It’s classic. It’s timeless. It’s the kind of thing you swipe on when you’re feeling ready to take on the world. When you’re running to the corner store to buy some milk (or mylk). When you want to go bare faced but add a little pop of contrast. Or, let’s be honest, because we’re all friends here: a red lip works wonders when you’re in need of a touch of polish to hide a hangover from your boss. Mais non?! Mais oui, you guys. Your secret is safe with us, because we practically invented it.

The thing with red lipstick is that it is at once universal, and yet, so very personal. It’s something that varies hugely from woman to woman, and you’ll find that most have a great deal to say on the matter. What does your mother wear? And your grandmother? What do you turn to when you need to make your skin pop and your hair colour stand to attention? (You can find those tips here and here). Do you wear yours sharp and matte, like this? Or are you more of a pat it on and blur the edges kind of woman, after a saucy, just-been-kissed finish?

It’s a lot to think about, enough to give you a minor aneurysm, for the search for the perfect red lipstick can last a lifetime. So to speed things up, we called on THE FILE’s global network of gal pals  (that’s you guys, FYI). As always, with much love, you came back with some very red, hot tips.

Pucker up, one and all. Here are the ultimate shades of red, according to you.



“Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Tell Laura – the perfect orange-red that compliments an olive skin tone. The formula is perfectly matte while also moisturizing for the lips.”




“RMS in RMS Red or MAKE in Fire. Because they are the perfect orange-red shade and matte, but not too drying.”




Glossier Zip! Cause it’s buildable and can either be a hint of colour or super vibrant! A Summer V I B E.”




MAC Russian Red, NARS Cruella, and NYX Madrid. I have a neutral complexion that can turn ruddy and these are the most flattering shades I’ve found.”




“Charlotte Tilbury So Marilyn because you can go full red lip or you can blot and add clear lip gloss over the top for cherry popsicle lips!! Perfect colour for any season…plus cute as hell packaging.”




“The Fenty Stunna Lip!!! I feel like most red lips have a blue undertone and on my golden complexion it just looks wrong. This is the first red that I’m able to wear. It’s literally “one shade fits all” and I have never seen it go wrong on ANYONE”




“Stila – all day liquid in Beso




“Hi! I am a HUGE fan of a red-orange lip! The mix between the two warms up my otherwise very cool and pale skin. It makes me feel alive! I love MAC lady danger for something more traditional and Chili to add a little more intensity.




“Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip – Bumble. Only because it’s wearable every day and super flattering on my skin tone. I love all the brights, including reds, but this really is no fuss and really makes me look put together in a very effortless way”




“Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy in Fierce – 360. This colour does not get the attention it deserves. It is the PERFECT colour red for everyday wear because it is a neutral red. I don’t know how to describe it, but I have hunted high and low for this colour after spending years mixing other colours together to get the same shade. I can tell you, it is the only red in it’s category. A lot of reds are just too bright & showy. This is the Goldilocks ‘just right’ of reds. Especially for paler skin.”