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The Most Iconic Red Lipstick Shades

July 23, 2021

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The Most Iconic Red Lipstick Shades

Red lipstick is one makeup item that will never go out of style. While pink is feminine and flirty, nude is a subtle elegance, and coral orange is a quirky twist. Red lipstick is the only colour that works for every occasion. Whether you’re going to a coffee shop, attending a wedding, or going on a date, red lipstick is a must-have for every woman’s makeup bag.
While red lipstick will always be an iconic moment, there are some shades that are so famous within the beauty industry that they have become legend. If I said ‘Ruby Woo’, any beauty lover would know that it’s the name of MAC’s signature red shade. The same goes for Dior’s 999 or Uncensored by Fenty Beauty.
Not all red lipsticks are made equal, even more so when you consider their different undertones. If you’re a fan of red lipstick, you’ll know that there is a difference between scarlet red, burgundy, and rainbow red.
This article is the ultimate guide for everything you need to know about red lipstick. We’re covering the most iconic shades of all time – the ones that every woman needs to own – and how to perfect the art of applying red lipstick. Warning: these lipstick shades are all an instant ‘add to cart’. Whether red lipstick is your signature, or you want to give it a try, you’re guaranteed to learn something new from this guide.

How to wear red lipstick


Unlike pink lipstick or a berry tinted gloss, red lipstick can be daunting to wear. While it adds an instant ‘wow factor’ to your outfit, it’s easier to see mistakes in your application. We’ve all smudged red lipstick onto our teeth at least once. Before we jump into our top red lipstick recommendations, we wanted to share our secrets on how to achieve an effortless red lipstick application.
Before you add your red lipstick, you want to stop and consider the rest of your makeup. You want to avoid wearing blush that is too dark against your skin if you’re also wearing a red lipstick colour. It’s best to balance our red lipstick with a lighter pink blush.
Before you go anywhere near your lips with a lipstick, you want to stop and add a lip balm. The last thing you want is to be applying red lipstick onto cracked lips. If you apply a lip balm first, your lips will be hydrated and plumper, making it easier for you to apply your lipstick and giving you a smoother finish to your look.
If you want to achieve the most even and perfect red lipstick application, you need to be using a lip liner. You might think of them as an unnecessary add-on, but they’re a gamechanger for helping you get a smooth finish and will boost the longevity of your red lipstick. You can also use a blot of foundation or concealer over your lips to help cancel out your natural lip shade to make the red pop.
It’s a good idea to keep some micellar water and cotton buds on hand to help clean up any mistakes you make during the application process. You can also touch-up your lips by applying concealer underneath your lip line to give you a bolder line.
Every red lipstick is a different colour, the undertones and brightness impact how the shade looks on your lips. You want to consider your complexion and skin tone when you’re choosing which red lipstick you want to make your signature.

The 15 most popular red lipstick shades of all time


When it comes to buying your red lipsticks, there are fifteen shades that every woman should try. Grab your credit card, all of these need to be added to your makeup bag.

Mac Cosmetics’ Ruby Woo Matte Lipstick


Ruby Woo is perhaps the most iconic red lipstick shade of all time. It has a semi-matte formula that is so popular that Rihanna even had a custom shade made for a collaboration with the brand called Riri Woo.

Fenty Beauty Uncensored Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color


The first red lipstick from Rihanna’s beauty brand, Fenty Beauty, is universally flattering and is opaque with just one swipe. The matte formula will last all day long, taking you from day to night. This red lipstick shade will stay on until you remove it at the end of the night.

NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil


You can get an iconic red lip colour without using a traditional lipstick. The velvet matte lip pencil from NARS gives you the same colour as a lipstick but with the versatility of a pencil.
Dragon Girl is an unapologetically bright shade of red that has a pink undertone, making it perfect for those trying to transition from wearing pink colours to red. Did you know that Dragon Girl is the go-to shade of Taylor Swift?

The Lip Bar Hot Mama Matte Liquid Lipstick


What we love about Hot Mama is that it’s a fiery matte red shade that works with every skin tone, giving you a pop of colour. As this lipstick dries down, you can be guaranteed that the colour won’t move until the end of the night.

Gucci Goldie Red Rouge a Levres Matte Lipstick


While Gucci’s makeup brand is relatively new, it’s no surprise that their signature red shade has already made it onto this list. The formula is ultra-soft with a matte finish. You get the ultimate flexibility of choosing between a just-there red tint to your lips or layering it for an opaquer look.

Revlon Fire & Ice Super Lustrous Lipstick


The name ‘Fire & Ice’ was synonymous with red lipstick long before Game of Thrones hit our TV screens. This classic red shade dates back to 1952 and is still available today. If you want to wear the same shade as some of Hollywood’s most iconic legends, this is the red lipstick for you.

Guerlain Rouge Kiss KissKiss Creamy Finish Lipstick


For a hydrating and moisturising formula, look no further than Guerlain’s Rouge Kiss shade. What we love about this colour is that it has a blue-red tone, meaning that it helps to brighten the appearance of your teeth and give them a whiter look.

Shiseido Ginza Red VisionAiry Gel Lipstick


If you want a weightless red lipstick, look no further than the Ginza Red shade by Shiseido. You get a classic red shade that will stay on all day, whether you swipe it over your lips or dab it on for a more natural look.

Dior 999 Rogue Dior Lipstick


The iconic 999 shade from Dior is a fan-favourite amongst celebrities and influencers alike. It flatters every skin tone and is a must-have for all fans of luxury makeup.

Beauty Bakerie Bowl of Cherries Matte Lip Whip


Beauty Bakerie is fast becoming one of our favourite makeup brands. With its waterproof and smudge-proof formula, the Matte Lip Whip is one of the most talked about lipstick formulas. No matter what you put it through, this lipstick colour won’t move.

Chanel Pirate Luminous Intense Lip Colour


Another luxury red lipstick that you should consider is Pirate by Chanel. While the brand has over a dozen red shades for you to choose from, Pirate is one of the most famous shades of all-time from Chanel.

Pat McGrath Labs Obsessed! MatteTrance Lipstick


Pat McGrath is a leading brand within the industry, making it no surprise that her brand makes an appearance on this list. If you’re a fan of an orange-red lipstick shade, this colour will be your go-to. It has one of the best matte formulas on market and gives you a creamy and smooth application process that won’t dry your lips. The colour is long-lasting and scentless, making it ideal for all-day wear.

Maybelline Red Revival Color Sensational The Creams


Maybelline’s pigmented formula is a go-to drugstore dupe for those who don’t want to spend the price of a MAC or Chanel lipstick. You might find that the color is an exact dupe for other shades on this list.

Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin Velvet Matte


Red is a colour synonymous with Christian Louboutin and his red bottom shoes. In fact, you’ll usually hear Louboutins being referred to simply as ‘red bottoms’. When the shoe designer launched his beauty brand, it was no surprise that red was one of the focal colours of his products. The shade ‘Rouge Louboutin’ is an exact match to the red of his shoes, making this colour a must-have for any shoe fan.

Yves Saint Laurent Le Rouge Rogue Pur Couture Lipstick


Nothing looks better than a red lipstick bullet in one of YSL’s statement gold cases. It’s a classic old Hollywood inspired colour that is universally flattering and works for every skin tone and complexion.


Do you wear red lipstick or are you considering taking the plunge? Let us know in the comments below!

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