Red Room: Finding The Right Holiday Red Lipstick
Finding the right shade of red lipstick can be as daunting as finding the perfect little black dress (or, in my case, finding the baddest yet most versatile knee-high black boots!). Do you want to go for a cranberry red? A true crimson hue? An orange-tinged, coral-infused number? The possibilities are endless, and it can be a tad overwhelming so, to help you with this quest, I’m highlighting eight of my favorite shades of red lipstick. As you can see from the swatches above, they vary quite a bit in terms of the base tones, shine, and intensity.
So what are the different lipsticks pictured above? Here’s the breakdown, starting from the lipstick swatch on the far left and working to the far right.
1. Nars “Jungle Red” Lipstick, $24. Visit Sephora.com
This has been my go-to red color for some time now. It’s a true red (the kid that you’d imagine Betty Draper wearing on Mad Men), and it has a semi-matte finish, which makes it look like you’ve already blotted your lips to seal in the color. The end result is vibrant but sophisticated.
2. Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy “Golden Berry” Color Comfort Lip Color, $9.99. Available at food, drug, and mass retailers nationwide.
This deep red almost crosses over into the earth tones territory. It reminds me of the color of most Harvard University sweatshirts because, while the school color is crimson, these sweatshirts tend to have a maroon tint. Aside from the shade, what makes this lipstick so fantastic is that it contains sweet almond oil and cocoa butter to moisturize lips and keep your lip color looking smooth and flawless.
3. Urban Decay “Gash” Lipstick, $22. Visit UrbanDecay.com
Urban Decay’s colors always make me smile, and this one is no exception. The color’s name (“Gash”) refers to the fact that the color is billed as a ‘blood red.” I personally think the term “blood red” can be really confusing because (and please pardon the slightly gruesome comparison), as anyone who has attended a blood drive can attest to, there’s a big difference between the color you see when you have a tiny scrape or cut and some blood oozes out, as opposed to when there’s a large quantity of blood in a vial at a lab (or something along those lines). The point is this: the difference is color is pretty substantial. That’s why the name “Gash” so perfectly describes this lipstick shade — it’ the type of red you’d see if you got a boo-boo while in the kitchen.
4. Smashbox Photo Finish Lipstick in Legendary, $22. Visit Sephora.com
Part of Smashbox’s Photo Finish Lipstick collection, “Legendary” was formulated using the brand’s unique Sila-Silk Technology, which makes the lipstick last longer and have a silkier finish. It’s actually similar to Nars’ Jungle Red, but this one has more sheen and a silkier finish, whereas Jungle Red has a muted, matte quality to it.
5. Motives Cosmetics by Loren Ridinger Rich Formula Lipstick in “Go Red,” $14. Visit MotivesCosmetics.com
The “Go Red” lipstick was launched as part of a collaboration between Motives Cosmetics and the American Heart Association, with 25% of the proceeds from the sale of the lipstick benefiting the organization. The paraben-free, vitamin-infused lipstick is designed to smooth out any lines along the lips and moisturize that pout. The orange-tinged red reminds me of the color they tend to paint telephone booths in London — how’s that for a visual reference?
6. Lipstick Queen “Red Sinner” Opaque Lipstick, $18. Visit LipstickQueen.com
I fell in love with this lipstick the moment I tried it. Its texture is so incredibly soft that you can barely feel it as it glides onto your lips — this is due to the high concentration of shea butter in the formula, which works as a wonderful emollient, keeping lips hydrated and sealing in moisture. It’s an opaque color, so the color is rich but matte (as someone who has rediscovered the wonders of matte lipstick, this is a selling point for me). Initially, the color is pretty light, but you can apply as many coats as needed to achieve the desired effect. The shade, meanwhile, is the sort of red you’d find in most Valentine’s Day paraphernalia — perfect for such a lovable product.
7. Urban Decay “Revolution” Lipstick, $22. Visit UrbanDecay.com
Infused with vitamins A, E, and C, this lipstick (like all UD offerings) moisturizes lips and infuses them with powerful antioxidants that protect against future damage. The brand’s formula also incorporates hyaluronic spheres that promote cellular renewal and help to keep your lips looking plump and wrinkle-free. Like the Lipstick Queen product described above, this lipstick glides on really smoothly, but the color is substantially more intense. It’s the kind of hue you expect to see in the most perfect red rose and hence conveys that same level of passion and fire.
8. Giorgio Armani Beauty Rouge D’Armani 401, $30. Visit GiorgioArmaniBeauty-USA.com
Out of the lipsticks featured here, this one probably has a more of an orange tinge to it — the Rouge d’Armani 401 is a bright scarlet red (for a visual reference, I’d point you to anything from Elmo’s fur to the color of paint used in most red Ferraris). But this is Armani, of course, so the texture and finish are definitely more on the Ferrari side!