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Whenever my friends look inside my beauty closet, the first thing many of them recognize is my extensive lipstick collection. More importantly, they notice that I have literally hundreds of red lipsticks of all different hues, undertones, and coverage. Before you judge me … understand my beauty struggle.
To me, there’s nothing like wearing a statement-making bold red lip to compliment your outfit and your style. You can have on zero makeup and throw on a red lip and instantly feel like you can take on the world; undeniably, whenever I need to get into my zone, a red lip is the first thing that comes to mind.
That should come as no surprise given the history of red lipstick and how it has historically been used to suggest defiance. Even during the suffrage movement, leaders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman passed out the bold lippies to protestors to wear as a sign of liberation. Needless to say, it proves that beauty CAN be political.
Wearing red lipstick as a Black woman is, in itself, an act of liberation. For years, brown-skinned girls of deeper hues have been swayed against wearing brighter lipsticks, and deeper tones have been told that red lipstick doesn’t look good on our skin. Well, I don’t know about you, but every time I put on a red lip, I get to prove that red and melanin go hand-in-hand.
Thankfully, more and more women (and men) are stepping up to the beauty plate and exploring the power that is the red lip. We’re not shying away from stepping out and showing up unapologetically.
The thing about red lipstick is that there is no one-size-fits-all. There are a ton of red lipsticks on the market and if you’re just jumping in, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. Don’t fret: I went through and picked out my favorite red lipsticks that work for a variety of skin tones, especially for my dark and deep-toned beauties.
Shop: MAC Lipstick in “Lady Danger”, $16.15 (Orig. $19)
Editor note: MAC is an OG of the lipstick world, and I love that the color payoff is immaculate. Lady Danger is a bright coral red that sizzles against all skin shades.
Shop: NYX Lipstick in “Kitten Heels”, $7
Editor note: Other than the fact this product is long-wearing and super pigmented, the velvety finish also has avocado oil and vitamin E in it, making sure that those lips do not feel dry.
Shop: Smashbox Matte Liquid Lip in “Bawse”, $24
Editor note: This cruelty-free red lip is water-resistant and stays put for up to eight hours. My favorite thing is the tiny applicator which really lets you get in those outer corners.
Editor note: This shade is a deep red that looks flawless on multiple skin tones, but honestly that’s just one of the many reasons why I love this richly-pigmented, French vanilla-infused formula.
Shop: MAC Lipstick in “Ruby Woo”, $19
Editor note: I want to say Ruby Woo was the first red lipstick I ever owned, mostly because its revolutionary launch proved that Black and brown girls could find a red for them. With its blue base, it looks phenomenal on both cool-toned and warm-toned skin.
Editor note: Rihanna did her thing when she launched this universally-flattering red lip that gives high-impact color and a long-wear formula. The wand allows for precise application. What more could we want?
Editor note: Other than being a complete Pat McGrath stan, I’m obsessed with this shade that gives you a matte finish and doesn’t compromise on color. This particular shade is an orange-red shade, a nice variation to the classic red we all know.
Shop: NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in “Starwoman”, $26
Editor note: Whenever I wear this lip pigment, I always get compliments. The product stays on for quite some time and you only need one swipe to fill in your entire lip. I love a product that lasts and is cost-effective.
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