I got my first tube of red lipstick at age 14. My mom took me to the Clinique counter thinking I'd want another gloss or perhaps Black Honey, but I had other ideas.
I wanted full-throttle Marilyn red, and that's what I got. It was called Deep Lacquer, a true crimson in the iconic silver Clinique tube. I still have it; there's just a tiny bit left. I felt so grown up and sophisticated when I was wearing it, as though I were living a life far more glamorous than the one I carried out in rural Minnesota. That single shade of red went with me from cheerleading to prom to graduation.
In the years since then, I've amassed a collection of over 50 lipsticks, most of them shades of red. I buy them from Nordstrom and CVS; the location doesn't matter, just the color. I feel most like myself with a bright red mouth. When I look like hell or am struggling with a massive Jameson hangover, I slick on some red lipstick and I feel OK. It's a confidence boost in the middle of a long day.
Dudes may be divided on a chick with red lips, but I don't much care. It's been a part of me for 11 years now; we ain't headed for no split.
The lovely Marci likes her red lippies to lean a bit orange; I count MAC's classic orange-based Lady Danger as one of my top five shades of all time because it looks insane with my summer tawny tan. But as a blonde with Scandinavian roots, a blue-based red looks a tish better on me year-round.
I firmly believe anyone can wear a red lip. It's easier than you think. I always advise people to buy a few inexpensive shades in the red family--one leaning blue, one orange, one brown--and see which ones flatter their coloring best. A great starter red is Lipstick Queen Red Saint, which contains less red pigment so it goes on sheer. Revlon Red Velvet ColorBurst Lip Butter is great to tiptoe into the arena with, too.
Blue-based reds suit slightly pink complexions perfectly and can even make your teeth appear whiter. Here are a few of my favorites. Choosing only a handful was pretty hard! And be warned: I don't mess around with red glosses. Go hard or go home!
MAC LIPSTICK IN RUBY WOO
Ruby Woo is my favorite red lipstick of all time. Period. I live for her. I lost my last tube at a boat wedding and immediately went to get a new one the next morning.
Ruby Woo is a "retro matte," which means once this stuff is on, it's not going anywhere. Some people find the texture uncomfortably dry, but I like my lipstick to feel a bit like paint. (If it bothers you but you love the color too much to let go, try using MAC's genius Prep + Prime balm pre-application.)
Ruby Woo is a loud cherry red that brightens up your whole face just like magic. She is not for the faint of heart, but she's practically perfect in every way, much like Mary Poppins.
WET N WILD MEGALAST LIP COLOR IN 911D
Please buy Wet n Wild's MegaLast lipsticks whenever you go to CVS so they never stop making them. They're only $2 and every shade is flawless.
911D, or "Red Velvet" as it's commonly known, holds her own next to many pricier brands. If Ruby Woo is a touch too chalky for you, 911D would be perfect.
ARMANI ROUGE D'ARMANI IN ROUGE 400
If you want to splurge on a fancy red lipstick, I'd recommend this one. Not only does the sleek black tube feel ultra-luxe, but the lipstick inside it is killer.
Armani managed to combine a long-lasting crimson red with a slight sheen that doesn't migrate and feels like satin. I call this my Christmas red.
NARS VELVET MATTE LIP PENCIL IN DRAGON GIRL
Easiest red lip ever. You're basically drawing it on like a crayon. I adore this mouthy chick for her insanely pigmented crimson hue.
Her sister Cruella, which is a bit darker, is also worth a purchase. These are my favorite for travel because you can apply them anywhere.
REVLON SUPER LUSTROUS LIPSTICK IN FIRE & ICE
This classic has been around for decades and for good reason. I love the Super Lustrous formula; it's smooth and creamy.
I always imagine Marilyn Monroe wearing Fire & Ice in character as Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It seems to pair well with diamonds.
HOURGLASS OPAQUE ROUGE LIQUID LIPSTICK IN ICON
What a stunner! Icon is darker, vampier, with the bluest undertones of the bunch. It's the perfect mix between red and berry.
This stuff is built to last; Hourglass claims 14 hours of wear, though I've only been able to hit about seven before she starts to fade. Icon looks incredible on chicks with blue eyes and/or with dark skin.
What are your favorite red lipsticks? Do you prefer your reds to lean blue or orange? Are you a member of the cult of Ruby Woo?