It's Unanimous: These Are Officially the Best Red Lipsticks That Money Can Buy

Few makeup products out there are as powerful as a great lipstick. In times of economic dismay, sales of lipsticks soar. We think that's because a small splurge on a single lipstick, whether it's luxury or more affordable, has the power to make us feel really good about ourselves. Without a doubt, lipstick is far more than what meets the eye. And this power is especially evident in red lipstick.

Red lipstick is widely regarded as the foundation of every makeup collection. Makeup artists are always telling me that no matter how lazy you're feeling, a single swipe of red lipstick could be all you need to make yourself feel pulled together. Don't fancy applying a full face? Just keep things bare and apply a long-lasting red lipstick—that really is all it takes.

Having said that, the glaring issue with red lipstick is that so many of us struggle to find the right one. If I had a pound for every time someone told me they don't suit red lipstick, I'd be a very rich beauty editor. But there is a red out there for everyone—you just need to know what to look for.

International pro makeup artist at Dior Jamie Coombes tells me that shopping for the perfect red comes down to two simple things: undertone and texture. The best way to find your skin's undertone is to look at the colour of the veins on the back of your wrist. If the veins appear blue-ish purple, your undertone is cool. If they appear blue-ish green, you have a neutral undertone. Veins that present a more olive shade of green imply you have a wam undertone. "The best shades for people with cool-toned skin are those with a pink or blue undertone; blue-based cherry and berry shades will suit well. Neutral-toned skin is best suited to oranges, terracottas and brick reds. Finally, warmer tones need more depth, so try a deep cranberry or plum shade," advises Coombes.

Once you've identified the best tone of red for your skin type, it's time to think about your ideal texture. As a general rule, most lipsticks come in either a balm, satin or matte finish. "When choosing the right texture for you, take into consideration your lifestyle, habits and lip condition. I see lipstick like wearing your favourite pair of shoes: We model the ones that make us feel most comfortable," says Coombes. So now that you're armed with all the information you need to select the perfect red, keep scrolling for the 15 best red lipsticks money can buy, according to team Who What Wear. (We have tried them all.)

1. Hermès Rouge Hermès Matte Lipstick in Rouge Casaque

As someone with particularly dry lips, I find matte lipsticks a nuisance. Their long-wearing nature and velvety-finish tend to go hand in hand with exacerbating dryness. The problem is I adore the way they look—particularly with bronzed, glowing skin. Believe me when I say this lipstick is the best cool-toned matte out there. It's silly expensive, but whenever I'm feeling down, this is the lipstick I reach for. It makes lips pop unlike anything else, receives countless compliments and doesn't leave annoying smudges all over my chin.

2. Dior Rouge Dior Forever Lipstick in Forever Dior

When I asked after beauty editor Eleanor Vousden's go-to red, I wasn't surprised to learn it's Dior's new Rouge Dior Forever. I've also found myself falling head over heels for this formula (although I wear the nude). "I recently discovered Dior's new Rouge Dior Forever Lipsticks, which claim to be transfer-proof for 16 hours. I'm that girl who always has lipstick on her teeth, so this sounded right up my street. The 999 Forever Dior shade might be my favourite red lipstick yet. It's a true red but has an ever-so-slight orange undertone, which does a lot more for my complexion than the cooler, blue-undertoned lipstick shades. It has a matte, petal-soft finish but doesn't dry out my lips at all. Upon application, you'll need to allow the lipstick to 'set' for a couple of minutes before letting your lips smack together, but it has the staying power to last throughout the day. I can see why it's gone viral on TikTok," she says. Watch it in action on TikTok here.

3. MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo

I couldn't possibly do a round-up of the best red lipsticks without including Mac's iconic Ruby Woo. It's commonly regarded amongst beauty experts as the single most universally flattering red—and I think they're right. I've never met a soul who doesn't look great in Ruby Woo. Since its launch, matte-finish lipsticks have come on a bit, but with a comfortable, creamy finish (as opposed to the velvet, powdered finishes we're used to seeing nowadays), it still deserves its place in the red-lipstick hall of fame.

4. Armani Lip Maestro in 307

When I first saw the above picture of editor in chief Hannah Almassi, I couldn't take my eyes off the stunning orange-red lipstick. I had been meaning to ask after it for some time, so I was overjoyed when I finally learned it was Armani's Lip Maestro. Hannah says, "One of my trustiest red lipsticks is a liquid Armani Beauty number. It goes on smoothly and precisely like a lip gloss thanks to a little brush, but it sets to matte quickly and stays put without feeling drying or uncomfortable. It's my go-to when I want to wear a red lip for a dinner party or evening event as I know it won't come off and look ropey halfway through the night."

5. Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Lipstick in Fire

There are few lipsticks that sit as comfortably on lips as Victoria Beckham Beauty's Posh. While the creamy, buttery nudes are divine, this popping red is the real standout. Kind of orange, sort of red but undeniably bright, it's the perfect lipstick for when you want to brighten up an otherwise monochrome look. And as for the finish, it's packed with lip-nourishing oils and waxes, so the creamy, satin texture leaves lips looking full and plump.

6. Revlon Colorstay Matte Lite Crayon in Air Kiss

If it's affordability you're after, this Revlon crayon is a must-try. Red lipstick is infamous for bleeding over the lip line and showcasing wobbly application, but this pointy-tipped crayon makes for perfectly precise edges. The matte-finish formula is truly long-lasting, takes hours to fade and doesn't leave lips feeling as though they're on the verge of cracking.

7. Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lip Colour in Velvet Jazz

Trust me when I say no one creates lipsticks quite like makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. The bullets are luxurious, stunning to look at, and even prettier on the lips. And it's for this reason that shopping editor Remy Farrell can't get enough of this one. "I have a lot of experience in red lipstick because I've been experimenting with shades for as long as I've been wearing makeup. As a picky shopper, I have quite an extensive list of what I do and don't like in a lipstick. I can instantly tell from the look of a formula if it's going to work (satin finishes are a no) and if the colour will suit me. (Cold, bluish reds are my go-to.) The only lipstick that I reach for time and time again is a long-wearing matte that doesn't dry out and crack. Lisa Eldridge's True Velvet lipstick in Velvet Jazz is a work of art. (I mean, just look at it.) It's surprisingly creamy, luxuriously decadent and impressively pigmented. There's an impressive shade range, too, if deep red isn't your style," she says.

8. Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Liquid Lipstick in Hot Pepper

This little guy is easily my most recommended makeup product. Every time I wear Hot Pepper, someone asks after it. While I tout Hermès's Rouge Casaque as my favourite red lipstick out there, this is easily the better option of the two. At just £8, it's shockingly good. The tiny doe foot allows for super-precise application while the velvety formula layers especially well.

9. Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Walk of No Shame

Charlotte Tilbury might be a brand best known for its iconic nude lipstick (hello, Pillow Talk), but this iconic red is equally adored. There's no one who loves a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick more than acting assistant editor Maxine Eggenberger. "There was a time when I would wear red lipstick every single day. Over the past couple of years, however, I've become loyal to more neutral-looking pinks and taupes. But a few weeks ago, I wore a cream outfit that really needed an injection of colour. Rummaging around in my beauty stash, I happened across an old favourite: Charlotte Tilbury's Walk of No Shame. The formula is matte without feeling dry or looking cakey, glides on like a dream and easily navigates the contours of my lips. The colour is perfect, too. I have alabaster skin, and rather than looking stark, the berry hue compliments it. I have naturally darker teeth and find this specific shade makes them look whiter, which is an added bonus. The moisture-rich formula also lends itself well to smudging, should you want a more relaxed finish. I hadn't worn it for a while, but you best believe I've worn it nearly every day since rediscovering it," she says.

10. Estée Lauder Pure Color Whipped Matte Liquid Lip in Love Fever

When I posted a picture of myself wearing this lip colour earlier today, Eleanor messaged me asking after it right away. Unlike any other product on this list, this formula is more of a whip than an ink, giving it a blurring, powder-like finish that layers up beautifully. The red itself is pinky in hue and more rose-like than others I've tried. With a suitably creamy consistency, it doesn't fuse with the lips and dry them out, so you do have to be careful when eating and drinking. However, if you have dry lips like I do, it's the perfect product.

11. Nars Must Have Lipstick in Inappropriate Red

There isn't a beauty editor out there who doesn't have at least one Nars lipstick in their collection, and for good reason. Beauty contributor Zeynab Mohamed says, "My favourite red is the Nars lipstick in Inappropriate Red. Typically, I find red lipstick super hard to wear, and it can look slightly off. But this red—a cooler, blue-toned lipstick—looks amazing against my skin tone and works well on my pigmented lips. I would never have chosen a blue-toned lipstick, but to my surprise, it's a really gorgeous, easy-to-wear shade. It's super easy to apply, and while it's a matte lipstick, it doesn't feel uncomfortable or drying on the lips."

12. Dries Van Noten Matte Lipstick Refill in Archive Red

I have only owned this lipstick for a few months, but I can safely say it's possibly the most hydrating matte formula I've ever come across. Formulated with rose-hip oil, it has the most beautifully soothing rose scent and balm-like feel. In a matching case (which you have to select and buy separately), it's also one of the most stunning bullets I have ever laid eyes upon. The icing on the cake, however, is the unique shade. Dubbed 'Archive Red' by the brand, it sits somewhere between a muted hot pink and a cool-toned red, but the matte texture gives the shade a dusty finish that looks timelessly chic. This lipstick is simply a masterpiece.

13. Maybelline Superstay 24 Matte Ink Lipstick in Pioneer

This is another affordable long-wearing option. When this product first came my way, Maybelline challenged me to apply it just before I ate dinner and see how well it stayed put. The brand guaranteed it wouldn't budge, and it was correct. Despite tucking into a full three-course, messy meal, this red stayed exactly where I had placed it. And then it stayed for longer, and longer, and a bit longer. In fact, when it came to removing this before bed, I had to use three different cleansers. If you're after a long-wearing red lipstick, this matte ink is it.

14. Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm in Pipsqueak

Totally different from anything else on this list, this red is actually a liquid balm. With a buttery, sheeny finish, it's primary goal is to nourish and moisturise dry lips—the brown-tinted, sheer-red finish is simply a stunning bonus. I rarely leave the house without this stuff in my bag—consider it your daily lip treatment and lip tint in one. Oh, and because it's not sticky like a gloss, it doesn't attract hair like a magnet (another bonus).

15. Guerlain Rouge G Satin Lipstick in 214

I simply couldn't finish this list without including Guerlain's Rouge G Satin in 214. If you aren't already familiar with Rouge G, let me enlighten you. Each lipstick is available exactly as pictured above—sans lid. You purchase the lid separately in whatever design you choose (of which there are loads). The lid itself contains a mirror that flips out automatically when you remove the lipstick, so you're always prepped for on-the-go lipstick application. Whenever I'm due a stressful day and I want to pack a red lipstick in my bag for emergencies, this is always the one I go for. It's one of the most enjoyable and comfortable makeup products I own.