Call me cheesy and old-fashioned, but no matter how single or taken I am, there's something about Valentine's Day that makes me want to pucker up and apply a bold layer of red lipstick. Something about a pout as red as the roses I may or may not receive just feels necessary given the holiday, which is why I've rounded up the indisputable 11 perfect red lipsticks for Valentine’s Day. They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and when it comes to this classic shade, it couldn't be more true. Nothing else feels more appropriate for Feb. 14 than a selfie wearing one of the following shades.
They might all look "the same" to many, but I'm a strict believer in having a variety of reds in my collection, because you never know which one will come in handy to perfectly finish off my V-Day lewk. Cool-toned reds tend to make teeth appear a bit whiter, and warm-toned reds really suit tanned complexions. Matte red lipsticks are great for all-day dates with your Valentine, but there's something to be said for a shiny, sexy gloss. And we haven't even mentioned glitter yet! Clearly, a variety of options is simply necessary. If I am reaching for a classic, warm-toned red, though, I usually reach for my Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in "Love Bite" ($34, charlottetilbury.com). The formula is comfortable and long-wearing, and it never settles into lip lines over time, so I know it'll look freshly-applied no matter how long I keep it on for. Perfect for a Valentine's Day filled with adventure!
As for my go-to cool-toned red lip, I love the ColourPop Blur Lux Lipstick in "Solo" ($6, colourpop.com). This is another bullet formula that glides velvety-smooth over the lips and won't emphasize fine lines or chapped areas, so it's a go-to when I want my lips to look their best.
If I'm opting for a liquid lipstick formula to really last all 24 hours of V-Day, I'll turn to Tarte's Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in "Cheerleader" ($20, tartecosmetics.com). The brand describes the hue as a "hot cherry," which is exactly the kind of vibe I'm tryna serve. Sometimes, matte lip formulas can be super drying, but I've worn this on an abundance of occasions and can confirm there's no crusty look or feel, just bold, beautiful color.
If you're looking for a drugstore-friendly liquid lipstick, there are actually quite a few I'm a huge fan of. The Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick in "Rebel Red" ($7, target.com) has a super-creamy formula that dries down to a velvet-like matte finish, while the NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in "Kitten Heels" ($7, ulta.com) applies with a similarly creamy formula, but doesn't dry totally matte. Both lippies have large, comfortable applicators and formulas I swear by, and I tend to lean towards the Maybelline lip when I want something slightly more cool-toned, and the NYX when I want a little warmth.
While bullet lipsticks and liquid lipsticks are great for that perfect red pout, there are a few other formulas I can't get enough of that are worth mentioning, too. If you're looking for amped-up shine but don't love the feeling of glopping on gloss overtop your lipstick, go for the NARS Cosmetics Full Vinyl Lip Lacquer in "Red District" ($26, narscosmetics.com). This looks luxe on the lips and really delivers on its promise of "mirror-like shine." If you're bored by sheen and want full-on glitter, though, the Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Glimmer Veil in "Dazzle" ($15, originally $22, katvondbeauty.com) is for you. It's described as a "crimson with pink and gold glimmer," and it's got all the longevity of a matte liquid lipstick, just packed with shimmery, sparkly goodness. Plus, it's on sale at the moment, so there's never been a more appropriate time to glam up your lip game.
One of my favorite categories of lippie for all-day wear is the gloss stick, which masters the application ease of a traditional lipstick bullet with the sheen of a true lip gloss. If I want to play up said shine without sacrificing pigment, the new Lipstick Queen Rear View Mirror Lip Lacquer in "Little Red Convertible" ($24, lipstickqueen.com) has me covered, with its jelly-like formula and non-sticky feel. Perhaps one of the most on-brand red gloss sticks for Valentine's Day is the sheer Kaja Beauty Heart Melter Lip Gloss Stick in shade "Too Hot" ($17, sephora.com), as it's quite literally heart-shaped. Devastatingly, it's out of stock in the red (if you're reading this, Kaja Beauty team, we need this baby back in action for V-Day!) so I'm including the brand's Cushy Vibe High-Pigment Lip Stain in "Satin Sheets" ($18, sephora.com) as a runner-up. This is definitely one of my favorite K-Beauty lip stains, and just a few seconds after applying, it feels like I'm wearing nothing on my lips at all, even though they're perfectly red, pouty, and matte. If you hate the feeling of heavy lip products, switch over to this stain and thank me later.
Last but not least, I'll let you in on a little secret, aka the drugstore red lipstick I'll personally be wearing on V-Day Day. I've got a newfound love for the Catrice Cosmetics Ombré Two Tone Lipstick in "Bloody Vampire Kiss" ($9, catricecosmetics.com), to the point where I'm considering making it my official Valentine this year. While the name might lean more Halloween, the color is rosy red realness, and the square bullet and dark red corner allow for an easy ombré lip look in a few calculated swipes. What can I say, sometimes one shade of red just isn't enough!