There are two things you can never go wrong with when it comes to makeup: a smoky eyeshadow look and a red lip. The latter is perhaps one of the most classic cosmetic signatures, dating all the way back to 3,500 BC when Mesopotamian women would use a particular crushed rock to redden their pout.

Modern makeup has thankfully progressed, but the appeal of red lipsticks remains, accompanied by the double-edged sword that are the options that line every beauty store that is. While we’re no longer bludgeoning rocks for colour, we often find ourselves struggling to figure out which red lipstick is the best among the rest.

We understand the struggle, and so, we’ve whittled down your choices to six classic true red lipsticks that should be in everyone’s beauty arsenal.

1
MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in "Ruby Woo"

With a legion of fans that range from Christina Hendricks to Rihanna, Ruby Woo remains a timeless MAC red lipstick classic that practically built the brand. A deep, rich rouge with subtle blue undertones makes this the visual definition of what comes to mind when you think of a classic red lip, and it definitely lives up to the ideal.

S$33. Available at MAC.

2
Christian Louboutin Beauty Velvet Matte in "Rouge Louboutin"

Christian Louboutin popularised the red sole with his own shade of red, so naturally, when he branched his empire out to beauty, that same hue would earn a place in his lipstick line. The Rouge Louboutin hue looks lush and expensive on the lips — the makeup equivalent of the brand’s classic stilettos.

S$142. Available at Tangs.

3
Pat McGrath Labs Mattetrance Lipstick in "Elson"

Pat McGrath Labs‘ “Elson” is the celebrity makeup artist’s take on a pure red lipstick. Coloured like the ripest cherry, this lipstick also comes with a creamy matte formula that those with drier lips will appreciate.

S$59. Available at Sephora.

4
Gucci Beauty Rouge à Lèvres Satin Lipstick in "Goldie Red"

Gucci’s relaunched beauty arm is a legion of lipsticks and Goldie Red is one of its bestsellers. Inspired by Goldie Hawn during her heyday, this classic red lipstick is seriously moisturising and long-wearing, with a satin finish perfect for people who don’t enjoy lips that lean too matte.

S$53. Available at Gucci Paragon.

5
YSL Beauté Rouge Pur Couture in "Le Rouge"

YSL Beauté’s signature red lipstick has been around for decades and will remain for decades to come. Designed to be a bold shock of red on the pout, Le Rouge is as quintessential as it comes. It is also available in two finishes: matte and satin.

S$52. Available at Tangs.

6
Giorgio Armani Beauty Lip Maestro in "400"

Liquid lipstick devotees will love this Giorgio Armani Beauty icon. The Lip Maestro in “400” promises seriously long-lasting wear, hardy enough to last through food and drink. The shade also calls femme fatales and seduction to mind, so add this to your clutch when you’re readying for a long night out.

S$55. Available at Giorgio Armani Beauty.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.