The Perfect Red Lipsticks

Elizabeth Taylor knew the power of a perfect pout. As she famously said about getting through tough times (like...cough, 2020, cough): “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” And when it comes to star power, red lipstick reigns supreme; the color of choice for everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Jennifer Lopez.


Of course, not all red lipsticks are created equal. We turned to SwearBy’s in-the-know editor’s for their beauty products of choice, and sources run the gamut, from the drugstore to Bergdorf’s. Here, a few of their faves.

NARS Jungle Red Semi Matte Lipstick

Call this red lipstick Hollywood-ready. “I bought this lipstick for the sole reason that it’s Ali’s signature red from season 1 of Pretty Little Liars, and I’m so glad my passion for PLL led me to this awesome shade,” says Anastasia Foley. “It’s really easy to apply and doesn’t leave my lips feeling dry or sticky. If you’re looking for an orange-toned red, this is it!” Beth Beauchamp agrees, calling it the perfect “cool French-girl red.” With a name like that, who are we to argue?

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick

For a color that’s almost guaranteed to compliment any skin town, consider this well-priced beauty. “There’s a video on the internet with them trying The Fenty red on a wide range of skin tones, and it looked great on everyone,” says Yehua Yang. “This—01 Always Red—is that but at almost half the price. It STAYS ON, without drying out.” Margaret Flores calls it, in a word, clutch. “Not drying and cheaper than Kylie’s.” Sign us up. 

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick

In a world brimming with lipstick options, Maybelline still triumphs. “This is my go-to red,” says Morrigan Maza says of #800 Dynamite Red, only $9 for a two pack at “It is perfectly matte while still hydrating and never dry. I get compliments on it everyday.” Maybe she’s born with it…or maybe it’s Maybelline!

Zuzu Luxe Lipstick - Starlet - .14 oz

If you go organic as much as possible on your plate, why change the rules with the ingredients on your face? This brand, available at Whole Foods, is a go-to of Tiffany Yuen. “This is my favorite lipstick for daily wear! The formula is buildable and buttery and the ingredients are clean- no phathalates or parabens. It’s the perfect shade of candy apple red! Also, this product is cruelty free! Sometimes you can get this at a better price than $18.99- usually when there is a good sale at Whole Foods!”

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15

A whopping 43 SwearBy editors and counting adore this lipstick, which protects like a balm while leaving gentle color. “I can’t be bothered with a lipstick when I need to get out the door,” says Abby Kalicka. “This tint gives me a natural boost and the formula feels amazingly natural, and contains SPF to boot.” It makes Crista Samaras “feel glamorous, but not too overdone,” while dermatologist Rosemarie Ingleton says it has “a hint of color and it goes on smoothly without leaving any heavy residue.” We’re guessing Liz herself would love it.

Hi! [Insert waving blonde emoji here] I'm a Colorado-based freelance writer, and I'm Niles Crane-level picky about everyyyyything.