Tried and Tested – Red Lipstick
If there is one product that defines a bombshell it’s red lipstick – be it bold, deep, coral-tinted, orangey or bordering on blood-like, red lips scream bombshell. You’d never catch Audrey or Grace in any of these shades, would you? But Marilyn or Rita? Jayne or Jane? They lived in it. And many of them advertised it – mostly for Max Factor – a lipstick of choice for many a bombshell – check out Rita Hayworth in this ad (left).
But which one would they have chosen today if they had the choice we have? There are endless reds out there – some suit darker skin tones, some suit paler, some are orange based and warm, some blue based and cooler, more pink in tone. We don’t pretend this is the definitive guide to the best-ever red lipstick.
But I’ve worn red lipstick for a couple of decades at least – so I tested some of my favourites and a few new ones (and by tested I mean drank champagne in them, of course) and presented one with a Beauty Oscar, and nominated another. I have a very pale skin tone and bright red hair, so unless you have the same colouring please don’t take this as the definitive guide!
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Revlon Red, £7.29, www.superdrug.com
It’s been around for decades and it’s still one of the truest reds out there. It’s not too matte, and with a perfect matching nail polish, will give you true bombshell glamour. It will need reapplied a few times during the day or night however, but it will give you a Jane Russell-esque pout every time
Chanel Rouge Coco in Gabrielle, £21, www.chanel.co.uk,
Chanel launch their new lipstick range, Rouge Coco, on March 5. One of my favourite ever reds was New York Red, but with it no longer available, this gorgeous Gabrielle shade is a perfect understudy – it’s creamy, long-lasting and absolutely glorious! We adore Chanel here at BB, so we may be a little biased! It’s our Beauty-Oscar winner!
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place lipstick, Stay Scarlet, £16.50, www.esteelauder.co.uk
It does stay in place, but not for as long as I’d like. The colour is fantastic, but there’s something slightly greasy about it, not our favourite, but we’d never throw it out! It’s more of a blue-based red, and I prefer orange based colours.
No7 Stay Perfect Lipstick in Cherry, £13.50, www.boots.com
Quite a deep red, a little bit more ‘slidey’ (that’s a technical term) when applied, but it dries down quickly to a matte that might not even shift through a movie-star smooch with Clark Gable or Gary Cooper! It’s a lovely deep red, deeper than any of the others tested here.
Barry M Red 161 Pillar Box Red, £4.25, www.superdrug.com
You won’t be able to just wipe this off with a tissue. If I had to give a third place this would win it hands down – only recently nudged down the medal table by Chanel and MAC.
Barry M’s 121 is a bold, bright, fabulous coral-red with orange overtones. It is very matte – too matte for many, but if you add a tiny spot of lip balm over it, you may be able to live with it.
Sisley Hydrating Long Lasting Lipstick in Ruby Red, £29, www.sisley-cosmetics.co.uk
The most expensive lipstick here, and one of the most beautiful – gorgeous packaging, beautifully cut lipstick, and a really rich, bold red colour. It is long-lasting, and it is a blue-based shade, but it does come off after one or two glasses of bubbly!
MAC Matte Lipstick in Lady Danger, £12.50, www.maccosmetics.co.uk
This may not win our Oscar, but it is nominated. This is not for the faint-hearted, and it is a very coral-orange based red, and very matte, but it is simply stunning, and it will not move! I adore this lipstick – it’s vibrant, and makes you feel amazing when you wear it. Everything a red lipstick should do!