The struggle to find the perfect red lipstick is real. Yes, there are so many options on the market, but finding the one shade that isn’t too bright, too dark, or too orangey—plus one that makes you feel glamorous and not like a clown—can take some serious work (and, in turn, require a lot of money and time).
If you have a red lipstick graveyard—a bathroom drawer overflowing with tubes that didn’t look right but you couldn’t bear throwing away—then you’re in luck. We asked makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, who has been doing makeup for 12 years, to help us find the one red lipstick that truly flatters all skin tones. She didn’t hesitate when we asked her for the perfect pick: Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in Dragon Girl ($26, narscosmetics.com). We wanted to put Katie’s pick to the test, so we gathered six staffers spanning skin tones and had Katie apply the lipstick on them. Then we handed each woman a mirror to reveal how the lipstick looked on their skin tone. Watch their reactions above. Turns out, Katie’s red lip pick really delivered. So much so, most of our testers asked if they could keep the lipstick. Bonus: the chubby crayon makes application easy. Simply line the outside of your lips, then fill in. The saturated color wears for hours without fading or bleeding outside the lines and though it has a semi-matte finish, it didn’t suck the life out of lips. Because once you finally nail down the perfect shade, you of course want to make sure it actually lasts through your latte and doesn’t feel like drying plastic wrap on your lips (yuck).