10 iconic red lipsticks you need in your collection

Posted by
Ava Welsing-Kitcher
woman wearing red lipstick

As much as we cherish neutral shades of lipstick for everyday wear, there’s nothing quite like a bold red to say “I’m here, I’m about to get stuff done, I’m pulling off this shade and I know it.” Here are Stylist’s picks of the most flattering reds to suit everyone.

Yes, a trusty red lipstick has been an essential part of beauty arsenals for centuries. From the crushed berry stains of Ancient Greece, to Marilyn’s iconic hue, to Beyonce’s holiday bare-eyes-and-bold-red combo, there are countless ways to mix and master the classic shade. However, not all reds are created equal - and what might look perfect on your best friend might not fit so well on yourself.

The key to deciphering the thousands of shades on offer is evaluating their undertone. Blue-toned reds like MAC’s Ruby Woo lean towards colder rather than warmer undertones, and will make teeth look whiter in contrast. Orange-toned reds, like brick or tawny, will warm up the skin. Both flatter all skin tones, so ignore advice that dictates that you can’t wear something purely because of your complexion. Instead, get to testing and trialling without committing to buy - and if in doubt, Google Image search ’(lipstick brand and shade) swatches’ to see what it looks like on other people.

See the Stylist beauty team’s picks of our favourite classic reds to add brightness and boldness to our days…

  • Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored


    Vivid, head-turning, sophisticated, and mindful of all skin shades – we wouldn’t expect anything less from Rihanna’s first red lipstick. The soft matte formula means it won’t dry lips out, either.

    £19, Harvey Nichols

  • Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick In Beso

    Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

    If liquid lipsticks feels a little too thick, but you still want its famed longevity, then try Stila’s cult formula. Beso’s the chosen favourite of our chosen favourite Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and it’s a true red that suits such a wide variety of skin tones.

    £16, Cult Beauty

  • Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red


    Matte, but velvety and supple, and richly pigmented, but somehow lets your natural hue shine through – Charlotte Tilbury’s legendary formulas do it all.

    £24, Selfridges

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in American Doll

    For those who like their lipstick high-drama and high-coverage, look no further than ABH’s liquid formula. Two slicks and your red will stay for hours upon hours, surviving lunchtime and whatever else life throws your way.

    £20, Beauty Bay

  • Tom Ford Lip Color in Flame

    Tom Ford Flame

    This is the red-orange (rorange?) hue to end them all. The velvet matte formula stops this from looking too bright and glistening, while the warm base flatters everyone.

    £40, Tom Ford

  • offer L'Oreal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Liquid Lipstick

    LOreal Paris Rouge Signature-Matte Liquid Lipstick I Am Worth It

    The oil-in-water formula locks pigment onto lips without drying them out in this stain-meets-lipstick hybrid

    £7.99, Boots

  • Becca Ultimate Lipstick Love in Crimson

    Becca Ultimate Lipstick Love Crimson

    If you like your formulas creamy and silky, then Becca’s ticks the boxes - plus it’s surprisingly long-wearing for a not-matte lipstick.

    £20, Cult Beauty

  • Huda Beauty Liquid Matte in Heartbreaker

    Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Heartbreaker

    This is a liquid lipstick that’s 100% commitment, or nothing. One slick of highly pigmented colour just begs for the whole nine yards; a couple of layers, lip liner, and a perfect cat eye to wrap it all up. 

    £18, Cult Beauty

  • Mac Matte Lipstick in Chili

    Mac Matte Lipstick in Chili

    MAC’s Ruby Woo and Russian Red are always everyone’s favourite, but Chili’s the warmer, brickish red that flatters everyone. Pat it onto lips for a beautiful stain, or go high-impact with two layers.

    £17.50, MAC

  • Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet N°5

    Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet N°5

    It’s impossible to not include a classic Chanel red in the line-up - this limited edition update has the most velvety of textures.

    £32, Chanel


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Ava Welsing-Kitcher

Ava Welsing-Kitcher is Stylist’s junior beauty writer and resident curly girl. She’s addicted to lip balm (who isn’t?!), wearing eyeshadow as blush and lipstick and all things hair.

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