Staff Picks: Our red lipstick story + faves!

compiled by Marianne Raterta, contributor

Do you remember the first piece of makeup you ever bought? Or the first time you finally got both your liner wings even? We all have our beauty milestones. A memorable one would be swiping on red lipstick that looks fabulous, finally! Many of us start with shades like girly pinks, sweet peaches, and "my lips but better" nudes before working our way up to a much bolder color. When we get there, it's like we never doubted our courage to wear the shade in the first place. It's such an empowering feeling!

Finding the perfect red to fall in love with can take some work but the process of getting there can be pretty fun, too! Here are some of the reds we've tried, loved, and can't live without.

Liz: Gosh, I don't remember the first time I actually wore and enjoyed red lipstick but I do have a great story about it. One night I had a dinner meeting about a project. I had on Clinique Mightiest Maraschino at that time, and the three ladies in my table wanted to know what shade it was. They have never worn red lipstick before so I said hey, try this on! They did. And there was this immediate transformation - they couldn't believe how good they looked in red! I took a picture of them pala, haha, for my review of Mightiest Maraschino. I like to think they've been loving red lipstick since then.

As for my favorite reds - I love so many! MAC Russian Red is a classic for me. If I have to narrow it down to just three standout tubes not counting that one though, it would be the Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Sunset Orange (matte orange red), Lancome L'Absolu Rouge in Grand Amour (glossy true red), and MAC La Vie En Rouge (bright coral red). 

Den: The first ever lipsticks that I purchased are actually both reds: the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Adore (brick red) and Crush (berry red). Both became my office makeup staples because I didn't have to bring a separate balm and they stained my lips enough to leave a nice color even when I was too busy to reapply. These days, I actually like the look of bolder reds and wine hues but I find application much too tedious: it's crisp lines or bust for me. I end up dabbing them on and blurring out the edges instead to get that just-kissed look!

Gett: It was during college when I resolved to wear red lipstick as a habit. I bought my first red lipstick from Avon (it had the balm on the center and color around it) so I could use it for events and parties. I became more comfortable wearing red lips when I got Revlon Balm Stain in Adore. It became an instant pick-me-upper for days when I felt blah and wanted to look more put-together in school. I'd wear all kinds of reds that have a matte or satin finish. My favorites are Besame Red Velvet (a deep true red), Revlon Matte Balm in Standout (a bright blue-based red), Wet n Wild Cherry Bomb (a blackened cherry red), and Maybelline Divine Wine (a burgundy red).

Marielle: I'm actually still a bit afraid of wearing red. The women in my family are conservative, so I didn't have a good impression of such a bold color. Then I had my Taylor Swift phase, and thought maybe I could pull off Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. It worked! And while I still don't wear red regularly because of the lipstick ring situation, I have added two or three more reds to my collection to put on for special occasions.

Angela: I used to hate lipsticks because I always thought they would make my teeth appear yellower than usual. I didn't know then that most lipsticks I had tried in the past were pinkish with yellow undertones, so I simply stayed away from everything. I'm a big fan of Kendall though, and couldn't resist trying on her signature red lippie at the launch of the first-ever Estée Lauder store in the PH. I completely fell in love with the Pure Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Lethal Red and I'm now saving up to get my own tube!


Diane: I got into the red lipstick trend because of Anne Curtis! At first, I was scared that it wouldn't look good on me but when I finally tried it, I fell in love in an instant. I love how it brightened up my face and how it amped up my look. Since then, red lippies have become staple in my makeup kit. I currently love OFRA x MannyMUA in Hypno, MAC Diva and Ruby Red, and Happy Skin's Shut Up and Kiss Me in Scene Stealer.

Katsy: I honestly don't remember how I got into red lipsticks! It feels like forever since I got my first one, though I'm quite sure my red lipstick phase happened in the last couple of years. I used to be scared of the color and opted for nudes when I started getting into lipsticks but I have at least fifteen now. Okay, maybe even twenty. Please don't make me count. I went through an entire phase of loving it and all my purchases then were in varying shades of red.

Maybe it was Taylor Swift. Or the MAC Lady Danger my BF got for me from Back to MAC. Or the fact that most of the holiday collections of 2014 highlighted RED LIPS as the go-to. Most of my current faves are from that season - Burberry Soft Satin Lipstick in Ruby and Guerlain Rouge G in Parade. Others are Preview x Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me in Hot Stuff, Tory Burch Lip Color in Scoundrel, and MAC Mangrove. Moving forward, I'd love to get my hands on the new Sleek Matte Mes in Velvet Slipper, Vino Tinto, and Old Hollywood. The swatches Liz posted are TDF!

Charlie: I had to pace myself in getting into red lipsticks. I had a good friend in college who wore a deep ruby red on her lips every single day, and I wondered how it would look on me. Scared that I wouldn't be able to pull it off, I bought a few red lip tints first, getting a feel of the color. Fast forward to a few years after, when I was more comfortable with red lips, I bought Maybelline's Color Show matte lipstick in Bold Crimson. It's probably the only true red color that I use (and have), and because I like its finish, longevity, and formulation so much, it will most likely remain a favorite for a long time. It has made me open to using more red lippies though!

Sam: I'm not a red lipstick type of gal but I think that every makeup lover should have at least one in her arsenal. I rarely wear them but I do appreciate the va-va-voom vibes when I have it on. I'll wear it with a timeless winged liner or a monochrome shadow to pull the whole look together. So really, I only have enough shades of the different kinds of red: the classic MAC Ruby Woo and a non-matte dupe called "Pomegranate" by Bite Beauty, the gorgeous maroon "Hearts Aflame" from MAC and its dupe "Hot Stuff" by Happy Skin x Preview, and my favorite, Colourpop's Ultra Matte brick red, "Bumble." It's subdued but gorgeous, and just comes at $6 a pop. I do wish they made it in a more forgiving formula but the shade is worth it!

Claire: Growing up, I filed away "red lipstick" under "Only wear for formal events." I have dry, chapped lips, so I've always been more comfortable with lip balms. A tinted balm or a lip stain was the most I could take! Thankfully, lipsticks have improved a lot over the recent years and I carefully started testing the waters. I started with lip stains, gradually worked up the courage to try lipsticks, and was surprised to discover my love for mattes. The first red I got was from L'Oreal's Star Collection in Pure Ruby. My runaway fave is another from L'Oreal, their Balm Caresse in Drama Burgundy (still a lip balm girl, lol). I also like Maybelline's Lip Gradation in Red1. Guess it's never too late for anyone to love the classic red lip!

What’s your red lipstick story? Is there any specific one you love, or want to try?