There’s nothing quite like a red lip to add a pop of colour to an outfit and boost your confidence. With so many undertones and formulas to choose from, there’s a red lippie to suit everyone—but finding the right one takes a lot of trial and error. From plumping formulas to long-lasting mattes, Chatelaine’s staffers share their favourite red lipsticks.
Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Rose Hip, $29, bitebeauty.com.
“I’ve never been much of a lipstick person—it’s always been all about the eyes for me. When I came to work at a women’s magazine, I felt like I had to try a bit harder—emphasis on try. After early lippie attempts left me looking like Pennywise, a colleague staged an intervention and raided the makeup closet. I’m now a matte crayon lipstick convert. My favourite version comes from Canadian company Bite Beauty—it’s the perfect shade of bright red, it’s not too matte or too drying and it wears down nicely to a subtle stain. Apparently the brand is in the process of reformulating a bunch of products, so the lip crayon is on deep sale right now. (Dear Bite: Please don’t discontinue this colour! I’m also hoping you start a program where you can take the packaging back.)” —Gillian Grace, deputy editor
NYX Cosmetics Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Kitten Heels, $10, nyxcosmetics.ca.
“I love this lipstick for many reasons: the creamy matte formula isn’t ultra-drying, putting it on is quick and easy thanks to the small, rounded applicator, and the colour is absolutely perfect. In the past, I’ve had trouble finding the perfect shade of red for me, as there aren’t a ton of classic bright red lipsticks that pair well with my Asian complexion—a lot of reds have cool blue undertones. NYX Liquid Suede Cream in Kitten Heels is a perfect warm, bright red that pairs well with my skin and brightens up my entire makeup look. I wear Kitten Heels whenever I want to feel confident or want to add a pop of colour to my look.” —Rebecca Gao, freelancer
Maybelline Superstay Ink Crayon in Own Your Empire, $13, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
“I love the Maybelline’s Superstay Ink Crayons—I have one in every colour—but my most-worn shade is by far Own Your Empire, a classic red that’s perfect for everyday wear. The pointed tip makes it easy to line your lips and fill them in, and there’s a sharpener hidden in the base of the crayon to keep it sharp and easy to apply. The formula is creamy upon application and dries down to a matte finish, and it wears better than many similar high-end lip products I’ve tried. I can go a whole day without reapplying. It’s a little drying on the lips, but it’s to be expected in a lipstick that just won’t budge—and it’s nothing a good lip balm can’t solve. For me, the key to feeling confident in a bold red lip is knowing that I won’t be showing up at a meeting with lipstick on my teeth. Plus, the price is incredible!” —Andréanne Dion, associate lifestyle editor
Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip in Snowfleek, US $7, colourpop.com.
“Colourpop’s Snowfleek lipstick is all of my favourite things combined: bold, easy to wear and cheap. One swipe will leave you with a rich, rusty red that dries down quickly to a matte finish. I always put lip balm on first because transfer-proof products tend to dry out my lips, but the good thing is that it isn’t as quick to smudge as other liquid lipsticks I’ve tried. My only gripe? The only way to get your hands on it in Canada is to order it online, which I don’t typically do, so I end up spending a lot of time at Ulta when I visit the States—much to the dismay of my American friends.” —Radiyah Chowdhury, assistant editor
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Gazpacho, $30, bitebeauty.com.
“I didn’t start wearing red lips until my mid-30s and trialled-and-errored my way to a cool red hue that worked with my pale, slightly pink-ish complexion. There are lots of gorgeous options in this tone to choose from—hello, M.A.C Ruby Woo—but I’ve recently entered into a long-term relationship with Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick in Gazpacho. I love the pretty light scent and creamy, incredibly moisturizing formula.” —Maureen Halushak, editor-in-chief
Buxom Full Force Plumping Lipstick in Baller, $25, sephora.com.
“This fall, Buxom released a limited-edition “Baller” red lipstick in honour of the Toronto Raptors and, as an official bandwagon fan, I scooped up a tube right away. Turns out, it’s my perfect red—creamy, buildable and with a plumping formula that really makes my lips pop. I’ll be stockpiling this one!” —Charlotte Herrold, editor-in-chief, Flare
Nars Lipstick in Red Lizard, $33, narscosmetics.ca.
“This is the red lipstick of my dreams! It’s a creamy formula, so I just have to swipe it along my top and bottom lip once, and it leaves my lips looking super vibrant and feeling moisturized. The only downside is that you definitely don’t want to be applying this lippie on the subway—if you go outside your lip line, it will take a makeup wipe to get it off (lest you want to look like you have super chapped lips). What I love most about this lipstick is that it’s super long-lasting. While the red hue becomes less vibrant and more pink-ish as the day goes on, I can sip coffee, eat my lunch and go about my day without reapplying. It’s the only red lipstick I wear consistently, because it ticks all my red-lip boxes: it’s a moisturizing pop of colour that makes me feel super confident.” —Katherine Singh, assistant editor, Flare
Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip in Chronos, US $7, colourpop.com. Similar here.
“I’m usually wary of liquid lipsticks as they can be smudgy or drying, but on a recent trip to Ulta in the U.S., I couldn’t help but fall for the bright pop of this orangey-red. The colour is extremely saturated, it goes on smooth and it dries fast. It’s long-lasting—you might wake up with a slight stain still on your lips the next morning. The best part? It’s cheap. It’s perfect if you just want to add a pop of colour to your look for a holiday party.” —Simone Olivero, senior editor, Today’s Parent
Nudestix Intense Matte Color Lip + Cheek Pencil in Royal Red, $32, sephora.com.
“I love that Nudestix is a Toronto-based company that makes vegan and cruelty-free products. I’ve been looking for the perfect red for a long time and this one is an easy pick because this shade’s blue undertones look good on everyone (and they make your teeth look whiter!). As opposed to the pink-reds that I’ve worn in the past, this colour works with my olive skin tone. The look is super matte but the texture is creamy, which especially nice for those dry winter months. Plus, it comes in a cute little tin with a mirror and sharpener.” —Claire Sibonney, contributing editor, Today’s Parent and Flare