One of the easiest ways to add a touch of vintage glamour to your makeup is to wear red lipstick. It adds a sense of occasion to the mundane, and can transform you from office worker to Hollywood starlet at the swipe of a stick. Isabella Buckland has been on a one woman mission to sort the lipsticks that will give you the perfect cherry pout from the ones that make you look like a deranged clown. After vigorous testing that included snogging, nights out, snow, cakes and cups of tea, here are her top 3 that any vintage girl should add to her make up kit!


1. YSL Rouge Volupte in Red Temptation £20
Full of exciting new ingredients like hyaluroni acid microspheres to plump your lips and crystalline ester to magnify colour, this still delivers all the old-school things you want from a lipstick.

The colour is classic poppy red in a satinfinish. It has added protection of SPF 15 and surprisingly, smells of mangos.

It felt really moisturising and lasted a good few hours. However I didn’t get the chance for it to fade as it comes in such a stunning gold case that I kept re-applying it using the mirror in the lid just to show it off!


2. Chanel Rouge Allure in Lover £19.50
If YSL is the showy, flirtatious Marilyn Monroe of red lipsticks then Chanel is the sleek sophisticated Audrey Hepburn.

A slightly darker shade with a blue undertone I found made my teeth look really white. This has more of a thick creamy texture and a matt finish with a really intense colour. The tube is slick and sexy, and the lipstick itself has Chanel etched into it, which made every one I showed it to coo!

It lasted around 5 hours before I had to reapply. This would be great to add a bit of drama to dinner date somewhere posh.

Read on for our top tips for getting perfect red lips!


3. Benefit Frenched in Cherry Red £12
This is ideal for the red lips novice. The slanted tip of the tube means it’s easy to apply and sheer coverage makes it a lot less scary. You can build up the colour the more confident you become with your new beacon lips.

A lovely rose red with pink undertones, it felt more like wearing a lip balm, as it faded it went more pinkie but that’s not a bad thing. A really versatile colour that won’t look out of place in an office but you can layer it up for a pop of colour when you go for drinks later.
Red lip tips

1. Lipliner is all well and good but for a girl in a hurry I have found the perfect trick to avoid feathering. Simply slap on a bit of foundation or tinted moisturiser around the lips- but heres the trick- make sure its silicone based ( Super Natural by Philosophy for £24 is great). This will fill in any little nooks and crannys you may have and leave you smooth-lipped and stop your lipstick from budging!

2. To avoid looking like you have been biting the heads of mice its best to try and avoid getting lipstick on your teeth – once you have applied your lippy, suck your finger, this really does work.

3. Keep within your natural lip line. We want to look like Elizabeth Taylor not Jodie Marsh.

4. There is a lot of nonsense surrounding red lipstick about lip brushes, blotting and dusting powder over a tissue…When you’re out and about you’re not going to blot your lips three times and say the Hail Mary, so it’s worth spending a bit more to be able to apply it straight from the tube.

5. Red lipstick has a mesmerising affect on men. So carry gloves or an umbrella to swat them away with.

13 Responses

  1. Viviana

    I love your Red Lip Tips. My favourite red lipstick is MAC’s Viva Glam. It was the first of the Viva Glam range. It suits most people and stays on well.

  2. Rebecka

    You forgot to inlcude MAC’s Ruby Woo- best siren red lipstick ever – so matte it looks like chalk and never smudges around your lips, and will stay put all day, even through a meal (though not if your meal consists of oil only, as this will make the wax inb the lipstick melt out). And MAC’s Dark Side for a vampish 20’s plum mouth.

  3. Julianne

    I am a cabaret performer and love Ben Nye Ruby Red (L16). A perfect true red color, matte finish, but formulated for the stage, so the pigmentation is extra heavy and long wearing. One application will last through singing, kissing, drinking, costume changes and hot stage lights with minimal touch ups. It’s also a great value, at $8.00 a tube (usd).

  4. Darika

    I second Chanel Rouge Allure, the staying power is awesome and the packaging makes it just that little bit extra special – like wearing red lipstick should be.

  5. claire

    MAC Russian Red is the best I’ve found. Also good blue undertone : )

  6. marissa

    love the list! THe only thing I would like to see is a list of the best drug store red lipsticks. alot of us mothers out there cant afford high end, but still want the look.

  7. Holly B.

    Let’s not forget Bésame! They are my absolute favourite go-to’s, especially Bésame Red, Red Hot Red, and Red Velvet. To me, wearing anything else is blasphemy! 🙂

  8. Jo, Owner,

    The sucking your finger trick really does work to avoid lipstick stains on your teeth! However I needn’t use this trick lately since I’ve been using L’Oreal’s infallible lipcolour compact in Crimson and it is heaven. It looks like a cream lipstick on your lips and it really doesn’t rub off for the whole day, plus it’s got a lip moisturizer to keep your lips soft.

  9. Sandy

    Love tip number 5 XD
    Haven’t used any of these three lipsticks yet, but I’m happy with my cheap ones as well. Maybe I’ll be convinced one I try these winners though^^

  10. Jonathan

    I’m with Julianne on recommending theatrical make-up. Kryolan, based in Berlin, has an incredible range of high-pigment lip colors designed to endure arias, stage fights and death scenes. Nothing beats theatrical make-up. I have been a drag performer, and tested many lipsticks. I understand that no woman wants to look like a drag queen. However, I fail to understand the appeal of designer lipsticks, the price of which is mostly based on marketing, not quality. I’m frankly disappointed that marketing works as well as it does. Who cares if “CHANEL” is pressed into a tube of lipstick? High pigment means that make-up lasts longer and you require less to achieve the same effect. I’ve yet to find a consumer cosmetic brand (including Make-Up Forever) that achieves anything near the consistent quality of Ben Nye or Kryolan. But go ahead and spend $25 on something that’s not as good as something readily available for half that. Sorry, but as I see it, make-up is not about enhancing your femininity. You are painting your face to look like something it isn’t, to put it bluntly, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Get into the artificiality of it. If you want your lips to be a color they aren’t, use the proper product to achieve the result. Would you paint a work of art with substandard oil paint?

  11. Jessica Gonzalez

    Honestly, the best red lip stick for me is the number 1 on your list. I’ve owned this lipstick for 3 years now. I came across this post because I am freaking out…my purse got stolen and the most valuable thing in there was this lipstick. It holds sentimental value to me…and I am freaking out because I can’t find it for sale anywhere!!! I am afraid they have discontinued it and it makes me sad to think that.. Please let me know if you guys have a clue on whether I am right or hopefully wrong. Please direct me to my love again…ysl red temptation how I miss you 🙁