Culture Loves: Red Lipstick Edition

"I got that red lip, classic thing that you like…”

Carol Lee, Bella Gil, Calais Watkins and Lauren Gruber

Maybe you’re afraid of red lipstick. Maybe you tried it once and were scarred by the image of the clown gazing back at you in the mirror. Maybe you whip it out once in a while when you’re feeling extra spicy. Or maybe you have a multitude of tubes in your collection in all the undertones and finishes possible. Whatever the status of your relationship with red lipstick, we know that you’re just dying to know what crimson lippies the editors at the Culture Desk keep on hand. As an early Halloween treat, here you go.

Dior Rouge Dior in 999
Easy to wear, easy to remove.

Lipstick hasn’t always been part of my repertoire. I always thought it brought too much attention to my lips and made me look too makeup-y — whatever that means. Of course, I still tried out lipsticks all of the time for fun. And then something marvelous happened. I found my perfect red lipstick: Sephora Collection’s Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red. The blue-toned red, paired with minimal eye makeup, made for a polished statement without making me look too made up. Plus, the gorgeous color made me want to draw attention to my lips. The only problem was, the liquid lipstick dried out my lips and was frustratingly difficult to remove. Thankfully, Rouge Dior in 999 came in clutch with its satin finish, easily removable formula and even more flattering mix of blue and orangey tones. My search for the perfect red lip ends here.  — Carol

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lipstick Palette
Multitasker extraordinaire.


I’ve lived my whole 19 years of life thinking that red lipstick wasn’t for me. Even my sister — whose opinion is the deciding factor for half of the things I wear — told me, “Yeah, I just don’t think you’re the type of person who can wear red lipstick.” I could never find a good shade that complemented both my skin color and hair color. I love lipstick, don’t get me wrong, but I usually stay away from the reds. I appreciate a good burnt orangey-red every now and then, especially Dose of Colors’ Cinnamon Swirl, but I don’t sport it often. When I told this to my fellow culture editors, they refused to believe it and were completely adamant that red lipstick is for everyone. With this newfound information in my head, I am now very eager to go to my Anastasia Lipstick Palette, mixing and conjuring up different shades to figure out which red is right for me. — Bella

Milani Color Statement Matte Lipstick in 67 Matte Confident
Confidence in a tube.

I’m not usually one to mess with red lipstick. Back in high school, I sang in a show choir that required us girls to wear red lipstick for every performance, and all those nights spent trying to perfect smudge-less application left me with an aversion to the whole ordeal. That being said, there are still special occasions when a red lip gives me a feisty confidence, making me feel like Marina and the Diamonds in “How to be a Heartbreaker.” For these few and far between nights, I turn to Milani’s shade 67. Milani makeup can be found at any drugstore, and while I wouldn’t classify it as a high-quality lipstick, the color is amazing and it gets the job done. Matte Confident isn’t made for long-lasting wear, but that’s perfect for me because I usually end up in the bathroom wiping it all off with a wet paper towel before the night’s over anyway. — Calais


Lauren wears MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red. (Photo by Lauren Gruber)

MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red
Perfect balance.

Like most makeup-wearers, the search for the perfect red lipstick has been a road paved with difficulties. Most blue-based reds wash out my light yellow-toned skin, while orangey reds are often too bright to be considered a classic red. I finally found my match with MAC’s Russian Red, a slightly deeper shade of rouge with cool undertones subtle enough to flatter my warm-toned skin and make my green eyes pop. Finally, I can channel my inner Angelina Jolie without looking clownish. — Lauren

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