Monday, May 4th, 2009

6 Must-Have MAC Red Lipsticks

About the Temptalia Must-Haves Series

A series of posts showcasing must-have products from MAC Cosmetics’ permanent line of products. Selections are based on quality, universality, uniqueness amongst the line, and the like. Limited edition shades are deliberately excluded to make buying easier. Readers’ comments act as a supplement to these lists of their favorites and must-haves. You can find the entire series here.

Russian Red lipstick is a matte, super bright blue-based red. This is pretty much a standard red lip for anyone. I’ll admit it doesn’t always work on me, since it can run too blue, but you can always pair it with a lip liner or gloss to make it more your tone.

Viva Glam I lipstick is a matte, retro red. Retro red is kind of a deeper, more muted red. This is a very wearable red for all skin tones, and it is one of my favorite reds on me.

Dubonnet lipstick is a deep red with a slightly burgundy tone to it with a creamy, slightly glossy finish. This is another flattering shade on a variety of skin tones.

See three more!

Brave Red lipstick is a creamy slightly muted red with a very light sheen in its finish.

Ruby Woo lipstick is a matte, blue-based red with a lightly creamy, super opaque color to it. If you love Russian Red, you’ll probably love Ruby Woo, too.

Lady Bug lipstick is a sheerer tomato-red (orange-based) that is kind of an entry red–just because it has a glossy, sheer finish to it.

What are your favorite red lipsticks?

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115 thoughts on “6 Must-Have MAC Red Lipsticks

  1. Nathalie

    When I was between 18 and 20, I was only wearing red lipstick! Now I more tend to wear light lips and enhance my eyes but I still cherish red because it is such an eternal glamour symbol… I wear red every now and then and my favorite still goes to dark red/burgundies. My favorite is “Barcelona Red” by Chanel (which is a dupe of Chanel “Russet Moon” which I also own). It’s semi matte and classical burgundy red. Theatrical and dramatic yet wearable.
    On the bright side, I own “Mac Red” which is a very pretty color in the tube but very hard to wear for me because it goes too blue. At mac, I should try Dubonnet because the description really tempt me. But they don’t have it as a tester at my mac counter. :(

  2. I have 3 red MAC lipsticks: Ruby Woo, So Scarlet and Port Red. I love all three ans use them depending on the occasion. I think MAC makes the best red lipsticks ever. If I were to pick one though as the best red it would be Ruby Woo.
    I’m neutral toned for reference, with slightly cool undertones (NW25/30)

  3. I only own one red lipstick and that is Kanga Rouge from Dame Edna. I should get another red lipstick and I’m aiming for Dubonnet.

  4. Meagan

    i know its a limited one, but Port Red is the absolute best I’ve found for me.

  5. francesca

    I love Russian Red but I don’t know what else to wear with it. I hate the usual pin-up, cat-eye look. Any suggestions, Christine?

    • Nathalie

      Actually, it’s not obliged to make the pin-up look with red lips! I never do. I wear my red lipsticks with a olive-grey light smockey eyes and it looks perfect. :)

      • francesca

        Thanks a lot for your tip!

      • ak

        Brown smoky eyes with very red lips looks good on some people too. I’ve been seeing it some magazines lately and it’s a great way to still have your strong lips and your strong eyes at the same time.

    • I like wearing it with light/neutral eyes or a pop of gold. I don’t usually do cat eye liner with it, though.

  6. port red was also the best I have ever found, I went to buy it and then they were like oh sorry we actually dont have any left…:(

  7. Melissa

    I have been looking for the right red lipstick. But still have yet to find it. I will go look at these.

  8. Marieke

    Port Red!!

    CiaoOo Marieke

  9. Shefali

    Port Red and Charred Red are my ultimate faves!

  10. mahalia

    What red lip would any of yu recommend for Nw45 skin?

  11. Patty

    Ruby Darling is my #1 favorite red lipstick. Too bad it came out in 2004 and was LE. :(

  12. Bobbiedoll03

    I love Ruby Woo, I ended up swapping it just because I never had anywhere to wear it too! But it is a gorgeous red, with Love alert dazzleglass it would be the BOMB!

  13. Kat Von D Underage Red(orange based and matte)
    Kat Von D Hellbent (blood red, blue based, matte as well)
    MAC Red She Said
    MAC Russian Red
    MAC Ruby Woo
    MAC Port Red
    MAC So Scarlet
    MAC Lady Bug

    I am a red lip junkie!!

  14. Liana


  15. Kay

    I have to throw in a word for Chili (which is a bit more organge than true red) and Fresh Morrocan (a great brick color with some hints of gold). Also, I wish wish wish Strawbaby hadnt been LE! That was one of my holy grail reds!

  16. brave red is pure love expecially under love alert

  17. abby

    russian red is my fav red!

  18. Leah

    I absolutely adore Dare You!

  19. Arika BH

    Dubonnet is the best red. I love the formula, and finish. I love Viva Glam 1, it is beautiful and really special since all the money goes for a good cause. Also Classic Dame is HG. I love mattenes the best. Why was this LE?

  20. Brave Red is my absolute favorite!! LOOOOOOVE it!!

    I too love Dubonnet!! Those types of reds flatter me more. Not the bluish reds.

  21. Karen B

    Actually Ladybug Red was my first red lipstick ever. It was a big step but now I just LOVE red lipstick :)

  22. Dawn

    I really like Viva Glam 1 but its not an every day lipstick for me. Its a sexy color, so is Classic Dame(slimshine)and So Scarlet. Red is just sexy, no matter what it is!
    My mom always wear Dubonnet. I like it on her.

  23. Rachel

    Lady Danger. Russian Red. Brave Red. Port Red. Kanga-Rouge (Dame Edna).

  24. Joy

    Classic Dame (Mattene Collection). Sooo many compliments everytime I wear it.

    • Rachel

      I wish they would bring all the Mattenes back. When they came out, I only purchased 40’s Pink and Rapturous, and I really didn’t pay enough attention to the others. Classic Dame is one of the colors I really wished I would have gotten!!

      • Nathalie

        The Mattene are awesome! So comfortable with such beautiful colors. I only own

      • 2nd, I wish they made the Mattenes perm not the slimshines! I only bought Powersuit and want to have more Mattenes

        • Rachel

          I 2nd your 2nd. I own zero Slimshines. I bought a few like..years ago when they first came out and gave them away. The Mattenes have such a nice feel to them and the colors they came out with thus far were wonderful. I wore Rapturous to my wedding and it looks great in the photos. Matched my roses!

          • Nathalie

            I also wonder why Mattene disappeared and why Slimshine stayed. It doesn’t make much sense to me since I always saw them as complementary of the regular Mac lipsticks. Oddly enough, I’ve never been able to bring myself to give an eye on Slimshines at my mac corner. Maybe do I miss something? Is the texture pleasant? Why did you give them away Rachel?

          • Rachel

            Yeah’re not missing out on anything at all. I gave mine away because I was strangely allergic to some ingredient in them. My lips burned as soon as I put them on. Anytime I have tried a gel-based lipstick from other brands, the same thing has happened. Personally, I think they are keeping the Mattenes under lock and key to create more of a demand or something. Just bring them back MAC!! Lol.

      • I hope MAC is listening πŸ˜‰

    • I think mattenes should come back!

  25. mischel

    red she said is the best red ever that i ever wore

  26. Izek

    I’m NC15 and looove Dubonnet and Kanga-Rouge from Dame Edna (this one’s a fave :)). I always wear them with the Cult of Cherry lipglass on top. Too bad I’m running out of it :(

  27. I love Dior’s High Shine in Gipsy Red. As for MAC, I don’t have any of their reds, but I’ve been eyeing Fresh Moroccan and Dubonnet for a while now… just don’t like the formula much.

  28. Elle

    LOL, Christine, these are my 6 favorite reds! I love Fresh Moroccan and Dare You as well. Dubonnet has to be my all-time favorite right now…

  29. mlou

    New York Apple is my favorite red MAC l/s! wearable day or evening on my NW10 complexion. Also love MAC Red l/s for a brighter, non shimmer look :)

  30. Wilcoa

    I don’t think I’ve progressed beyond the very sheer, can’t tell it’s even a red ;P In fact, I think I’ve only dared to try one red lipgloss once lol. Nonetheless I like the look. My mom’s fave is Ladybug, she has me buy her one even before the other has run out or just to have one in each purse! ;P

  31. hi

    I’m VERY pale – almost GHOSTLY! – and I tried Lady Bug. They say that fairer ladies can wear brighter lipsticks, but I SWEAR, this was SUPER bright, cool-toned glossy opaque bright red. It looked horrible on me, so I swapped it for Dare You which has become my HG red – as long as I blot it, because when applied full-on, it’s borderline vampy.

  32. Brandi

    viva glam 1!!!

  33. claudia

    I have both Russian Red and Ruby Woo, and find the later a bit too dry.
    Really want Dubonnet (I love amplifieds),Viva Glam I, Underworld and would love to see a swatch of Mac Pro’s Red Pepper.

  34. queen’s sin is pretty much the only red I love. pity it was le.

  35. Lana

    I only have one red so far, and that is Lady Danger, but it is gorgeous!

  36. Faye

    I like MAC’s Ramblas Red — it was released as part of the U.K./Europe only Euristocrats collection last year.

  37. Alison

    ruby woo is my all time favourite because it is so bright and so matte and it stays on through anything. i have been through 4 tubes, and have another three, just in case i run out.

    lady danger is bright and fun, i wear it when i’m going out clubbing.

    lasting lust is a good prolongwear colour, and so is red flame.

    port red, dubonnet, queen’s sin and kanga rouge are all shades that havent worked for me, i’m NC15 for reference, but i’m pretty neutral tbh.

  38. Danielle

    I love Dubonnet, as does everyone else, it seems…. but nobody has even mentioned Diva. Maybe it’s only good for darker skin tones (I’m NW43-45). It’s very matte, and looks great with Burgundy lip pencil. You can control how dark it applies if you use a lip brush.

    I also like Brave Red and Fresh Moroccan. <—Try that with some clear lip glass on top… the gold flecks POP!

    *keep it sassy*

  39. Bettina

    I love Ruby Woo, it’s by far one of my fav red shads of lipstick in a while. Christine I wanted to know if that lipstick you have called wild about you was still around somewhere and if not do you have a good dupe for it??

  40. Kristen

    I am 17 and want a good red without being too much. I’m neutral toned and very fair…things wash me out really easy…I was thinking about brave red since its a cremesheene and wont worsen my chronically chapped lips….is this a nice natural red that doesnt wash fair girls out?

  41. Emily

    I have:
    Russian Red
    Dare You
    Adore It -(Holiday collection 08)
    and Racy- (Holiday collection 08)

    I love all of these colours, i use my Red Enriched Lip liner with the dare you because the colours almost match perfectly.
    I love using red lipstick to make a dull or boring outfit turn into something chic.. (if it can do that (: )

    Red lipstick is one of my favourite looks, aswell as the dark pink/berry lipsticks! πŸ˜€

  42. Kristen

    Ruby Woo, Lady Danger, Lady Bug and Classic Dame Mattene Lipsticks. Plus, Rue D’Rouge Dazzleglass! I love a bold look-at-me red, matte or glossy.

  43. sam

    have you tried Lady Danger, Christine? would you recommend it? x

  44. the_izzle

    I got Ruby Woo yesterday and I look forward to wearing to a wedding on Saturday!

  45. Crystal


    I’m trying to choose a red lipstick that’s suitable for my nc40 skin…

    Deciding between ruby woo, russian red or viva glam 1?

    Which would you recommend?

  46. Victoria


    Ive been trying to find a everyday red that would fit my nc25 skintone. Everything ive tried on has been too bright, i want something more subtile and natural since im only 16. & nothing too drying, since i have very severe chapped lips. I am IN LOVE with the classic pinup look, which i wear everyday. so i was thinking mayb VV cyndi, or brave red? Im really lost here, Please Help!

  47. Melissa

    No one has said anything about Lady Danger, what do people think?

  48. Nicole Howard

    Hi, I just wanna seek some recommendations. I have been searching for the perfect red lipsticks that will look best on my NC25 skintone. Any suggestions? Heard from reviews that MAC’s Russian Red is a dupe of Revlon’s Really Red? Thanks a lot!

  49. Gillian

    should i get Viva Glam 1 or Dubonnet? im fairly pale, about a NW25 and i want a deep red color

  50. Nina

    Do you think Lady Bug and Viva Glam Cyndi are very similiar? Thanks ^^

  51. Absenta

    Thank you for this post ! I am also a red-lipstick fan and I have some of the ones you mentioned: ruby woo, russian and hot and fire? by revlon.
    I am thinking on getting dubonnet or runaway red, which one do you recommend me? I like the pin up look and usually wear white / silver eye shadow with eyeliner and I donΒ΄t know if the dubonnet will be very dark.
    Thank you very much in advance!