Melissa Juried Kriebel
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There is a gorgeous, festive red lipstick shade out there for everyone. While red isn’t technically a neutral, it’s a traditional lipstick color that pairs well with almost everything—from disco ball silver to earthy brown—for any occasion.
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Even if you know your ideal shade, you want to make sure you can find it in a formula that stays put and feels comfortable on your lips. After all, the holidays mean smooching, eating and being merry—no time for constant mirror-checks to make sure color isn’t smeared outside your lips. To help you out this season, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best red lipsticks in matte, gloss and satin finishes that’ll complement all complexions.
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1. For a versatile, classic red: Fenty Icon The Fill Semi-Matte Refillable Lipstick in “The MVP”
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is known for its inclusive range of complexion products, so it comes as no surprise that the brand makes a red lipstick that complements most complexions, too. The Fenty Icon The Fill Semi-Matte Refillable Lipstick in the shade “The MVP” is stellar pick, as it goes on creamy and glues itself to the lips, meaning it can stand up to a New Year’s toast or gingerbread cookie tasting.
2. For a bright, candy cane color: Stila Stay All Day Matte Liquid Lipstick in “Beso”
The shade “Beso” in the Stila Stay All Day matte Liquid Lipstick line is the red that keeps on giving; it’s been around for years despite competing iterations popping up all the time. The hue gives off candy cane red, which makes it more festive for the holiday season. Its matte formula claims to last up to 12 hours on the lips without drying them out, though you can top this with a balm or gloss to add sheen.
3. For a glossy finish: Revlon ColorStay Satin Ink Liquid Lipstick in “Fire & Ice”
When your family gets matchy matchy for holiday photos, consider the Revlon ColorStay Satin Ink Liquid Lipstick in the shade “Fire & Ice” your way to stand out. This drugstore option has a satin-gloss finish with the staying power of a matte lipstick—it claims to last up to 16 hours. Plus, it won’t dry out the lips, thanks to vitamin E and black currant seed oil.
4. For a berry-toned red: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture The Bold High Pigment Lipstick in “Undeniable Plum”
For those who don’t want to go the classic red route, Yves Saint Laurent perfected a berry-red lip color that can be worn daily throughout the holiday season. The Rouge Pur Couture The Bold High Pigment Lipstick in “Undeniable Plum” claims to glide on easily and provide an opaque, satin finish in one swipe.
5. For a metallic flair: Kylie Cosmetics Wizard of Oz Metallic Lipstick in “Ruby Slipper”
The TikTok girlies are all excited for this lipstick, and it’s no mystery as to why. The Kylie Cosmetics Wizard of Oz Metallic Lipstick in “Ruby Slipper” contains glitter flecks and provides a satin finish that together look festive and bold on the lips. Swipe it on before a holiday gala or your friends’ secret Santa party; it’ll turn heads anywhere you go.
6. For a deep raspberry hue: Fashion Fair Iconic Lipstick in Rebel
Maybe you came to this list hoping to find a festive option that’s not the bright, siren-red you see everywhere this time of year. Allow Fashion Fair’s Iconic Lipstick in the deep wine shade “Rebel” to appease you. Fashion Fair is known for accommodating Black skin tones, and “Rebel” itself acts as a reddish neutral shade for people with deeper complexions. The satin-finish lipstick contains moisturizing, skin-smoothing ingredients such as sunflower seed oil and rosemary extract, too.
7. For an affordable pick: Wet N Wild Fa-la-la Lipstick in “Santa Snoopy”
Wet N Wild’s Fa-la-la Lipstick in the bold red color “Santa Snoopy” is available at the drugstore and only $6, making it a great grab when you’re running late to a holiday party or if you don’t want to invest in a color you won’t wear outside of the season. It has a cream-finish and contains a touch of shimmer that makes it catch the light and look luxurious on the lips. To keep the lips feeling comfortable, the formula contains moisturizing vitamin E.
8. For a lip liner: Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in “Kiss N Tell”
Lip liner helps to define and shape the lips as well as keep lipstick from feathering outside of the lips’ perimeter. The velvety Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in “Kiss N Tell” is often sold out because it applies smoothly and has a water- and transfer-proof formula that stays put. Plus, you can pair it with a creamy lipstick or even a gloss and still reap its long-lasting benefits. “Kiss N Tell” is a classic, bold red shade that’s not too warm- (think orange-red) or cool-toned (blue-red), meaning it’ll pair well with the majority of reds you’re sporting this holiday.
9. For a glittery gloss: Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish Gloss in “Natalie”
If you want to go all out with a shiny, shimmery number on the lips, choose the cherry-red shade “Natalie” from Buxom’s Full-On Plumping Lip Polish Gloss line. The gloss claims to make the lips look fuller with a peptide complex and vitamins A and E while adding a sheer wash of shimmery color. Apply this over a bolder red to add shine or wear it on its own for a more subtle hue.
10. For a low-maintenance balm: Jamie Makeup The Bloss in “The Red One”
Jamie Makeup’s The Bloss in the shade “The Red One” is for the folks who love that popsicle-stained look, i.e., those who prefer less of a commitment but still like the idea of wearing red. This glossy balm is a safe choice for someone just dipping their toe into a red lip. Its first job is hydration—for which it includes ingredients like squalane and hyaluronic acid—and the second is color.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.