I wear red lipstick maybe four or five times a year, but always on two occasions – Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
And as a former Boots employee, I’ve tried and tested dozens and dozens of lipsticks over the years – and yet I still struggle to find a really good, comfortable and wearable red.
Throw in skintones, lipstick undertones, matte or satin finishes and it soon becomes a minefield with the backs of your hands covered in swatches unsure of what will actually suit you.
I headed to Boots in search of the perfect red lipstick – and I think I might have found it.
In store, there is a really great choice of budget buys and more expensive splurges – in my local, I saw lipsticks for as little as £2.49 for Natural Collection up to £28 for the new Fenty refillable lipstick.
I picked up five budget to mid-priced products from £3.99 to £13, and there was one brand that blew me away.
Here are the five red lipsticks I bought in order of price, and what I thought of them.
Collection Hydrating Lipstick – £3.99
From budget brand Collection this hydrating lipstick was the only one I picked up under a fiver.
This one is in the shade ‘intense passion’, which I thought was rather fitting for February 14.
It’s a very shiny finish and applies really smoothly, feeling very moisturizing on the lips thanks to the addition of shea butter.
The lipstick was very rich in colour, but due to the balmy formula, I worried this would wear off and smudge during the day – particularly on a dinner date.
One benefit is that it is included in the offer where you can get a free beauty gift when you spend £20 on selected cosmetics.
Sleek MakeUP Say It Loud Satin Lipstick – £5.99
I picked this lipstick up in the shade Mo Money, Mo Problems which looked to be a deep red looking at the packaging and advertising material.
When you look at the lipstick itself, it does look like a red, too, but on applying it, it was more of a purple colour.
It’s described as a satin formula, but I found it to be more on the shiny side, however it was highly pigmented and at a good price.
This one also left some staining behind on removal, so didn’t get my vote this V-day.
NYX Professional Makeup Shout Loud Satin Lipstick – £8
On the Boots website, this lipstick has racked up nearly 300 five star reviews, so I had pretty high hopes for it.
i got the Shout Loud Satin Lipstick in Red Haute and at £8, it was a fairly priced lipstick.
It was definitely a more intense and bright red, with vibrant pigment that makes a statement.
It seemed a little drier to apply, despite the addition of shea butter, with some drag on the skin, but on the lips it offered comfortable wear with a satin finish.
The NYX lippy gets bonus points for Valentine’s themed branding with a heart stamped bullet and hearts on the black packaging.
Shoppers can also bag £5 off when they spend £25 on NYX products at the moment.
L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Satin Lipstick – £8.99
I found L’Oreal to have the best range of red lipsticks, with colors to suit all skintones.
Personally, I liked the look of 126 Excusez Moi and the gold packaging makes it look even more luxe.
This satin lipstick glided onto my lips and felt really hydrating as the new and improved formula is enriched with argon oil.
The color wasn’t a bold red, but had more warmth to it, offering a true satin finish that I could have happily worn all day long.
It didn’t feel like the product was sliding all over my lips, nor did it feel drying or tacky, and I think this could quickly become my go-to red lippy, and see me wear the shade more often.
This was definitely my favorite from the selection, as it ticks all the boxes in terms of shade, wear, longevity and price.
And if you’re torn between what shade you want to buy, shoppers can currently get two L’Oreal products for £15.
Doll Beauty Red Alert lipstick – £13
The most expensive lipstick in this roundup, Doll Beauty’s ‘She’s Well Red’ came a close second to L’Oreal’s Excusez Moi.
This product came boxed, with hearts all over the packaging. Inside, the pink bullet applicator is very cute, with the product itself also being covered in hearts.
It was the only matte lipstick I picked up, and I wouldn’t typically wear matte having done so throughout my teenage years. But this product made me realize that maybe it’s time to sneak a matte lippy back into the makeup bag.
The color was a gorgeous pop of pillarbox red and was one I think would stay put all day and not transfer too much either. While I adored it, the price and the matte finish of this product is what I saw Color Riche take the top spot.