The 13 Best Red Lipsticks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

For a long wear, classic red there's no better option than Dior Rouge Forever Liquid Lipstick.

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Red Lipstick Test

Tamara Staples

Red lipstick, a statement for some and an everyday staple for others, is essential in everyone’s makeup collection. Finding a red that has a vibrant punch, is long-lasting, and complements your complexion may seem like a taxing feat, but fortunately, we did all the intensive testing for you. We found that a single, perfect red lip doesn’t exist — 13 actually do. Whether you’re searching for that Taylor Swift red or hoping to find a deep burgundy, this list has you covered. 

With the help of our thorough testers, we tested  29 of the most highly-rated red lipsticks on the beauty market. Noting comfort, pigment, transfer resistance, and wear, our testers narrowed the top picks down to the 13 best red lipsticks sure to give you that perfectly bold pout. It’s no surprise that Dior Rouge Forever came out on top — thanks to its long-lasting, matte formula, it’s the perfect red lipstick for every occasion. 

Without further ado, here are the best red lipsticks.

Best Overall

Dior Rouge Dior Forever Liquid Transfer-Proof Lipstick

Rouge Dior Forever Liquid Transfer-Proof Lipstick


What We Love: This long wear lipstick delivers a pigmented, even finish that lasts all day.

What We Don’t Love: It can transfer when you apply a gloss over it.

This 12-hour longwear lipstick packs a pigmented punch. Available in five bold shades of red (including burgundy and rich cherry red), this lippie was the clear winner among the products we tested. According to our tester, it glides evenly onto lips and creates a clean, opaque finish in a single swipe. “This lipstick looks great immediately upon application — it dries quickly, and there’s no smudging or bleeding,” she shares. The secret is in the doe foot applicator: Its pointed tip allows you to seamlessly define the edges and corners of your lips. 

Despite being matte, the lipstick doesn’t settle into fine lines or feel drying. Instead, the lightweight formula features dimethicone, which keeps lips soft and comfortable, and gives off a powder-soft finish. “The lipstick has little to no transfer, and I would feel comfortable wearing it all day without worrying about it fading,” our tester says. On days when you don’t want a matte look, gloss layers beautifully on top — just bear in mind, the lipstick tends to transfer more easily when topped with gloss.

Price at time of publish: $42

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 5|Size: 0.2 oz.

Best Splurge

Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance Lipstick

Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance Lipstick


What We Love: It’s easy to clean up any mishaps (you won’t be left with any red residue).

What We Don’t Love: The formula is slightly drying.

When you want a classic Hollywood red lip, you’ll want to grab Pat McGrath Matte Trance Lipstick. There’s so much to love about this luxe pick — starting with the glamorous, sculpture-esque packaging, but it’s what’s inside that truly makes it a winner. The rich bullet applies like butter and comes in seven red hues (ranging from a dark vampy red to a brighter strawberry stain). 

Though mattes have a reputation for cracking and settling into fine lines, our tester raves about how comfortable this one is, mentioning that it feels like a second skin. She also notes that upon application, cleaning up any mistakes was painless, which isn’t always the case when it comes to red lipstick. “With how pigmented the formula is, I was expecting any mistakes I made to smudge and be tough to remove, but it was actually easy to clean up the edges of my lips with a cotton swab.” While the product isn’t fully transfer-proof, the color remains vibrant, even while eating and drinking. The only downside is that testers found this lipstick slightly drying, so we recommend priming your lips with some lip balm to ensure they stay soft and supple all day long.  

Price at time of publish: $39

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 7|Size: 0.14 oz.

Best Budget

Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

Maybelline New York Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

Courtesy by Amazon

What We Love: The precise applicator allows you to accurately outline your lips — no lip liner required.        

What We Don’t Love: If you don’t wait for the product to fully dry before rubbing your lips together, the end result can feel clumpy.

Looking for a bold, long lasting red lipstick, but don’t want to spend a ton of money? Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick’s vivid color payoff, fully matte finish, and affordable price tag are just a few of the reasons why we think this pick should be in everyone’s makeup bag. Like the name suggests, this lippie is similar to tattoo ink, with impressive longevity and rich pigment. The precise applicator makes for an efficient application without the need of a lip liner, as the tip allows you to accurately line your cupid's bow and corners — sans mishaps. Our tester mentions that it also feels smooth and comfortable, and once dry, it doesn’t budge. “After my lips dry, there is little to no transfer when I eat or drink,” she says. Just make sure to let your lips fully dry before rubbing them together, otherwise the end result will feel clumpy. 

Price at time of publish: $12

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 7|Size: 0.14 oz.

Best Universal Red

MAC Original Lipstick

MAC Original Lipstick

What We Love: The lipstick remains vibrant throughout the wear and tear of your day.

What We Don’t Love: To keep your lips hydrated, you will have to apply lip balm on top every few hours.

If you’re just dipping your feet into the luscious red lipstick pool, we recommend opting for a universal red (i.e. one that looks impeccable on every skin tone). And there’s no better hue than MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo — if we can’t convince you, over 4,000 makeup lovers at Nordstrom have raved about the rich color. MAC is known for their vivid lipstick shades, and they have clearly nailed the perfect red tones. Upon application, InStyle’s Commerce Editor, Mary Honkus, finally understood the hype. “Despite being matte, it doesn’t settle into my lip cracks at all,” she says. “Plus, the color is rich without being too overpowering.”

While the formula is on the drier side, the matte finish ensures that this color stays looking fresh and bright all day. But, to combat any dryness, Honkus recommends applying a lip balm on top.

Price at time of publish: $21

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 3|Size: 0.14 oz.

MAC Original Lipstick

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Matte

Sunnies Face Fluffmatte Weightless Modern Matte Lipstick

Sunnies Face Fluffmatte Weightless Modern Matte Lipstick

Sunnies Face

What We Love: The powdery formula feels weightless on your pout.

What We Don’t Love: We wish there were more red shades available.

If you tend to stray away from matte lipsticks because of their drying tendencies, this pick will make you a matte fanatic once and for all. Like its name hints, this lipstick feels like a smooth, fluffy cloud and coats lips in a plush cushion, while the slightly powdery finish gives you a worn-in, effortless looking red lip. Caitlyn Martyn, Commerce Writer at InStyle, loves the buttery soft feel, saying, “maybe it's a placebo effect, but my lips feel like they are coated in a super smoothing powder.” Rather than settling into fine lines and making lips look dehydrated, this product is formulated with dimethicone, a conditioning agent that enhances your lips natural shape and wards off dry patches. With such great ingredients, we only wish more shades were offered.

Price at time of publish: $16

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 2|Size: 0.11 oz.

Sunnies Face Lipstick

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Liquid Lipstick

Makeup Forever Rouge Artist For Ever Matte 24HR Longwear Liquid Lipstick

Makeup Forever Rouge Artist For Ever Matte 24HR Longwear Liquid Lipstick


What We Love: The unique applicator hugs your lips, covering them in the perfect amount of product.  

What We Don’t Love: The formula tends to feather slightly at the cupid’s bow.

Want a budge-proof lip that catches everyone’s attention? Makeup Forever’s newest lipstick leaves your lips looking plush and vibrant. Our testers highlight how surprisingly comfortable the formula feels for a liquid lipstick. “It's obviously a little drying (just the nature of a product like this) but didn't make my lips look like a raisin or appear tight,” says Shannon Bauer, Senior Commerce Editor at InStyle. “Plus, it only took one dip into the tube to fully outline and fill in my lips with saturated color.” Once dry, the waterproof formula doesn’t budge, making it ideal for your next beach vacation or pool party with your gals. Note: Bauer did express that the red feathered around her cupids bow, so we recommend using a liner prior to application.

Price at time of publish: $25

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 5|Size: 0.15 oz.

Makeup For Ever Red Lipstick

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Hydrating

Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lipstick

Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lipstick


What We Love: The color payoff is striking, leaving you with the ultimate vibrant lip.   

What We Don’t Love: Don’t store it in hot places (like your car in the summer) because the bullet can get melty.

Take the term 'juicy lips' to another level with Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lipstick. Formulated with shea butter, maracuja oil, vitamin E, and grapeseed oil, the pigmented bullet acts like a balm to instantly hydrate your lips and leaves them looking brightly glazed. Our testers love how easily it applies: “It only requires one light coat for the color to fully saturate lips,” one reviewer says.

This lipstick is perfect for those who like a little shine rather than a matte finish. While it does transfer a bit, your lips still maintain vibrancy. “The color stays bold, bright, and in place on my lips with minimal smudging after eating and drinking,” shares our tester. But, be mindful of where you store it, because it can become very melty if left out in the heat.

Price at time of publish: $21

Finish: High Shine|Red Shades Available: 1|Size: 0.07 oz.


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Lightweight

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Fenty Icon The Fill Semi-Matte Refillable Lipstick

Fenty Icon The Fill Semi-Matte Refillable Lipstick


What We Love: The chic packaging is refillable.

What We Don’t Love: The formula transfers slightly when eating and drinking.

The semi-matte formula of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna The Fill Semi-Matte Refillable Lipstick feels weightless on your lips — so much so that you’ll forget your lips are cherry red until you look in the mirror. This lip-rouge flows easily on the surface of your lips, instantly coating them in luscious pigment. “I love the light and smooth feel on my lips,” our tester shares. Plus, it only requires one full swipe for lips to be completely coated in an even red finish. While this lippie does fade when eating and drinking, it doesn’t smudge, so you won’t need to prime your lips with a liner. “I’m impressed this didn’t bleed at all; sometimes without liner I’ll get some feathering, but this is solid,” our tester explains. Aside from its vivaciously bold and lightweight formula, the product also comes in sleek refillable packaging. Once you finish a bullet, choose between three  scarlet hues, then pop it into the metallic case and you’re ready to pucker up and apply!

Price at time of publish: $20

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 3 |Size: 0.134 oz.

Fenty Beauty Lipstick

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Color Payoff

ILIA Color Block High Impact Lipstick

Ilia Color Block High Impact Lipstick


What We Love: This lippie is clean and vegan. 

What We Don’t Love: While anyone can wear this red hue, it complements those with cooler undertones best.

Whether you like to go bold on the daily or reserve it for  special occasions, everyone needs a signature red lipstick — and ILIA makes a great one. The Color Block High Impact Lipstick delivers vibrant color payoff with minimal effort. Our testers highlight how easy the lipstick glides over their lips: “The [rouge] is very soft, and the moisturizing components make it easy to apply,” shares one tester. Plus, the formula never feels tacky or cakey, even when reapplying throughout the day. Not to mention, the lipstick is also clean — free of phthalates, formaldehyde releasers, oxybenzone, and octinoxate — and cruelty-free, so you can feel extra good about your purchase.

Price at time of publish: $28

Finish: Satin|Red Shades Available: 1|Size: 0.14 oz.


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Vegan

Uoma Beauty Badass Icon Matte Lipstick

Uoma Beauty Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in Whitney


What We Love: Infused with mango butter, this lipstick helps to restore dry lips.

What We Don’t Love: If you don’t prep your lips with lip balm the product can settle into cracks.  

Beeswax is a popular lipstick ingredient that works to moisturize lips — but unfortunately, it’s not vegan. In Uoma Beauty Badass Icon Matte Lipstick, lesser used mango butter replaces beeswax to create a lip product that is just as nourishing and better for the environment. The creamy bullet hydrates your lips while delivering a subtle matte finish that is sure to become a staple in your makeup routine. Compared to other red lipsticks that need to be layered to provide vibrancy, our tester says one swipe is all you need for the ideal color. Despite the hydration factor, this lipstick eventually does settle into fine lines (because it’s matte), so be sure to prep your lips with a lip balm to prevent that from happening.

Price at time of publish: $24

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 2 |Size: 0.12 oz.

UOMA Red Lipstcik

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Refillable

Guerlain Rouge G Customizable Lipstick

Guerlain Rouge G Refillable Lipstick


What We Love: This lipstick comes in a variety of different finishes — matte, satin, and metallic.

What We Don’t Love: The color is more sheer than we expected.

Sure, there are plenty of refillable lip products — but this one from Guerlain stands out from the rest because it’s completely customizable. First, select your case, choosing from different colors, prints, and textures. Then, pick between nine scarlett hues and three different finishes (matte, satin, or metallic) to find your perfect lipstick. 

Because the bullet is creamy and lightweight, it effortlessly smooths onto lips. “I'd feel comfortable applying this lipstick even without a mirror, as it layers on very smoothly almost like a lip balm, but thicker and with pigment,” our tester shares. If you’re newer to red lips and tend to shy away from the bold color, this is a great option for you as it isn’t super vibrant. “It almost has a carefree and casual blurring effect like it has been worn for days,” adds our tester. “It's really giving Parisian luxury.”

Price at time of publish: $34

Finish: Matte, Satin, Metallic|Red Shades Available: 9|Size: 0.12 oz.


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Long Lasting

Melt Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick

Melt Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick


What We Love: This lipstick will last you from morning to night with little to no transfer.

What We Don’t Love: The formula will highlight any dryness, so be sure to exfoliate prior. 

When you start your day with a bold red lip, more often than not it will be gone by lunchtime. That’s not the case with this long wearing lipstick from Melt Cosmetics, though — it will look just as fresh at the end of the night. With long lasting pigmentation, this formula is for the die-hard red lip wearer. As our tester notes: “There wasn’t any transfer and I’m sure this lipstick will last for hours on end.” Be sure to exfoliate prior to using this liquid lip as our tester did find that it clung to dry patches. Hot tip: you’ll want to use a bit of makeup remover on a cotton pad to fully remove this stain. 

Price at time of publish: $34

Finish: Matte|Red Shades Available: 2 |Size: 0.106 oz.


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Best Selection of Reds

Smashbox Be Legendary Prime & Plush Lipstick

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick


What We Love: Formulated with peptides, this lipstick keeps your lips supple and plump.

What We Don’t Love: You may need to reapply this lipstick after a few hours.

There’s no such thing as too many red lipsticks (take it from someone who has over a dozen and counting). With six vibrant red shades to choose from, Smashbox checks every box in terms of undertones and brightness. Featuring cool tones, warm tones, burgundys, and scarlets, the legendary lipstick range has something for everyone. Coming in a gorgeous satin finish, it highlights your lips natural shape and plumpness thanks to the formula laced with peptides and ceramides — ingredients that will keep your lips comfortable and nourished. “It is easy to apply, and feels smooth, light, and moisturizing,” our tester raves. While this lipstick is long lasting, it’s not totally transfer-proof, so you’ll probably need to reapply after eating.  

Price at time of publish: $24

Finish: Satin|Red Shades Available: Six|Size: 0.14 oz.


InStyle / Tamara Staples

Our Testing Process

To start, we investigated the top-rated red lipsticks on the market. After conducting some online research, we were able to come up with a list of 29 top-rated red lipsticks. We then enlisted the help of volunteers to evaluate each of the red lipsticks on a scale of 1 to 5 for four categories: Comfort, pigment, transfer resistance, and overall wear. Once all of the testers provided their feedback and results, we were able to pull together their findings and narrow down the list to the 13 best red lipsticks.

Red Lipstick Test

InStyle / Tamara Staples

What To Keep in Mind 


When it comes to lipstick, professional makeup artist, Monica R, emphasizes that finding the right finish is vital to get the most out of your lipstick. Most lipsticks come in a matte, satin, or shine finish. If you’re looking for something long lasting, she recommends picking one with a matte finish (like the Sunnies Face Fluffmate) as they contain less moisture which makes them less transferable. If you have naturally drier lips, we recommend picking a hydrating lipstick with a shinier finish — one of our favorites is Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lipstick. Most lip products that have a shiny finish are naturally more moisturizing as they are formulated with oils and vitamins. Another option (if you want the best of both worlds) is opting for a satin finish. This finish is great for those who want more of a natural look on their lips. ILIA Color Block High Impact Lipstick is one of the most comfortable satin finish lipstick around.


When choosing which shade of red to wear, R notes that it’s necessary to understand your skin’s undertones to find what reds look best. Naturally, cool-toned reds compliment fairer skin. On the other hand, if you have more of an olive skin tone (like R), orange and warm-toned reds complement it and will give you a healthy glow. Darker skin tones can handle brighter, more intense colors. If you have darker skin, opt for deeper burgundy hues. At the end of the day, you should wear what makes you happy and what you feel confident in. (And if you’re unsure of your undertone, opt for a universal red, like MAC Retro Matte Lipstick.)

Red Lipstick Test

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Your Questions, Answered

How do you wear red lipstick?

“I think red lipstick is the perfect statement and can uplift our mood or confidence when we use it, so on those days that I feel a little down or I need a boost, it's a great choice!” says Mariela Bagnato, professional makeup artist and founder of MBeauty. One of her favorite ways to wear a matte red lip is to pair it with a striking cat eye. She also loves wearing “minimal makeup with dewy skin, a ponytail, and a pop of color just on the lips,” for an easy everyday look.

What's the best way to apply red lipstick?

When it comes to applying red lipstick, there’s quite a bit of prep work involved to ensure it goes on flawlessly. “I love to exfoliate my lips prior to applying any lip to remove dry skin,” Bagnato says. After exfoliation, apply a hydrating balm to lock in moisture. 

If you’re worried about the lipstick feathering or bleeding, R recommends using a budge-proof lip liner, to ensure the lipstick doesn’t move. Bagnato likes to dab creamier formulas with a tissue to remove any excess product that can transfer. Once applied and dried, R says to clean the edges with a concealer so the end result is clean and crisp.

How can you get red lipstick out of clothes?

Nothing is worse than getting red lipstick on your favorite white button down. Fortunately, there are ways to remedy any makeup mishaps. First and foremost, don’t ever rub, as you run the chance of spreading the product and having it bleed. Instead, use alcohol or a stain remover to blot the stain with a damp cloth. After dabbing for a few minutes, run your garment under cold water to rinse off any remnants.  

Red Lipstick Test

InStyle / Tamara Staples

Why Shop With Us

Amanda Rosenthal is a commerce writer for InStyle. Amanda has experience researching and testing different makeup products and has tried tons of different lipsticks. With additional knowledge from professional makeup artists, Mariela Bagnato and Monica R, and first-hand experience trying out numerous red lips, she rounded up the top picks for this story. 

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