The Best Red Lipsticks and The Worst Red Lipsticks: So Many Reds, So Little Time

By Pretty City Editors

The Best Red Lipsticks

The Best Red Lipstick and the Worst Red Lipstick

Crimson lips are simply timeless. We’ve been long-time fans of a classic red lip done right...  but red lipstick done wrong is a messy, feathery, unattractive affair. That's why the most important thing -- other than confidence -- when rocking bold lips, is picking a lipstick that lasts, and dumping the ones that don't. Here's what you must know... hold your kisses until the end, beauties. ;-) 

Red lips demand attention so starting with a smooth canvas is a must. Ban pesky lip bits with Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Liquid Exfoliant ($27 at Aveda salons and spas and online here). Apply generously to a cotton ball and then swipe over lips. Next, for a perfectly smooth pucker, moisturize lips by swiping on lip balm and then blotting lips with a tissue. 

While some beauty experts recommend certain shades of this hue based on skin tone, we’ve found that trial and error is the true test. Thankfully, we’ve done some of the work for you, pre-screening over two-hundred red lipsticks to round up a few of the darlings and the duds.

Best Red Lipstick: Prescriptives Colorscope Lipcolor in “Racecar Red” ($21)

You’ve undoubtedly heard of fire engine red, but Prescriptives kicks it up a notch with their Colorscope Lipcolor in “Racecar Red,” a juicy apple red available in your choice of cream, shimmer or sparkle finishes. The moist formula goes on smooth but boasts a surprising level of staying power; $21 at

Worst Red Lipstick: NYX Black Label Lipstick in “Cherry” ($7)

We’re fans of the NYX collection and The Black Label collection lipstick in “Cherry” appeared to be a winner at first glance. Unfortunately, this “silky smooth” lipstick went on slick, and didn’t stay put, leaving us red-faced rather than pucker perfect.

Best Red Lipstick: Rimmel’s 1000 Kisses Stay On Lip Liner Pencil in “Red Dynamite” and Lasting Finish Lipstick in “Alarm” ($3 to $5)

For just a few bucks, we fell in love with Rimmel’s 1000 Kisses Stay On Lip Liner Pencil ($3.99 at Walmart) because it glides on easily and keeps its commitment to stay on our lips without straying.   Paired with Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Lipstick in “Alarm” (on sale now for $4.97 at Walgreens), this glamorous duo aims to prove that style can be a steal.

Worst Red Lipstick: Milani’s Glitzy Glamour Gloss in “All About Me” ($6.99)

Take it from us, ladies, avoid red lip gloss at all costs… especially this one. Perhaps as punishment for straying from red lipsticks into red gloss, “All About Me” ended up all over us; and the hue that had looked so beguiling in the drugstore left us looking more foolish than fashionable.

As a side note, we still live and die by Milani's Easy Lipliner Retractable Pencil ($4.99 at local drugstores or at "Cherry Pie," hand’s down the best bargain-priced red lip liner that we’ve reviewed.

Best Red Lipstick: VMV Hypoallergenics Velvet Matte Lipstick in "Light My Fire" ($27)

Color us yummy, thanks to VMV Hypoallergenics’ long-lasting "Light My Fire.”  This just-right-red is universally flattering, hypoallergenic and 100% Free of Phthalates, Parabens + Preservatives. VMV Hypoallergenics Velvet Matte Lipstick  is made with green tea for antioxidant benefits plus virgin coconut oil for intensive moisturization.

Get it for $27 at

What's your go-to red hue? Do tell! Share the scoop in the comments below or better yet, head to our Facebook page and share pictures of your favorite red lippie.

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