The Effortless Red Lip: My Top Picks

Do I look Parisian yet?


I’ll always have a special place in my heart for a red lip. Whenever I wear one it means that Mark makes sure that there’s a five metre radius between us at all times because he’s terrified I’m going to smear it on him despite my demonstrations of just how hardy and transfer-proof the ones I wear are, but I just love the polished and Parisian vibe of a good rouge. Worn with minimal makeup it just freshens everything up and makes it look like you’ve made a bit of effort, even if it’s taken you two minutes. In terms of formulas I’m never down for a glossy finish when it comes to bold colours. Instead I like them matte, but soft and with an ability to last through a slice (or seven) of pizza without the need for a touch-up. Here are my favourites…


NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. I’ve been singing the praises of these matte textured, pencil formed products for years and yet they still continue to be my top bold lip pick. The major advantage here is that you don’t need to bother with a lip pencil (a double win if you’re lazy like me and don’t want to bulk out your stash with unnecessary items), a quick sharpen before each use is enough to get a defined contour. Colour-wise I’ve made a new discovery. Cruella has always been my most-used shade – can you tell from the little nub that I own? It’s a universally flattering deep, almost masala red. Then there’s Dragon Girl, which has a bit of a raspberry vibe about it. The pinky tones make it a good choice for those on the beginner’s level of bold lipstick wearing. But the newest addition to my collection is Mysterious Red and actually, it’s perfect. It sits somewhere between the other two to be the epitome of ‘letterbox red’ and is the one I’m wearing in the pictures. Love ’em.

MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo. I mean you can’t have a red lipstick round-up and not include Ruby Woo, right? There’s something about this colour. The intensity of it makes it almost neon – think ‘Gwen Stefani red‘. For that kind of colour pay-off though you do need to put in some groundwork. I do tend to line my lips prior to applying this and use the matching MAC Lip Pencil in Ruby Woo. Sure it’s a bit of extra work, but the matte-r than matte texture of this colour means that it’s not the easiest to spread so having that buffer of colour around the edges definitely helps things along. The plus point of that is that this lipstick grips on for dear life throughout the day and I can promise you that touch-ups will be minimal, if required at all. I love it worn with a light base, a curl of my eyelashes, a touch of something brown and moody on the eye.


NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Morocco. You know how I’m always going on about how I’m not the biggest fan of liquid lipsticks? Well, just know that I’m never referring to these beauties. Although they are delivered in liquid form, they’re more of a mousse and don’t suffer with the same über-drying fate of other formulas in the same category. Instead they slide onto the lips, dry down to a soft matte finish after a couple of minutes and do exactly what they say on the tin. Plus, the colour range is vast and features practically a complete rainbow of colours. I have a few (Cannes and Stockholm are well worth searching out if you fancy something nude), but Morocco is my favourite red. It differs from my other picks, not only in its formula, but also colour tone because it’s more of an orangey red. It’s a slightly punchier way to wear a red, especially in warmer climates; making this one my go-to in the summer months.

Photos by Lauren Shipley