MAC's Russian Red Matte Lipstick Is a Rich, Versatile Classic

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MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red

MAC Russian Red Matte Lipstick product

Karla Ayala

What We Like
  • Rich color payoff

  • Smooth, creamy texture

  • Works well for most skin tones

  • True cool red shade

  • Long-lasting results

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

  • Formula isn't particularly hydrating

MAC's Matte Lipstick in Russian Red is one of the most popular red lipsticks out there, and for good reason. It's a rich, deep red that complements a range of skin tones, and it works for everyday and special events alike. This long-lasting lipstick will provide a pop of color to any look.


MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red

MAC Russian Red Matte Lipstick product

Karla Ayala

We put MAC's Matte Lipstick in Russian Red to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

MAC Cosmetics was one of the first makeup companies I ever tried. I had everything from the famed Fix+ primer to the brand's foundations, bronzers, eyeliners, and so on. But while I've long been a fan of many products, the lipsticks have always been my favorite. I want to own them all due to their elegant packaging and high-quality formula. The red shades have always piqued my interest, particularly after witnessing singers, actors, and models wear various shades. I've always been in awe of the grace, elegance, and confidence that a crimson lip can provide. MAC has several colors of red available, but I've always been drawn to a genuine, classic version. While I've experimented with liquid lipsticks and satin finishes over the years, I have yet to discover a true go-to matte red formula. 

After hearing so much about MAC's legendary Matte Lipstick in Russian Red, I knew I had to try it. For context, Russian Red is one of MAC's most popular shades and is widely regarded as an iconic cosmetic product. Russian Red, a seductive matte red with cool undertones, was designed exclusively for Madonna's 1990 Blonde Ambition tour. Since then, it's become a cult classic with fans around the world.

Are you as curious as I was about if this iconic shade is just as good now? Keep reading to learn whether or not MAC's Russian Red is the ideal genuine red matte lipstick.

MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red

Best for: Most skin tones and types, though those with particularly dry lips may want to pair this product with a balm.

Uses: A classic red lipstick with a matte finish, suitable for any occasion or everyday wear.

Byrdie Clean? No; contains paraffin and phthalates.

Potential allergens: Ethylhexyl palmitate 

Price: $21

About the brand: MAC was founded in March 1984 by makeup artists Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo from a Toronto department store counter. As a result of the duo's unmatched experience, the company has grown to be a leading brand for professionals and beauty fans alike, with a portfolio full of products with decades of history in addition to constant innovation.

About My Lips: Full with neutral undertones

I have dark brown eyes and a light to medium skin tone which tans easily if I stay in the sun too long. My lips are pretty full, and I've always loved using a good lipstick to accentuate my features. I have neutral undertones so I often go for neutrals in style, makeup, and decor, but I love adding a pop of color, especially when it's a classic shade like red.

How to Apply: Use a gentle touch

MAC Russian Red Matte Lipstick swiped on hand

Karla Ayala

The day my MAC Russian Red Matte Lipstick arrived, I had just finished watching the film The Hating Game, and I was so excited about emulating Lucy Hale's red lip look. For those unfamiliar with the book and film, Hale's character wears a beautiful red lipstick, and she looks fierce and confident. I instantly felt the urge to put on some red lipstick myself, and the occasion didn't matter.

I swatched the lipstick on my hand, and the pigment was so impressive. Then, I applied it with a gentle hand by outlining the top of my lips before filling in the rest. The texture is creamy, and the finish is matte but I didn't find it drying. I wore the lipstick during the day and felt like a movie star. A major bonus: Even while wearing a mask, it didn't transfer.

Another way to apply this product if you have super dry lips is to layer it overtop of a lip balm. I used a tiny bit of Laneige's Lip Sleeping Mask before swiping on MAC's Russian Red. The outcome was even better, and my lips were pigmented, smooth, and hydrated while still maintaining the matte finish.

The Results: A classic Hollywood red lip

Byrdie writer Karla Ayala wears a classic glam makeup look with MAC's Russian Red Matte Lipstick

Karla Ayala

MAC's Russian Red Matte Lipstick is a rich, deep shade that's universally pleasing and a great go-to color. It's the ideal Hollywood red for everyone. Long-lasting and matte, it's one of the most fabulous lipsticks I've ever tried, and believe me: That's saying a lot. The formula is lightweight and appears both beautiful and sensuous. This color held up for six hours in various weather conditions, left a delicate, crimson stain behind, and didn't dry out my lips. The lipstick didn't transfer even with mask-wearing, and the color remained on for the most part while I was eating and drinking, although I did touch up a little bit later in the day.

The Value: Totally worth it

MAC's Russian Red lipstick is $21, which is mid-range for a lipstick. I've tried a lot of lipsticks over the years, and the quality of this one is incredible for the price. I like how this color is a genuine red with blue undertones instead of oranges and pinks—this makes it work on most skin tones, plus it helps make your teeth look whiter. Both comfy and appealing, this lipstick made me feel as if I could do anything. Whether you use it to spruce up a casual look or provide a sophisticated touch for a night out, it's a must-have for every lipstick enthusiast's collection. I guarantee you'll reach for it at any given moment, making it well worth the purchase.

Similar Products: You've got options

NYX Shout Loud Satin Lipstick: This NYX lipstick ($9) in the shade Wife Goals costs less than half as much as MAC's Russian Red. The hue is a genuine red with blue undertones just like MAC's, but it has a satin finish. It's a good option for those who are on a budget or prefer something less matte.

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color: Maybelline's Color Sensational lipsticks provide vibrant color and smooth lips, and this one ($5) takes on a lush, soft feel thanks to a caring oil. The Divine Wine shade has a blue undertone and matte finish like MAC's Russian Red Matte Lipstick, but it's somewhat less pigmented, so the best option for you will depend on your budget and preferred finish.

Final Verdict

Russian Red is a cult favorite among MAC's plethora of lipstick shades, and it's easy to see why. The color can work on anyone with its true red shade and blue undertones, giving you a seamless, lasting pout for any occasion. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a great, versatile red lip.


  • Product Name Matte Lipstick in Russian Red
  • Product Brand MAC
  • Price $21.00
  • Weight 0.1 oz.
  • Full Ingredient List Octyldodecanol, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Silica, Tricaprylyl Citrate, Ozokerite, Isononyl Isononanoate, Paraffin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Microcrystalline Wax / Cera Microcristallina / Cire Microcristalline, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax / Cera Carnauba / Cire De Carnauba, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Vanillin, Acrylates Copolymer, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Stearyl Stearoyl Stearate. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Carmine (CI 75470), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 6 Lake (CI 15850), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 21 Lake (CI 45380), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Red 30 Lake (CI 73360), Red 33 Lake (CI 17200), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985), Yellow 10 Lake (CI 47005)

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