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The Red Lip: 4 Ways

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

The lipstick

The classic red lip is a very popular look at the moment, and there’s good reason for it. If applied properly, it can last hours and there are a variety of finishes.

For a classic pillarbox red, there’s MAC Ruby Woo. I’m sure you’ve heard of this one. It’s very matte, very simple, very statement, and if you’re going to buy one red lipstick, consider this one. However the matte finish can be a bit tricky if your lips are on the dry side, so bear this in mind.

My other MAC fave is Russian Red. This was my first red lipstick and it’s still got a special place in my heart (and makeup bag). It’s a deeper, classier red which looks different but equally great on all skin tones. Plus, although it’s also a matte formula, it’s definitely more slick and easier to apply than Ruby Woo, which I prefer. The lipliner I use with this is MAC Red Enriched cremestick liner. P.S. don’t forget, MAC lippies smell like vanilla and cake. Heaven. If that’s not worth paying the £15.50 price tag, I don’t know what is.

Left: Ruby Woo. Right: Russian Red

Non-MAC alternatives are Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate in 01 – a great all-rounder with an even better price tag, this lippie has a not matte but not glossy finish and is the perfect basic shade. Topshop Lipstick in Daredevil is a pinky-toned red which would look stunning on medium skin tones. Sleek lipstick in O.M.G! is a sheeny orange-red, perfect for summer and less formal than a true red. ELF lipstick in Posh is the cheapest of the bunch at £1.95. This is more of a plummy red which looks surprisingly good in the day time, and also works surprisingly well for the money. Finally is another ELF, this time a studio lipstick, in Velvet Rope. This is more of an orange which leaves the lips with a subtle wash of colour.


L to R: Rimmel Kate, Topshop, Sleek, ELF, ELF Studio

To keep your lipstick looking red-hot all night, apply a layer either straight from the bullet or with a lip brush, blot with a layer of tissue and reapply another layer. Alternatively, a product called Lipcote can be applied to seal in the product too.



If you fancy dipping a toe into the red lip pool but are a bit frightened to go for a full on high-pigment glossy lip, try a red-tinted balm such as the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm stain in 045 Romantic. This leaves your lips soft and moisturised, and there’s no fear of getting lipstick on your teeth. Plus, you can touch up on the go without a mirror because precision definitely isn’t an issue here. Revlon’s balm stains come in a handy jumbo pencil form so you can draw it on straight from the product.

Alternatively is Revlon (yes, I’m a bit Revlon mad!) ColorBurst Lip Butter in 035 Candy Apple which is also very moisturising and feels a treat on the lips.


Swatch picture L: Lip Butter, R: Balm stain



Lime Crime’s Velvetine in Red Velvet is probably the original of these badboy high-impact and long lasting creations. They go on wet like a gloss and dry to an amazing matte finish which lasts all day. These are perfect if you want a matte lip because the applicator means you can get a perfect outline – no lip brush required – and they really don’t budge. A cheaper alternative which is the red lip product I reach for 9 times out of 10 is Sleek Matte Me in 433 Rioja Red . I’m also desperately after the new Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Redrum, which looks along the same lines and has fab reviews so far – but unfortunately it’s sold out! The only downside to these kinds of products is that they may make your lips a bit dry if you wear them excessively (which may happen once you get your mitts on these!), so make sure your lips are well looked after with a good lip balm.


Sleek Matte Me (I’ve used this so much the cap has fallen off and the writing has worn off the packaging!)



If a matte finish isn’t your thing, stick to a red gloss. These can be quite casual or super vamped up depending on the product and whether or not you layer it over lipstick. Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stain in 040 Shanghai Sizzle is an orange-toned red which is so easy to wear you’ll be reaching for it daily. Contrastingly, Rimmel Apocalips in 400 Big Bang and OCC Lip Tar in NSFW are maybe the most glamorous of options, and although not an everyday pick, they will look A-MA-ZING on a night out either alone or atop your favourite red lipstick. Because these are so pigmented and more liquid than a lipstick, you will need to spend some time perfecting the outline, and you’ll definitely need a lip brush for the Lip Tar.


Bottom: L to R, Lip Tar, Apocalips, Revlon Moisture stain


What’s your favourite red lip product? Comment below or tweet us!


Edited by Jayde Richards

Hello there! My name is Jess. I am a third year Human Geneticist with a bit of a make up addiction. I am really excited to be on the Her Campus team this year and will be writing beauty blog posts fortnightly this year. Expect plenty of fuss about finding the perfect red lip and perhaps discover which pricey skincare products are really worth your student loan.
Sam is a Third Year at the University of Nottingham, England and Campus Correspondent for HC Nottingham. She is studying English and would love a career in journalism or marketing (to name two very broad industries). But for now, her favourite pastimes include nightclubs, ebay, cooking, reading, hunting down new music, watching thought-provoking films, chatting, and attempting to find a sport/workout regime that she enjoys!