If you looked inside my handbag, you'd be amused (or appalled, depending on your take) to discover a collection of red lipsticks at the bottom. They might give the impression of high-maintenance, but in fact they're a lazy girl's best friend, the not-so-secret ingredient that transforms any look. I've given up on finding the one, so here's my best attempt at narrowing things down: five of my current favorite red lipsticks and stains, ranging from bright to bordeaux and matte to glossy. Expect to see a different set when the warmer weather finally comes around again...
YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain No. 10 "Rouge Philtre"
Neither too orange nor too blue-toned, this two-in-one gloss/stain is a warm red with intense shine. Unlike traditional glosses, this one requires minimal touch-ups; I can even attest that it stayed in place throughout a three-course dinner. YSL Glossy Stains are buildable: sometimes I dab it on during the daytime, but two or three coats will give a bold color and dramatic glossy effect for evenings and festive occasions.
Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge in No. 9 "Burgundy"
Not one for the lipstick newbie, this bold, dark red stain delivers a rich pigment that stays put for hours. The double-ended doe-foot applicator contains the pigment on one side and the gloss on the other, which seals in the color and adds shine. While the wear isn't quite as even as the YSL stain, the color doesn't budge easily... a mirror and a steady hand are absolute necessities when applying this.
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in "Dragon Girl"
I sought this one out after Garance Dore professed her love for it. Though it's described as "siren red," it has a vibrant pink undertone compared to the other reds here. Because it's easy to layer, it's perfect for a day-to-night look.
YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lip Color in No. 32 "Pourpre Carmin"
You don't hear much about this color, but it's one of my favorite dark red lipsticks. Its satin finish makes the deep hue slightly more dimensional and wearable during the daytime. If you're looking for a bold alternative to bright red, try something like this.
MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in "Ruby Woo"
One of the most famous red lipsticks out there, Ruby Woo is said to suit all skin tones. I'm inclined to believe it; it's a classic, old-Hollywood-glamor red that if anything errs slightly on the cool-toned side. I know I'll be using this one year-round.
Please share your favorite red lipsticks!