40 comments on “The Perfect Red Lip

  1. a few affections

    geez, leave it to j.crew to make me want to paint my lips AND nails red. gorgeous!

    NARS has some great colors, and i read an interview with jenna lyons where she said they used NARS lip pencil in red squared at the j.crew photo shoots, at least for the summer catalog. but red squared is closer to coral, and the color in these shots looks more scarlet. either way, i have been wanting to try it!

  2. Katie Armour Post author

    A Few Affections — I learned about Red Square from Jenna too! You’re right about it being more coral, it’s one of my favorites. We’ll have to find out which shade this is! Something tells me it’s probably NARS as well : )

  3. kayla @ exquisite banana

    Okay so I’ve gone into Sephora no less than 6 times in the past four weeks and bought 3 different red lipsticks over the course of those visits (after trying on the entire stock, mind you). I like all of them but still haven’t found “the one.”

    But THIS color? Now that is the red I am looking for. No orangey or pink tint, just pure cherry lipstick red. Why is it so hard to find??

  4. k10

    Okay, so I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m lusting over the brand Lipstick Queen. The Sinner is 90% pigment and opaque…sounds long lasting to me? Check out my previous post, and go to their site. The creator, Poppy, is adorable and has some tips on wearing and application etc..


    Personally I also like to wear a lip stain under reds. I feel that is wears away at least a little more subtly between applications.

    Please share if you find the perfect solution!


  5. HannahB.

    Loreal lip stuff is my fav! I’m using Candy Apple Color Juice for Winter but for every other season (i.e. when I’m not quite so pale), I’m addicted to Infallible in Rebel Red!

  6. Arabella

    I’ve been having trouble finding a “red” lipstick that isn’t ridiculously dark, or that doesn’t turn fuchsia or some horrible bright pink the second it touches my skin. Maybe I just have weird PH levels?

    Only way I can get anything to stay on, is do an undercoat in all lip pencil first.

  7. Katie Armour Post author

    So many tips—clearly I’m not the only one on the hunt! Arabella — I’ve tried lip pencil on the entire lip, but it still melts away : ( Someone told me to coat my lips with concealer first…perhaps I’ll try that next…

  8. Shoshana @ Adventures of a Future Housewife

    I love a bright, bold lip too. I always, always, always, use a lip liner/pencil to make it last but make sure the lip liner/pencil is blended so you don’t get that hideous lip outline. Then I put a coat of my favorite red lipstick over the top. I like YSL’s 1 Le Rouge. I hope that helps. I have felt your “melting away” lipstick pain.

  9. Katie Armour Post author

    Sharon — I’ll have to check that out. Sometimes the drugstore brands are just as good as the pricey stuff I buy at the department stores…it’s a bit ridiculous : )

    Shoshana — I have one YSL color that I love…I think it’s No.15? I bought it when Tom Ford’s line was sold out (I’d originally been searching for his True Coral, to die for!). The YSL is really nice though I prefer something a bit more matte…

  10. geri

    i too have tried soooo many lipsticks!!! i have found that nars stays on! i use the matte finish in shanghai red. i hope it works for you!

  11. Carey

    I’m a hard-core red lipstick lover… love how it sets off my paleness! I’m a big fan of MAC Ruby Woo and I use it with their brick lip liner. There are two keys to all day wear:

    1) Buy a matte lipstick, they’re much more durable
    2) Apply the lipstick first, then add liner on the borders

    Also, red lips must be wore with the utmost CONFIDENCE.

  12. rachel | buttons magee

    The Infalible lip color from Loreal never comes off, and the color for Beyonce is amazing. Such a great red. Sometimes I will put a more brick shade over it, but the base color lasts all day. It’s awesome.

    I know there are some more expensive brands like NARS that have amazing colors, but I can’t stand for my red lipstick to wear off.

  13. Meagan

    I just bought Mac’s Ruby Woo, it’s quite nice. It’s matte and it makes me feel quite glamorous. I put chapstick on, a pencil liner all over my lips, not just the outside and then put two coats on. It came off when I ate but I reapplied it at 2 and it’s still going strong – even when I take a drink of water. Just lick your lips before you sip and no prints on the glass! Good luck on your search, it is hard.

  14. Katie Armour Post author

    Geri — Shanghai Red is such a great name, can’t wait to try it!

    Carey — Love you! SO helpful! CONFIDENCE is key, always, everywhere!

    Aubergine — Will try the lipstain, thanks for the tip!

    Rachel — Love L’Oreal, sounds like just what I’m looking for! It’s so hard to find lipsticks that actually stay put!

    Meagan — I’ve never head of licking your lips before a sip. I’m going to try it! And Ruby Woo sounds perfect. How am I going to try all of these?!

    Debbie — That’s two for Ruby Woo! And I LOVE Lipstick Queen. Poppy’s book is the cutest.

  15. Dani

    I have been a lipstick girl for a long time- it just makes you feel more put together, no?

    The tips about the liner are very true and I also think that matte is the best. (and more glamorous!) My favourite red is from MAC, I don’t even know the name, but it’s more of a paint then a lipstick. There’s two sides, the color brush and then the gloss brush on the other side. You have to paint the red on and then wait for it to dry and then add the gloss, if you want. I almost never use the gloss and I don’t know if they still make it anymore, but it’s the most classic, 1940s red I know of and it never comes off!

    Also, Jenna said that JCrew used NARS “Funny Face” for the fall campaign-it’s a shocking deep pink. Wear it with a gary suit and it’s awesome! Try that one too!

  16. chelsea

    I second (third?) the tip about lip stain bases. It will help the color integrity after the lipstick melts.

    Also, go with drier, matte shades. I LOVE Besame lipsticks. The colors are so potent and the bullets are adorable. http://www.besamecosmetics.com/

    I also recommend applying with a lip brush and blotting with tissue paper (NOT a kleenex). I think it helps get the right amount of lip color on your lips without the other stuff.

    Also, for all you looking, Estee Lauder Rich Red (my fave) is very similar to this color.

  17. Kate

    The red is goooorgeous.

    To keep your lipstick on, try using Mustela Bebe Hydra Stick about five minutes before you put on your lipstick. It provides a nice base for the lipstick to stay on. And I echo all the calls for matte.

  18. Marysia

    HI Katie, I think you must try a color on to see how it work for your skin tone but this new YSL lipstick
    Pure Colour Satiny Radiance
    is AWESOME! I love color #1 but they have different shades of red to try. It’s a long lasting, hydrating, smells so good and feels so good on. It’s a winner in my book. And if you’re like me the packaging is important too and this yls number has it all. all the best!

  19. Sara Kate

    MAC red is the perfect shade. I strongly strongly suggest it, and I’ve gone through 2 tubes since I discovered it. When was the last time you finished a lipstick completely?

  20. Danielle

    I love red but I’m afraid my lips look a bit too porcelain-doll-like when I wear a bold red :( In any case, Chanel Ultrawear Lip Color NEVER comes off!! Wore a beautiful pink on my wedding day and woke up the next morning in FULL lipstick, even after scrubbing my face before bed. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but won’t leave the house without this! It also is a matte, but with an optional gloss finish…to die for :)

  21. D. @ Outside Oslo

    Reading the comments here about difficulties finding the perfect red, you can imagine how happy I was when I found MAC’s Retro–a full-bodied yet flattering shade that adds drama while complementing fair skin, not looking garish. With their Auburn lip pencil, it has a polished look, and while touch-ups are always a good idea, it seems to last a while, too.

  22. Tiffany

    So excited to learn about Ruby Woo – will def. try that b/c I’ve also been on the search ever since Laura Mercier discontinued Pink Grape (which was red, not pink), which Gwyneth wore in A Perfect Murder. Thanks for the tips, girls! xoxo

  23. Lizzie

    I second the NARS suggestion & also love Revlon. I found a nice corally-red there called “Love That Red.” Maybe it’s more red than coral, then!

    On keeping it on your lips once you apply…I’ve read in Martha Stewart & Real Simple that you should blot your lips with a tissue after the first application, and then apply again. I’ve never tried it because of the rushing-around factor, but it probably works if both of those magazines have suggested it!

  24. Leanne

    If you want a splurge, my idea of a perfect red lipstick is Ellis Faas’ Ellis Red. It comes in 3 different formulas, and it’s genius.

  25. erin

    i also know someone who swears by MAC. she has never had such good luck with lipstick. we went to lunch, i and i thought she had re applied in the car, but no! it still looked fab.

  26. Amber

    Thanks for posting this picture. I’ve been obsessed with finding a true red lipstick and want the one in that photo. I even sent an email to the woman who runs the JCrew afficianado website to see if she knew.

    I have light/med beige skin and I just order 3 MAC red lipsticks after seeing this post: Ruby Woo, Lady Bug, and Russian Red. Hopefully one will work.

  27. Katy

    Katie! I am in love with your blog! So adorable!

    In regards to keeping your lipstick on…my aunt who has been with esteee lauder almost ten years swears by putting foundation on your lips first and letting it dry before applying lipstick. Not only does it help your lipstick stay put it helps it keep it’s true color. All lipsticks turn pinky on me due to the base color of my lips…helps me a ton!

    Talk to you soon!

  28. Kacy Atkin

    In order to make your red lips last you have to put on a matte concealer. I like MAC personally. Next step is to line the lips and then fill in the entire lip area with the liner. Put the lipstick over and voilà long stay, flawless looking red lipstick. Being a MAC snob, I like russian red.

  29. Angie

    I have been using a Nars (Velvet Matte) Lip Pencil for a long time now, and I swear it’s this same color as on the J Crew model. It’s called “Cruella”. Isn’t that the perfect name?

  30. Betsy| Heavens to Betsy

    I use a Chanel lip rouge…in between a lipstick and lip gloss, goes on smooth and has staying power…I’d recommend a lip liner to help you put it on best because the applicator is like a lip gloss brush which doesn’t always give the most accurate application. I use Dragon and it’s a great red color!

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