MAC Viva Glam I: Why The Original Is My New Favorite Red Lipstick

A red lipstick that makes you feel famous--and charitable--is a must in my book.
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A red lipstick that makes you feel famous--and charitable--is a must in my book.

I pride myself on owning every permanent and many of the limited-edition red lipstick in the MAC line. It's a sickness, OK? MAC makes my favorite reds, hands down. I'll go to my grave wearing Ruby Woo. (Currently praying they make Riri Woo permanent.)

Every time I'd visit the counter, the girls would ask if I had Viva Glam I. I always wrote it off as too brown, not loud enough for my sassy mouth.

What was I thinking? Viva Glam I is PERFECT.


It took the latest Viva Glam I campaign, featuring original 1994 face of Viva Glam, RuPaul, to grab me by my proverbial horns and force me to purchase this beauty. The photos of my angel and icon Ru, spelling out "VIVA GLAM" with her hot body in a shiny red ensemble with matching boots caught my eye and I handed my $15 over without a second thought.


Viva Glam I is a matte crimson red with just a hint of brown. It's deep and dramatic but still easy to wear; it flatters a variety of skintones. 

Though it leans a bit brown, Viva Glam I is a slightly blue-based red. It's been my shade of choice for a few weeks now. I get more "Are you a movie star?" questions (it's the pale hair + red lip equation) while wearing this than any other shade I own. A red lipstick that makes you feel famous is essential in my book.

It's the holiday season, which means that even though I'm spending, spending, spending on my friends and family, I'm also trying to give a little to those not as fortunate as me. It's hard, because I often fall prey to the "one for you, one for me" gift game.

MAC's Viva Glam campaign is commendable because they donate every single penny of your Viva Glam purchase to the MAC AIDS Fund, which supports those living with HIV/AIDS. The program began nearly 20 years ago, and since then, MAC has launched six Viva Glam shades with accompanying lip glosses. They’ve raised over $270 million; pretty awesome, right?

The MAC crew also visits those living with HIV/AIDS and does “makeovers,” boosting their confidence and helping those with physical signs of AIDS camouflage them with makeup.


I know that purchasing a lipstick isn't akin to donating millions of dollars to charity, but it's something. And if my $15, which I would've spent on lipstick anyway if we're being real, can help somebody, then I'm handing over my credit card.