Best Red Lipstick | 15+ Top Red Lipsticks For a Glamorous Pout


Retro, scarlet, berry, brick – whatever shade you’re into, red lipstick always looks epic.

Seriously: pair a bold swipe of scarlet with just about any look, and it’ll tie everything together perfectly. A white T-shirt and faded blue jeans is the ultimate French girl power move, while a look of head-to-toe neutrals instantly comes to life against a flash of red. And as for those special-occasions dresses: well, you don’t need us to tell you how good they’ll look teamed with a Hollywood red gloss.

When it comes to shade, you have options. Most red lipsticks fall roughly into one of three categories: there’s the vibrant, coral-tinged orange reds that perk up sallow skin in seconds, the blue-toned reds that feel deeper and richer (while making your teeth look whiter) and the ‘true’ reds that sit somewhere in-between. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to finding the red that suits you best: if you like it, wear it.

Whether you’re all about a classic scarlet shade, a bright, matte tomato or a Megan Fox-style vampish berry, we know just the thing. Here, see the very best red lipsticks on the planet, according to the ELLE beauty team.

The Red Lipsticks To Wear Forever


The vegan red

Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick in Red 0

Winner of our ELLE Future of Beauty Awards 2021, and for very good reason, this vegan and cruelty-free red lipstick from Hourglass has disrupted the scene.Packaged in the same stiletto casing with the precise bullet applicator from the main Confessions range, this satin-finish formula packs a whole lot of wickedly red pigment.


The matte red

Rouge à Lèvres Mat Lipstick in Goldie Red

If old Hollywood glamour is what you want from your red lipstick, look no further than Gucci Beauty’s vintage-inspired offering. The satisfyingly powdery suede finish really stays put all night, no matter how many glasses of prosecco you drink. You won’t find Digital Beauty Editor George Driver wearing anything else.


The brick red

Lipstick in Marrakesh

When it comes to red lipsticks, legendary MAC make-up artist Terry Barber has a clear favourite. He describes Marrakesh as ‘that 1990’s classic that has come full circle: a cooler, more street version of a classic cherry red with spicy undertones.”My first memory of colours like this was in the early to mid 90s when Dick Page did make-up for designers like Helmut Lang’, says MAC make-up artist Terry Barber. ‘Foundation got taken off, models had very scrubbed faces and bricky red lips – I love that glamour moment.’


The sheer red

Ultralip in Fête

If you love a red lip but the thought of precise application and all-day upkeep sends you into a cold sweat, Glossier’s Ultralip provides a low-maintenance, high impact alternative. Enriched with hyaluronic acid, a swipe of this will give your lips the hydration of a balm with a semi-opaque tint. Think juicy lips without the stickiness of a gloss.


The red lip stain

Lip Velvet Crush in Tangerine Red – £25


For a bolder, brighter take on the classic red lip look, try ELLE Beauty Director Katy Young’s go-to orange/red hue, Burberry Lip Velvet Crush in Tangerine Red. Simply dab on via the cushiony applicator for a lighter, more summery stain.


The suits-all red

Semi Matte Lipstick in Port Elizabeth

They say there’s a shade of red lipstick for every woman, and this couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to Emolyne’s colour range. Not only has the brand formulated 15 varying shades of rouge to suit every skin tone, but you can get the corresponding shade of nail varnish to match. Not just a pretty face (look at that packaging), this lipstick gives a moisturising semi-matte finish with an incredible colour payoff.


The true red

Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo

There are plenty of reds in the weighty MAC roster, but none more popular than the inimitable Ruby Woo. Senior Ecommerce Editor Roberta Schroeder has remained loyal to it for over a decade, thanks to the unrivalled impact of the brighter-than-bright postbox red hue.


The volumising red

Color Riche Intense Volume Matte in Rouge Determinance

Trust us: L’oreal’s new ‘volumising matte’ lipsticks are pure genius. Completely unlike any other formula in the matte realm, this one feels incredibly light and skims over fine lines to leave behind a vivid yet ever-so-slightly sheer veil of colour. Your lips will look hydrated, smoothed and (yes, really) properly plumped.


The liquid red

Rouge Dior Forever Matte Liquid Lipstick in 999

Liquid lipsticks undeniably last a lot longer than a traditional cream bullet, but it’s also true that most of them are pretty uncomfortable to wear, with a tendency to crack and flake. Dior, however, has mastered it with this light and hydrating formula. The trick is to apply a balm beneath, then swipe on a light layer only: the pigment is potent, so will look bright and opaque. As for the shade? It has to be 999, AKA the ultimate true red.


The longwear red

Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Colour in Uncensored

We challenge you to find a more pigmented, longer-lasting, statement-making red liquid lipstick than this. We’re not surprised that Rihanna is behind the most complimented lipstick we’ve ever worn.


The vinyl red

SuperStay Vinyl Ink Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Red Hot

Maybelline’s new Vinyl Ink lipstick is destined for those big nights out. Combining a latex-style gloss with impressive staying power, the result is a seriously pigmented, ridiculously shiny red lip that sticks around from the first drink to the last dance. Think all-out, Robert Palmer video glamour that feels, frankly, very appealing right now.


The shiny red

Rouge Allure Laque Ultrawear Shine in Timeless

There have been plenty of new additions to Chanel’s iconic Rouge Allure line in the past few years, but the gloss-stain hybrid Laque remains our favourite. The hydrating high-gloss finish is perfect for those who want a plumping vinyl shine without the stickiness of a traditional gloss. Timeless is a deep blue-toned red that’ll make any outfit feel evening-ready.


The deeper red

Matte Revolution Lipstick in Walk Of No Shame

Charlotte Tilbury


Enriched with the appropriately named ‘lipstick tree’ extract for added smoothness, this is the creamiest matte red lipstick you’ll come across. Somewhere between brick red and a blue-toned true red, this burnished cherry shade suits a multitude of skin tones.


The red lip palette

Lip Suede Palette in Les Rouges

Gucci Westman knows exactly how to make an editorial red lip into an everyday proposition. These brilliantly unique lip creams blur over the skin to create that soft-focus, fuzzy-edged effect that always looks so cool. Don’t let the hydrating texture fool you: these shades are seriously pigmented. Try building up the colour at the centre of your lips, letting the edges fade softly for a just-been-kissed effect.


The boldest red

MatteTrance Lipstick in Elson 2

Described as ‘the perfect red’, this ultra matte formula from the Mother of make-up, Pat McGrath, is totally timeless. Formulated with optical diffusers to blur imperfections, it’s a one-stop shop for your smoothest red lip ever. And can we discuss that packaging?!

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