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February 24, 2011

The Best Red Lipsticks of All Time

After months of BEGGING Kara Nesvig to write a guest blog about her all-time favorite red lipsticks, she came through with flying colors. The Vanity Project blogger and makeup collector owns nearly 60 tubes, the majority of them a shade of crimson. Today her obsession is our good fortune.

{Photos by Amy Gee}

Tools of the trade: For your lipstick to last and refrain from bleeding, a good primer is a must. I use MAC Prep & Prime, but any good waxy lip balm will help. (Try Burt’s Bees.) I don’t use a lipliner, but some red lip fanatics require one.

Best drugstore red: Even though they seal up the tubes so I can’t test the colors on my hand, I have the best luck with Revlon reds. Their Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice has been a best seller since the ’50s; no surprise, because it’s the perfect bright blue-red.

Best red gloss: Shout-out to my grandma for this one: Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss in Wet Cranberry. It’s a rich berry red with a slick of shine; kind of a fusion of lipstick and gloss. The old “finger in your mouth” trick is necessary for this one because it DOES tend to get all over your teeth.

Best orange-red: I hunted high and low for the perfect orange-red last year and it was right under my nose at the NARS counter. Those of you who favor a tinge of tangerine in your red must meet Heat Wave. I think it looks best in the summer with a bronze face and a little mascara.

Best look-at-me red: In my humble opinion MAC makes the best reds, and their ultimate is Ruby Woo, a super-matte “retro” color that never, ever fails to gain me some compliments. Dita von Teese endorses Ruby Woo, and if you can’t trust a modern-day pinup, who can you trust?

And a few other favorites . . .

Best no-fail reds: NARS Jungle Red and Illamasqua Maneater

Best stay-on-all-night red: Stila Long Wear Liquid Lip Color in Fiery

Best starter red: Lipstick Queen in Red Saint

Got a favorite red of your own? Do tell. And send pics!

  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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