I’ve always loved the look of a classic red lip. When browsing lipsticks in any drug store, I am inevitably drawn to shades of red. Bright red.
Of course, love of color cannot entirely overcome fear of color – while I am automatically pulled towards these shades, I am terrified of wearing them out in public. A pale redhead wearing red lipstick might seem a bit like overkill, you think? In addition to that, I was worried about looking like a clown. So for years, I have been hunting for the perfect red. The red I will not be afraid to wear in public.
Here are swatches of each color on my inner arm:
From left to right: MAC’s Russian Red; MAC’s Ruby Woo; MAC’s Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick; MAC’s Viva Glam Rihanna Lipglass; Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiery; L’oreal Colour Riche #179 Cherry Tulle; L’oreal Colour Riche #315 True Red; and Revlon’s Just Bitten Lipstain & Balm in Gothique/Gothic.
I apologize in advance for the strained smiles/crazy eyes – after awhile of taking pictures, you just want to hurry up and get a good one to go try the next color! Without further ado, here’s how all these reds stack up against each other on thin lips and very pale skin:
MAC’s Russian Red:
This was the first red lipstick I ever purchased. It’s a deeper blue red (as opposed to an orange red), and is quite dramatic.
MAC’s Ruby Woo:
MAC’s Ruby Woo is a cult favorite that I’ve only picked up recently. It’s incredibly bright, and I personally prefer Russian Red to Ruby Woo for that reason.
MAC’s Viva Glam Rihanna:
My love for red lipstick had me snagging MAC’s Viva Glam Rihanna when I picked up Ruby Woo. This has a lot of red sparkle in it. It’s hard to capture, but looks beautiful in person. I would say it’s similar to Ruby Woo but with lots and lots of red glinting sparkle.
MAC’s Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick with MAC’s Viva Glam Rihanna Lipglass:
This is actually a sheer gloss with a lot of color and sparkle to it (as you can see on the swatch). It’s really meant to be worn over the top of other lipsticks to give them an extra pop of color and sparkle. Above, it’s pictured over the Viva Glam Rihanna lipstick. You can clearly see it’s a lot more vibrant.
Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in 01 Fiery:
This is the darkest red lip I have, as well as the strongest pigment – a little goes a long way with this one. I will also note that it is the second most difficult to remove – it really wants to stay on your lips!
L’oreal Paris Colour Riche #179 Cherry Tulle:
When I purchased this I was digging around in the drugstore for a decent red lipstick. This one looked bright red in the tube but when applied goes on very very sheer. Even multiple layers of color don’t make it brighter – it will only stay a soft pink. My biggest red lipstick disappointment.
L’oreal Paris Colour Riche #315 True Red:
This was a much better drugstore gamble that paid off. If you’re looking for a cheap red, L’oreal Paris #315 True Red isn’t a bad choice. It does require extra applications to get a deep color (as you can see by the swatches, it’s not nearly as pigmented as the MAC colors). It’s also very moisturizing on the lips.
Revlon’s Just Bitten Lipstain and Balm in Gothic/Gothique:
This was the most difficult to remove (actually I didn’t really manage to remove it – I gave up after swiping at my lips with makeup remover for five minutes). It does fade to a pink color over a couple hours but Revlon’s Just Bitten Lipstain has great staying power. It’s a pretty red, and you simply apply it by drawing on your lips (it looks like a giant marker). You can apply as many layers as you want to get a good deep color.