Every Woman Needs a Red Lipstick

Best red lipsticks in green beauty

From top to bottom: Kjaer Weis KW Red, RMS Rebound, Clove + Hallow Damsel, Fitglow Love, RMS Jezebel, Rituel de Fille Devil’s Claw, Vapour Courage, Kosas Thrillest

Ladies, can we have a chat? I want to know…what’s it going to take to persuade you to try red lipstick? A vibrant, beautiful red lipstick can absolutely transform a face. Yes, it’s an attention-grabber. Yes, it takes confidence. But I know you can do it, and I’m going to share the best natural red lipsticks in green beauty with you.

Believe it or not, I didn’t start wearing bold lipsticks until about 10 years ago in my late thirties. For years and years, I pined over images of women wearing a bold red, but I didn’t dare! I mean, I didn’t want that much attention focused on my lips. What would people think?! (That I’m a confident, vivacious woman who enjoys a bold lipstick? QUELLE HORREUR.) I even remember being at a black-tie gala with my good friend who rocks a red lip like no other when I was in my late twenties. She persuaded me to try hers (it was MAC Ruby Woo, I remember it like yesterday), and I applied it in the bathroom. I loved loved loved the way it looked on me, but wiped it off before returning to the party. What is up with that, my friends? Pure ridiculousness, that’s what.

I was scared to wear an assertive color on my face. I didn’t want to seem like I was attention-seeking. “A nice muted pink gloss should suit a lady like me just fine,” I thought. (Rolling my eyes.) When I look back, it really was a larger issue than just wearing red lipstick. I was afraid to be seen. Afraid to abandon a more conservative look. Afraid to stand out.

Well, if you know me at all, you know that is no longer a problem. I love me a bold lipstick.

But let’s put a red lipstick’s confidence-boosting ability aside. What are some other positives of wearing red lipstick?

1. It’s a classic look that’s been around for decades. Think Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Coco Chanel.

2. It makes you look younger. Oh, I know some of you are going to balk at that statement, but it has been scientifically proven that what people find youthful in a face is the contrast of features. (Dark lashes/eyebrows, deep lips.) As we age, those features become noticeably paler and we begin to look more washed out. When you wear a red/bold lipstick, you create that contrast again.

3. It lifts your mood. A bright lipstick makes you feel more chipper and even more powerful. Coco Chanel was right when she said, “if you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.”

4. It increases feelings of self-worth. Vain? Maybe, but when you take the time to care for yourself, it makes a lasting impact psychologically.


So, ladies. Heed my word and get some red lipstick in your queue. And you don’t have to go full-bore like yours truly and apply straight out of the bullet. Gently pat your finger on the lipstick and then dab on your lips for a much subtler effect. Baby steps, but I promise you’ll be rocking those red lips in no time.

Here are the 8 best red lipsticks in my book!

Shade: Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lipstick in Ribbon
Tone: Universal, classic neutral blue red
Finish: Matte

Kjaer Weis KW Red Lipstick

Shade: Kjaer Weis Lipstick in KW Red 
Tone: Classic neutral red
Finish: Satin matte (If you are looking for a natural matte, KW also makes this shade in the Matte, Naturally formula.)

Shade: Gen See Pick Me Up Matte Lipstick in Irene (can’t stop wearing the Gen See lipsticks this year)
Tone: True Red
Finish: Matte

Shade: Gen See Pick Me Up Matte Lipstick in Selma
Tone: Orange Red
Finish: Matte

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Rebound

Shade: RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Rebound
Tone: Ruby Red
Finish: Satin

Clove + Hallow Lip Creme in Damsel

Shade: Clove + Hallow Lip Créme in Damsel
Tone: Bold blue-red
Finish: Semi-matte

Shade: Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lipstick in Jazz
Tone: Earthy, brick red
Finish: Matte

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Jezebel

Shade: RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Jezebel
Tone: Blackberry red
Finish: Satin

Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer in Devil's Claw

Shade: Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer in Devil’s Claw
Tone: Warm red with subtle gold sheen
Finish: Semi-matte

Kosas Lip Color in Thrillest

Shade: Kosas Lip Color in Thrillest
Tone: Poppy orange-red
Finish: Semi-matte

Questions about natural red lipsticks in general or these particular shades? Hit me up in the comments!

Other posts you might like:

The best skincare for ladies over 40!

My morning and evening skincare routine.

  1. Kristy

    August 21, 2018 at 10:54 am

    I’m 45 and have been wearing only red lipstick since my senior year of high school! Talk about a creature of habit :)

    • whoorl

      August 21, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Love it!!

  2. Renee

    August 21, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Hell yeah to red! I’m wearing Kosas Thrillest as we speak thanks to your rec. After going back and forth for weeks, I decided to be bold and went with red on my wedding day. Zero regrets. :) https://bit.ly/2MsGIEo

  3. Nmori

    August 21, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Can you share info about your bracelet??

    • whoorl

      August 21, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Yes, it’s a rose gold cuff by Gabriela Artigas: http://bit.ly/2BuC4Rx

  4. Christina G

    August 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Many moons ago before you went all green you recommended NARS Flamenco and that was my best red lip. Any of these similar to that color? They discontinued it and I’ve beern searching ever since.

    • whoorl

      August 21, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      That is such a good question! Tell me more…are you interested in the color of Flamenco or the sheerness of Flamenco? (If I recall correctly, it was a sheer strawberry shade, yes? Memmmmorieeesssss)

  5. Robyn Brewer

    August 21, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    I was surprised to not see any shades from Bite Beauty on your list! I had to stop using all Bite products because I developed blisters (!) on my lips from them (even the lip balm, what). But I know you were a fan of the brand for a long time. I’m just wondering if the colors or formula aren’t working for you anymore or if your recommendations here are just your latest finds.

    Also, I love your advice on OWNING a red lip! I get compliments every single time I do it, and yet I still reserve it for special occasions in real life (even though, ironically, it’s kind of my “thing” on my blog). My hesitation is very much about not wanting to be seen or appear like an attention-seeker. I need the reminder that it’s a good thing to celebrate my inner diva!

    • whoorl

      August 21, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      I use the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask nightly, but haven’t been using much of the lipsticks lately. Not really sure why. I do love the formula of their matte lip crayons.

      And I totally hear you on the attention-seeking thing. I was the same way until I realized I needed to stop worrying about what others think and do what makes me happy, which is a RED LIP BONANZA. ;)

  6. Lori K

    August 21, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Especially love the blackberry red! Are you wearing any lip liner? If so, what kind?

    • whoorl

      August 21, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      Yes, that color is so pretty! And no, I do not wear lip liner with my red lipsticks.

  7. Danielle campbell

    August 21, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I never can do it bc I feel like the contrast of the bright red with my gummy smile is problematic….any tips for a shade that won’t feel jarring in that situation?

    • whoorl

      August 21, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      I would apply the lipstick as described towards the end of the post – pat your finger directly onto the lipstick and then dab on the lips, creating a sheer wash of color, but nothing overpowering.

      • Libbie Olsen

        July 29, 2022 at 6:05 pm

        What beautiful shades! They’re all absolutely lovely. I really like the idea of red lipstick but always get discouraged when I wear it and it fades quickly and starts to look sloppy. Any hot tips? How often do you have to reapply?

        • whoorl

          August 1, 2022 at 8:52 am

          It depends on the formula – matte ones stay a lot longer than satin finishes. I usually reapply after eating.

  8. Aimee

    August 21, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    What are your secrets to keep it from bleeding? Your lips always look so amazing! Thank you!

    • whoorl

      August 21, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks! I always go for matte or semi-matte formulas. The creamier, glossier types tend to bleed more because they move around much easier than mattes which stay put. Also, you could try using a red lipliner all over the lips instead of lipstick altogether!

  9. Jenn

    August 22, 2018 at 7:33 am

    MAC Ruby Woo was my first bold red as well! I remember wearing it around my apartment a few times before mustering up the courage to wear it in public! Funny to think about now, because a decade later, my everyday aesthetic is, bare eye + long lashes + BOLD lip. This is mainly out of laziness because the bold lip wakes your whole face up with very little effort!

    That said, I’m excited to try some more natural brands. Of these, which one would you say is the most transfer-proof? The Kjaer Weis matte? Thanks!

    • whoorl

      August 23, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Yes, the Kjaer Weis doesn’t budge!

  10. Melissa Kolom

    August 22, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I have a feeling you would recommend any/all of these for everyday? I left office life for full-time working from home recently and would love to try a red lip that doesn’t make it look like I’m trying to hard at school pick-up ;)

    • whoorl

      August 23, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Maybe start with the Vapour lipsticks – they aren’t quite as pigmented.

  11. Tricia Hines

    August 22, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I love a red lip in theory, but don’t regularly wear lipstick. A while back I ordered two Kosas shades (on your recommendation) and didn’t like the dry feeling on my lips or the fading. (I catch a glimpse of myself and be surprised that the color was fading in the middle.) Also, I think getting to try them on in person would be best. I’m a freckled redhead and reds sometimes turn orange or pink on me. Any recommendations for a place in Oklahoma City to try out lipsticks? And what should I look for, as far as a weightless feel?

    • whoorl

      August 23, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      The Makeup Bar carries lots of green beauty brands – you are bound to find one you love there!

  12. Janna Clark

    September 1, 2018 at 6:54 am

    I’m almost ready to celebrate my 63rd birthday and I LOVE red lipsticks–have been wearing them since my late 20’s. I don’t feel dressed unless I’m wearing my red! My hair is no longer dark brown but is now more salt and pepper–I feel the red lipstick gives me the lift I need.

    • Ruth

      September 1, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      What are your favorites? I’m in the same age range and love a red lip but struggle with the way a red vanishes in about five minutes from the interior part of the lip, leaving an ugly outer rim. I think I need a good stain or a lipstick that functions like that, since I hate matte lipstick and am never going to be a faithful reapplier (my elderly mother will attest to this, having run into me on a city street during lunch hour when I was in my 20’s – her only words – “You’re not wearing lipstick”).

  13. Elizabeth Thompson

    September 1, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    My skin has a very yellow tone and whenever I try lipstick that is supposed to look red, it always looks bright pink when I put it on. Suggestions?

    • whoorl

      September 1, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      You definitely want to stay away from blue-toned, cooler lipstick shades. That’s why they go pink on you. Look for yellow or brown-based reds. Those types don’t look best on me so I can’t share specific colors to try, but usually the descriptions will say if they are cool or warm-toned. (You want warm!)

  14. Dawn

    August 1, 2022 at 5:27 am

    All of these shades look stunning on you. Off topic, would you mind sharing where your two gold necklaces are from (in pic #4, the one in which you’re wearing the “Selma” lipstick shade)?