Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Love That Red first hit cosmetics counters in 1951, but the poppy color continues to out-sell other reds. The secret to its success: The shade is neither too cool (a red with blue undertones, for example), nor too warm (an orangey red), so it flatters any skin tone. Plus, its moisture-rich formula feels great on lips.
Bold colors are what made MAC Cosmetics a cult makeup brand. So it’s no surprise that Russian Red Lipstick, a deep matte shade, is the company’s top red (although Dubonnet and Viva Glam, its subtler red sisters, aren’t far behind). The hue launched in the 80s, and even though trends have come and gone (remember shoulder pads?), Russian Red has never had a recession.
NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red is bright, bold, incredibly beautiful, and the company’s blockbuster. But unlike most matte and semi-matte formulas, the hydrating formula doesn’t dry out your lips. The color looks modern and chic on fair skin tones, and fresh and vibrant on dark ones.
A jewel-toned red, such as the top-selling Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipcolor in Royal Red, is really all you need to apply. The color (good for light, medium, and dark skin tones) instantly enlivens any face and creates a polished look. If desired, its cream formula can also be blended into cheeks.
Coco Chanel knew a thing or two about classics, and Chanel’s best-selling Rouge Allure Luminous Satin Lip Colour in Passion fits the bill. The juicy, tomato red looks as iconic as one of the company’s quilted handbags, and its formula is fortified with vitamin E and shea butter to soften lips.