To organize this post and help you all make sense of the variety on here, I'm going to structure it according to texture and pigmentation firstly. For instance, I'll be covering the lip butter/lip gloss category first, then move on to traditional lipstick type products and then on to lip pencils and a lip stain. Further, I'll include swatches and product pictures at the beginning of each sub-section and put a picture of my lips with the product on them, for each product description (Please excuse the inconsistency in lighting, especially with the lip swatches - if you know anything about Miami weather, you'll know the quality of daylight changes drastically from hour to hour, and I was photographing over an entire morning!). Finally, I'll be adding product links (to websites such as SEPHORA, ULTA, etc.) embedded into the names of the products. Hope that makes sense; it does in my head!
I hope you guys enjoy and let me know which products you are going to try out, or already own and love! Without further ado, let's get down to business, shall we?
Let's begin with a sheer formula for those of you who are uninitiated to the domain of red lips. Or if you're like me, and can never have too many lip balms! KORRES makes some of my absolute favorite products, and the crown jewels in my collection are several of their lip butters. These are incredibly moisturizing, smell heavenly (the scent coordinates with the flavors - this one ACTUALLY smells like roses!), and are sheer enough that you don't have to worry about reapplying without a mirror. But they have that "your lips but better" effect that's irresistible! You'll love them and you simply cannot go wrong with them! At $12, you get 0.21 oz (6g), which has lasted me for over a year and I use these pretty often!
This one's an absolutely gorgeous orange-red, which is HOT-HOT-HOT this season. From high-end beauty brands like YSL, CHANEL, and Dior, to runway shows like DKNY and DSqaured2, bright orange-reds were hot for the lips throughout spring/summer 2014 collections. This is a great way to test the waters on this trend: sheer, juicy, and absolutely divine. I'll be giving you some other options later on that pack a bit more punch, but this is great for starters and those looking for a moisturizing, sheer version of this "orangey" perfection! You could pick these REVLON lip butters up at anywhere ranging from $5.99 to $7.99, depending on which drugstore you're shopping at, and even cheaper if you can get it on a deal such as the ones CVS or Walgreens often have - buy one, get one 50% off. As a matter of fact, ULTA is having that exact deal right now - so follow the product link here, and go grab yourself at least a couple gorgeous shades in this formula! Can't beat the price!
When it comes to lipglosses, there are few formulations on the market - both high-end and low-end considered - that I prefer more than the REVLON ones. They just know how to do glosses just right. Not too sticky, great pigmentation, pretty good lasting power, and an excellent price-point. I mean, come on. Those are my bare lips with nothing but the lipgloss on. Who needs lipstick?! These are $7.99, as well, on ULTA.com, and frankly, they will expire sooner than you can go through the entire amount. Unless, of course, you love this one so much you start wearing it everyday. For which, of course, I won't blame you.
This is perhaps the most misleading swatch/shade in this collection of lip colors. I know it looks more pink than red (even in natural light, I know!), but you have to trust me when I say it turns up most definitely red than pink on your lips. Granted, it is a more rosy-pink variation of red, but a red it most definitely is. This is incredibly wearable, and a lipstick formulation REVLON's are probably my absolute favorite from the drugstore. I have over ten different shades from their Super Lustrous line and not a single one of those has ever disappointed me. Once again, ULTA is having a "buy one, get one 50%" deal, so please do follow the link here to nab yourself some. For the price, you'll cherish these super-pigmented, gorgeous lipsticks!
This is an absolute classic and has a rich history and cult following for ages. It cannot get more pin-up, fire engine true red than this one. There's not much I have to add on this particular shade, other than the fact that it flatters everybody, from ones with the palest complexions to the those with darker skin tones. I did not use a lipliner for the purposes of this picture, so that the swatch is true to color, but I would suggest that you do with such a deeply pigmented shade of red. At $16, M.A.C. is definitely putting their lipsticks out of reach of quite a few people, and if you want my absolutely honest opinion - there are drugstore dupes that can do exactly what this one does, and more. Check out the REVLON lipsticks for instance (previous one). Same amount of pigmentation, same - if not more - variety of shades, and half the price. So, yeah. My verdict: if you want to splurge on a M.A.C. lipstick, this is one of the best ones you can get yourself, but if this is too pricey, despair not. There are tons of drugstore gems in ruby reds!
"Russian Red" might be the cult favorite, but I'll choose M.A.C.'s "Chili" any day if I had to choose my top five lipsticks from the brand. This is a far more unique shade of red, and we're back to the orange-reds with this one. But this is not at all the kind of neon oranges or reds you'll see on editorial shoots often. Rather, it's a much more paired down, wearable shade of red, leaning towards a brick or terracotta, once it's on your lips. One of the reasons I love M.A.C.'s Matte finishes so much is because they may well be one of the most comfortable matte textures on the market. They are moisturizing and yet pack the high pigmentation and longevity of a typical matte finish. A bunch of brands make pretty good creme and high-shine finishes, but very few make great mattes. This is definitely one of them. Go to your nearest M.A.C. store, and give it a go, and you'll know what I mean!
Now, this is a true orange red. The pigmentation with the lipsticks in this "Vivids" range is just unbelievable. As a matter of fact, for pretty much all of the other shades I had to pass since they were just a bit much, even for me! This, I found, to be the only shade that was flattering enough: it added an incredible punch of bold color, without clashing against my skin's warmer undertones. They're an absolute bargain for the pigmentation and the longevity that you get, for $7.49. And yes, ULTA is running that same deal on these, too. I think it's time I stop writing this post, and nab some of those deals myself!
Once again: apparently more pink, but trust me, I wore this shade on my wedding day with M.A.C.'s "Russian Red" and it most definitely translates as a red on your lips. Now, you may wonder why I'm swatching and mentioning just a lipliner on its own. Well, I for one, love wearing lipliners on their own for several reasons: the pigmentation, the long-lasting formulas, and most definitely the shade itself. For the intent of this post, I wanted to include a couple of my favorite reds so you could either pair them with a red lipstick or just a red lipgloss over the top, or you can be a daredevil like me, and wear these on their own! These NYX ones are, in my opinion, the best bang for your buck on the market. Period. High-end, low-end: I've seriously tried them all. The formulation and ease of wear plus the seriously amazing price tag that these lip liners come with, make them my top choice, especially if you want to build your own little collection of shades. They're just $3.49 on ULTA, and you can sometimes find them even cheaper on websites like CherryCulture, when they're running a deal on their NYX products!
Can I just say: the picture DOES NOT do this shade justice. I mean, it's just an absolutely delicious (for lack of a better) shade, and no matter how I tried to change the lighting, do some post-editing, nothing could match the shade of the lip pencil in my hand! This is perhaps the most stunning lip pencil, or just lip color in general, I have ever found. I find myself gravitating towards this shade for so many different red lip looks. When I'm wearing a darker red, such as "Russian Red" from M.A.C., I'll use this one just in the center of my lips to give a more three-dimensional look to the lip. I've had this on under a bright pink lipstick and together they've created just a most unusual and custom shade, and I loved the fact that nobody else probably had that exact shade of lipstick! And the price you ask? $4.29. Yep. Dwell on that for a few minutes. And then please head on here to get this beauty!
Let's end on a really beautiful, subtle, and wearable red. After swatching the shade on my arm I did debate for a while about whether to put it under my "REDS" or to save it for my "ORANGES/PEACHES" series. But then once I had it on my lips, it was most definitely a true, but soft red. This shade is just, in one word: elegant. It is so versatile - appropriate for younger girls in school/college, appropriate for the workplace, and for any of you looking for a quick-to-apply formula that requires minimal to no touch-ups. That's the best part about these lipstain formulations that come in the jumbo-pens-with-a-felt-tip format. At first glance, you wonder: "are these supposed to go on my lips or on a piece of paper?" But once you apply them onto your lips, the color is there to stay, and the felt tip makes it so easy to apply precisely with ease! There's only one bad news: apparently, NYC is not selling this particular formulation widely any longer, although CVS has a couple shades available here, and you can check here on Walmart to see if the shade becomes available (do check your local drugstores; mine often still has these). However, there a number of places online, such as Amazon, that sell a bunch of the shades, and also offer bundles, so you can save a pretty penny. These lipstains are already quite affordable, but buying a few of them together might be an even better deal! And trust me, you'll use these babies in the hot summer months, when you might not want anything heavier than a stain on your lips!
I absolutely LOVED writing and preparing for this post! I honestly believe too many of us shy away from the bright lip colors because we either think we don't look good in them or we cannot pull them off or people think we look crazy, and so on. Trust me - I've been there and done that. I was told for the longest time that I had too fat lips to wear lipstick, let alone bright shades. Then there was a wonderful makeup artist who once told me she wished she could paint a bright red shade on my lips every day, she loved my lips so much. And that changed everything! I've never stopped experimenting with bright shades since. So, I hope that in my own little way, I could give you guys some inspiration to go out there, find a bold shade that catches your fancy, and just try it on! Wear it around the house for a few times (this way the only people who'll think you're crazy are your family), and you'll realize it's more about getting comfortable looking at your own reflection in the mirror wearing that brilliant red, than about what others think of you wearing it. And if they still say something: who cares, really?!
Much love, my beauties!