8 Universally Flattering Red Lipstick Shades For Every Occasion

I never thought I could wear red lipstick. Like so many of us, I was caught up in the nude lipstick trend and thought I would never be one of those red lipstick glamazons. In fairness, I am olive in complexion so those more common blue-based reds like Tom Ford’s F*cking Fabulous or Nars Jungle Red don’t flatter my features and can even make me look a bit jaundice. But one day I was in Sephora and someone introduced me to a lip color by Stila in the shade Fiery. *It was love at first swatch* Since then I’ve had a full-blown love affair with red lipstick, so much so that it’s my go-to when traveling and I pack a whole case of my “Paris” reds, my “Rome” reds, and even my special “Vacation” reds.

For months we’ve been wearing masks, but as we start to venture out into the world again, I have a feeling you’ll be reaching for a lipstick, and it should be red. There’s a red for every occasion and it’ll give you that fresh feeling we’ve all been missing during quarantine. With that said, you can’t just walk up to a makeup counter right now and try a few reds to find your perfect match, so I’ve done some of the work for you. Having used these reds on many complexions, these are my top 8 universally flattering picks to consider for your next red lipstick purchase.

Classic Red – My Paris Red
Dior Rouge Dior Lipstick in 999


This iconic shade dates back to the 1950s and comes in a range of formulas; I have the blush as well as the lipstick and liquid lipstick. It’s creamy and super pigmented. Not too glam, this color is matte and just right for a classic, chic look.
Cost: $38

Sexy Red
Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored


The sexiest red on this list, Rhianna’s Uncensored WILL CERTAINLY deliver on drama with its mega-pigmented liquid lipstick formula. The “soft matte” finish is comfortable, long-wearing, and head-turning.
Cost: $25

Celebrity Red
Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in Dragon Girl


With an A-list cult following, Dragon Girl is a cool-toned, saturated, modern red loved by Blake Lively, TSwift, Olivia Munn, and more. The pencil application makes it user friendly and easy to apply to other spots in the face, including eyelids and cheeks.
Cost: $27

Relaxed Red
Glossier Generation G Lipstick in Zip


This is an easy daytime lip color that wears as casual and natural. It’s got just the right amount of red to give you the “your lips but redder” look, with the signature “not trying to hard” Glossier appeal. The best red to swipe across your lips while on-the-go, Zip should have a permanent place in your purse.
Cost: $18

Fashion Red – My Rome Red
Yves Saint Laurent BeauteZoe Kravitz Limited Edition Rouge Pur Couture in Scout’s Red


Let’s start with the fact that this shade was curated by none other than living style legend Zoe Kravitz, so it automatically makes my top list. Now let’s talk about how this is the most AMAZING bright poppy! Scout’s Red, named after Zoe’s dog Scout’s red bandana, is a red matte shade, subtle orange undertone that translates well on all skin but especially tan and brown skin. I actually got this one engraved gratis through the YSL website and brought it on my wedding and honeymoon, so BAM, power shade.
Cost: $38

Deeper Red
Stila Stay All Day in Fiery


Fiery is a classic, true universal red in that it can be worn alone, anchored with a darker lip pencil, topped off by a brighter shade (SO MANY OPTIONS). Not as bright of a red as the popular shade Beso, Fiery is a safer bet for someone looking for a flattering deeper red. Tip: stockpile them because they’re THAT good and sell out fast.
Cost: $22

Clean Red – My Vacation Red
RMS Lip2Cheek in Beloved


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, RMS Beloved is a shade you NEED. It’s so easy to tap on your cheeks for a rosy, sunkissed glow or on your lips to tie the look together. It’s not super pigmented, I call RMS Lip2Cheeks my “fancy balms,” but they’re beautiful. And THIS is what you want to wear in the summer. It’s light, yet creamy and nourishing. Again, we are in the poppy family, but this is an equal opportunity lip color.

My Signature Red
Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in Coromandel


This lipstick is LUXURY. If you can’t get the classic Chanel flap bag, you will feel just as fly in Coromandel. Coromandel is a fiery orange-red, not as bright or orange as Scout’s Red, but not as classic red as Dior 999. And it’s a satin finish, so if you like a bit of shine this is a great option. As someone who LOATHES lip gloss, I love the natural luminosity Coromandel brings. It’s full coverage and very comfortable. Of all these options, Coromandel is the one that can be your signature and you won’t see every other person wearing it, which is a great bonus. Like a signature scent, we all need a signature red. Make it Coromandel.
Cost: $38

“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.”
– Coco Chanel

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