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Red lipstick has been a style staple for as long as anyone can remember, and there's no reason for that to change anytime soon. The wonderful thing about a classic red shade is that it makes very little difference whether you spend $3 or $30, which—of course—makes the budget-friendly drugstore options all the more enticing. Since drugstore red lippies are so affordable, you can easily experiment with different formulas and shades until you find your perfect match.
Read on for the best drugstore red lipsticks that can make you look like a million bucks (without spending anywhere near that amount).
Best Overall: Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lipstick in Rich Ruby
Byrdie editorial director Faith calls this true red her favorite drugstore red lipstick, and it's a great one to complement cool undertones. As a bonus, the formula helps make your teeth look whiter and brighter. The velvet matte formula really doesn’t dry out—it’s creamy enough to wear all day and doesn’t pill up when you reapply.
If you aren’t ready to start your day serving a serious red lip, you can always layer the color on with a brush or your finger and build up to a full swipe from the tube when you’re ready to head out for the evening.
Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Matte Lip Color in Rich Red
This oversize lip crayon isn’t just one of the most unique lipstick products on the market, but one of the most budget-friendly. If you’re dipping your toe into the world of red lipsticks, this pen makes it easy to get precise color application. In fact, there's even a sharpener at the base if you’d rather use this as a liner topped with gloss rather than a full-on lip. The color itself is highly pigmented and enriched with vitamins A, C, and E, and—like all e.l.f. Cosmetics products—it’s cruelty-free and vegan.
Best Matte: NYX Professional Makeup Matte Lipstick in Perfect Red
Perfect Red is a beloved “dupe” (read: exact shade match) for one iconic brand’s signature red, so it’s developed quite a following among beauty enthusiasts looking to save a little cash. For a matte formula, it's surprisingly comfortable and even feels a little hydrating, and while the color does have a bit of transfer, it’s nicely pigmented and stays relatively opaque. Many reviewers praise it for its lack of feathering. Not needing to wear a lip liner underneath not only saves you a step when getting ready, but it makes it feel lighter and more comfortable for all-day (or night) wear.
Best for Fair Skin: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice
First introduced by Revlon in 1952, this iconic lipstick challenged women to live a life interesting enough to justify such a vivid shade. Women responded to the call in droves, and it’s been on shelves ever since. The Fire & Ice shade usually looks best on fair skin, but it’s a surprisingly versatile true red shade, with both orange and blue undertones. The lipstick has been updated to a modern moisturizing formula with lots of shine, but it’s lost none of the color payoff and definitely none of its independent spirit.
Best for Deep Skin: Revlon Ultra-Matte HD in Passion
This ultra-matte formula comes in 16 high-definition shades, each of which contrasts beautifully with deeper skin tones. Fans love the luxe-feeling plush applicator, which is curved to hug the contours of your lips, and the formula is smooth and creamy enough that you can wear it all day long. It has a pleasant scent of mango and whipped vanilla and it's cheap enough to keep a whole rainbow around for when the proper mood for fuchsia strikes.
Best Natural: Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lipstick in Scarlet Soaked
One Byrdie editor calls this moisturizing lipstick one of the most comfortable formulas to ever grace her lips. That's thanks to hydrating ingredients like beeswax, moringa oil, raspberry seed oil, and vitamin E which coat lips in creamy moisture so they're left feeling silky smooth. The red finish on this one is sheerer than some of the others on this list, but the formula is buildable so you can adjust it as you please.
Best Liquid: e.l.f. Cosmetics Liquid Matte in Red Vixen
When you’re applying a matte lip that lasts all day—and in a statement shade like this true-bluish red—you really want to make sure you get the application exactly right. That’s where e.l.f. Cosmetics’ diamond-shaped applicator comes in.
The tapered tip lets you carefully trace your lip line and if you miss a spot, it’s easy to fill in with precision thanks to the flat edge and sharper tip. The formula has vitamin E to help nourish your pout over a full day of wear, and it's phthalate-, paraben-, and cruelty-free—a great thing to know when it comes to a product that can easily be ingested as you eat and drink throughout the day.