018, though that was a much more abbreviated post. Since then, I’ve acquired quite a few newer shades, and compiling all of them was quite a feat. This post has been nearly a year in the making because I’ve started categorizing and swatching, then became overwhelmed and gave up.
For the sake of my own sanity, this series will only include arm swatches, with the exception of a few Instagram reels I’m planning to highlight my favorite shades. However, if you have an interest in seeing specific shades on my lips, please don’t be shy about requesting them! I can add a post dedicated to lip swatch photos and also swatch them in videos.
To repeat my first post, I have a medium skintone with neutral-warm olive undertones, ranging from MAC NC30 to NC37 when I’m tan. I find a lot of red lipsticks can look different on different skintones, so one red lipstick I swatch might look totally different on me than it does on you. If you have a similar skintone as me, I hope you’ll find this as a helpful reference!
Because I’m me, I created a matrix to categorize lipsticks, which I think fall into three major categories: cool reds, neutral reds, and warm reds. Under each category, there are 3 sub-categories of shades.
|Cool Red||Neutral Red||Warm Reds|
|Pink Red||Neutral Cool||Orange Red|
|Cherry Red||Neutral-warm||Brick Red|
|Burgundy Red||True Red||Brown Red|
I tried my best to categorize every single red lipstick I own into one of these 3 categories, but I do not think by any means that these are how everyone would perceive these shades. On multiple occasions, a lipstick that looked warm in the tube swatched completely cool toned on me, and vice versa. There are a few shades I went back and forth on as to which category they belong to, so it’s not a perfect science by any means.
The red right for me will brighten up my entire face and make my teeth look whiter. What’s the right red is will look different for any person, but I love playing with all kinds of reds. As you’ll see in later posts, I gravitate towards warm reds, but I do love a cooler toned blue-based red as I find those give add a lot of contrast and drama to my looks.
Because I have nearly 80 lipsticks in this roundup, I’m going to get right into it. I’m not going tto include product photos since what I’m focusing on is how they swatch and look on my skin. For this post, I will write the lipstick being swatched in list form, a brief description of the shade, and note if the shade is discontinued. Each lipstick will also include an affiliate link to the product, if it’s still being sold. The photo with the swatches will then come below the list. All products with an asterisk * denotes an item sent as a press sample.
Let’s get started! I’ll begin with Cool Reds.
You can shop all the Cool Reds here.
The 3 categories under Cool Reds include:
- Pink Red – these reds have lots of bright blue mixed into the red. The shades can also range from a light pink-red to a deeper fuchsia and magenta pink red.
- Cherry Red – a little deeper than Pink Reds, more red than pink, but these reds have deeper blue tones. The shades can range from a bright red cherry to a deep bing cherry
- Burgundy Red – deep reds that have some purple and black mixed in.
Group 1 – Pink Reds
- Surratt Lipslique in Rubis (+use code STEPH15 for 15% off!) – a medium toned pink red with a glossy finish
- Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick in Dragon Girl – a bright pink red with a soft matte finish
- Bite Beauty Hot Tomato (discontinued) – a medium cool toned red with a soft matte finish
- Chanel Rouge Allure Ink Matte Liquid Lip in Luxuriant(discontinued) – a medium toned pink red with a soft matte finish and a liquid formula
- Smashbox Legendary Prime Plush Lipstick in Be Seen* (limited edition) – a deeper pink, almost magenta red with a cream finish
- Fenty Beauty Icon Lipstick in Kissin’ Kutie* – an opaque cool poppy red with a cream semi-matte finish
- Fenty Beauty Icon Lipstick in Freak-went Flyer* – an opaque deeper cool red with a semi-matte finish
- Peripera Ink The Velvet Lip Tint in 32 Fuchsia Red* – a deep fuchsia red with a liquid formula and soft matte finish
- Shiseido Modern Matte Lipstick in 516 Exotic Red – an opaque deep magenta red with a matte finish – this looks almost warm red in the tube but shows up very cool toned on me.
Group 2 – Cherry Red (right side 3 swatches)
- Gucci Transfer-Proof Matte Liquid Lipstick in Nellie Cherry – medium toned muted cherry red with a matte finish and liquid formula
- Peripera Ink The Velvet Lip Tint in 34 Smoky Red* – an opaque deep ruby red with a matte finish and liquid formula
- YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 126 Lale’s Red (limited edition) – a deep ruby red with a cream finish (also reviewed here)
Group 3 – Burgundy Red
- YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in 85 Burgundy Love – a glossy sheer burgundy red
- Armani Lip Power in 404* – a midtone berry red with a creamy finish
- YSL Matte Tatouage in 9 Black Code Red (discontinued) – a deep blackened burgundy red with a matte finish and liquid formula
Moving on Neutral Reds, which encompass what I often see as “typical” red lipsticks of “classic” red lipsticks. Even with neutral reds, there are a lot of variations. The 3 categories under Neutral Reds include:
- Neutral Cool – these are reds that have just a hint of blue undertones, and typically viewed as most universally flattering because the slight blue can make the teeth look whiter.
- True Red – reds with balanced undertones, with no discernable hint of blue or orange in them
- Neutral Warm – reds with a hint of orange mixed in. Think a bright fire engine red.
You can shop all the Neutral Reds here.
Group 1 – Neutral Cool
- Givenchy Le Rouge Sheer Velvet Lipstick in 37 Rouge Graine – a sheer red with slight pink tones and a powder matte finish. This is described as a warm red but shows up more pink on me.
- Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in The 405* – a glossy cool red that is almost a pink red, but has just enough red to make it feel like a red.
- Armani Lip Power in 400* – a bright neutral red with a hint of blue undertones and a creamy finish
- La Perla Lipstick in 106 Venetian Red* – a midtone neutral red with cool undertones and a satin finish
- Shiseido Modern Matte Lipstick in 515 Mellow Drama* – midtone neutral red with cool undertones and a matte finish; slightly deeper than La Perla Venetian Red
Group 2 – Neutral Cool
- YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 122 Wolf’s Red (limited edition) – a deep red with blue undertones and a very slight hint of shimmer that is virtually undetectable, satin finish
- Fenty Beauty Icon Lipstick in The MVP – a deep blue based red with a semi-matte finish
- MAC Love Me Lipstick in E is for Effortless – a deep red with cool undertones and a creamy finish
- Peripera Ink The Velvet Lip Tin in 33 Pure Red *- a midtone bright red with cool undertones and matte finish with a liquid formula
- YSL Slim Matte Lipstick in 09 Red Enigma – a deep red with cool undertones and a soft matte finish
- Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick in Cruella – a deep velvet red with a cool undertone and matte finish
Group 3 – True Red
- Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Tinted Lip Balm in 26 True Red* – a sheer true red with a glossy finish and tinted lip balm formula
- Sisley Phyto Rouge Shine in 40 Cherry* – a sheer deep red with a glossy finish
- Rouje Le Style in Louise – a bright red with a matte finish
- Shiseido Modern Matte Lipstick in 514 Hyper Red* – a bright red with a matte finish
- Armani Lip Power in 403 – a bright red with a creamy finish
- Peripera Ink The Velvet Lip Tint in 03 Red Only* – mid-tone true red with a matte finish and liquid formula
Group 4 – Neutral Warm
- Tom Ford Scarlet Rouge – a bright midtone red with slight warm undertones and medium opaqueness with glossy finish. It’s described as a cool red but pulls more warm to me.
- Rare Beauty Lip Souffle in Inspire – a bright red with warm undertones and a matte finish with a liquid formula. This is almost orange red but it has enough red to make it lean more red.
- Fenty Beauty Icon Lipstick in Danger Danc’r* – a bright fire engine red with warm undertones and a matte finish
- Em Cosmetics Infinite Lip Cloud in Love (about to be discontinued) – a bright red with warm undertones and a matte finish with a liquid formula
- Shiseido Modern Matte Lipstick in 510 Night Life* – a bright poppy red with warm undertones and a matte finish
- Kosas Lipstick in Phoenix – a deep warm red with a semi-matte finish
Group 5 – Neutral Warm
- Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Made for Me – a bright red lipstick with slight warm undertones and a matte finish
- Givenchy Le Rouge Velvet in 37 Rouge Graine – a deep velvety red with warm undertones and a soft satin-matte finish
- Gucci Lipstick in Goldie Red – a midtone opaque red with warm undertones and a matte finish
- Shu Uemura Lipstick in RD188 Red High Heels* (limited edition; discontinued) – a deep red with warm undertones and a creamy finish
- Givenchy Le Rouge Lipstick in Grenat Initie (discontinued) – a deep garnet red with warm undertones and a creamy finish
- YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 146 Paris Stroll (limited edition) – a deep warm red with a creamy finish
The final category are Warm Reds, which include:
- Orange Reds – these reds lean much more orange than red, but still have enough red to keep it from being a straight orange. They can be red-orange, which is more red than orange, or orange-red, which tip almost into straight orange lipstick, but still have red tones mixed in
- Brick Red – these have a some copper and brown mixed in, but the copper and sometimes orange tones keep these from being brown.
- Brown Red – much deeper than the other 2 categories of warm reds, with deeper brown tones
You can shop all the Warm Reds here.
Group 1 – Orange Red
- Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Lipstick in Fire* – a bright sheer glossy orange red that is almost more orange than red, but still has red mixed in
- Glossier Play Vinylic Lip in Disco (discontinued) – a bright orange red with a glossy finish
- Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer in Bloodroot – a light coverage glossy orange-ish red
- Merit Signature Lip in Cabo – a bright red-orange with a balmy finish, also reviewed here.
- YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 124 Scout’s Red (limited edition) – a bright red-orange with a soft matte finish
Groupe 2 – Orange Red
- Shiseido Modern Matte in 509 Flame* – a bright, almost neon, orange-red with a matte finish
- Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Olvera* – a mid tone red-orange with a creamy finish
- Armani Lip Maestro in 405* – a deep red-orange with creamy finish and a liquid formula
- Armani Lip Power in 405 – a deep red-orange with a creamy finish, slightly deeper than the Lip Maestro formula
- YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 145 Lost in Marais (limited edition) – a deep red-orange with a creamy finish; nearly identical to Armani Lip Power in 405
Group 3 – Brick Red
- Charlotte Tilbury Red Hot Susan – a red with brown/orange undertones and a matte finish
- MAC Powder Kiss Lipstick in Devoted to Chili – a buildable sheer red with brown-orange undertones and a matte finish
- YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 1966 Rouge Libre – a warm red with orange-brown undertones and a creamy finish
- YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in 80 Chili Tunique – a sheer warm midtone brick red with a glossy finish
- YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 83 Fiery Chili – a creamy red with slight orange-brown tones
- Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in The Big One* – a rich midtone red with slight rusty tones
- MAC Chili – a rusty brown-orange red with a satin finish
- 3CE Step and Go – a rich red with orange-brown tones and a matte finish
- Armani Lip Maestro in 415 – a deep red with brownish tones
Group 4 – Brown Red
- YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in 122 Burnt Zellige – a sheer almost-brown red with a glossy finish
- MAC Powder Kiss in Marrakesh-Mere – a buildable sheer brownish red with a soft matte finish
- MAC Marrakesh – a brown red with a matte finish
- Byredo Liquid Vinyl Lipstick in Auburn – a rich red with brown tones with a creamy finish and liquid formula
- YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 143 London Sky (limited edition)
5 Essential Red Lipsticks
While I do wear a lot of these shades, I definitely wear some more than others. I tried to narrow it down to 5 reds that I’d recommend everyone try that are currently available and not limited edition shades. It was really hard to narrow it down to 5, but I picked the essential categories. I could do so many variations of these, and include brown reds, sheer reds, etc, but I also have a post with my favorite reds coming up next.
- Cool Red: There’s a lot of directions you could go with a cool red. For some, a pink red is the best shade, while for me, a pink red can look off with my coloring. The best cool reds for my skintone tend to be the deeper cherry reds or burgundy reds, and my go to cool toned red lately is the Peripera Ink The Velvet Lip Tint in 34 Smoky Red, which is a deep cool toned red in a super comfortable liquid formula that has a velvety matte finish.
- True Red: In my opinion, a true red is a classic for everyone. It’sa bright red that is a power color. There are so many formulas available, though the Armani Lip Power in 403 is as comfortable as you can get for an ultra opaque and decently long wearing lip formula. An honorable mention goes to Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso, which I no longer have in my collection, but is about the most perfect red shade there can be.
- Matte/Showstopper Red: A matte red is often synonymous with a showstopper red for me, which isn’t always the same as a true red. This is going to be different for everyone, but it’s the red lipstick I wear when I want to make a statement, when I want people to know I’m wearing red. For me, that’s Gucci Lipstick in Goldie Red
- Orange Red: An orange red is a summer lipstick for me. It evokes vacation vibes, summer days, and the orange tones add just a touch of freshness. My go to is Merit Signature Lip in Cabo – a bright red-orange with a balmy finish. It’s really beginner friendly if you’re inching into red lipsticks but feel intimidated by opaque shades. It feels like a lip balm and can be applied lightly or built up for more coverage. You really can’t go wrong with this one.
- Warm Red: Warm reds are my favorite kinds of reds, but it’s hard to go wrong with the iconic MAC Chili, which is a red with some rusty undertones. This is a beautiful red if you have warmer skintones or warm olive skintones. It’s red without being super bright, but it still makes a statement.
So how are we feeling after looking at nearly 100 red lip swatches? Find something you like? Or maybe found a similar shade to a discontinued lipstick that you have?
Tell me what your favorite red lipsticks are, and if you’d like to see additional lip swatches for any of these!
As always, thanks for reading.
One thought on “The Ultimate Red Lipstick Comparison Post”
The term “cherry red” when it comes to lipstick has often confused me, because it’s used to describe both that electric bright pink-red color (like a maraschino cherry) or darker punchy Bing-like color. It’s like- which cherry we talking about people! But I never though of it as a spectrum of pink-red before. And then I always have those cherries in mind that are almost black and get sooo confused lol