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Which red lip gloss is best?

Nothing adds instant sizzle to a look like red lip gloss. It’s simple to apply, looks great with most looks, and can be refreshed on the go without a mirror. With a bit of attention to your skin tone, you can find a red lip gloss that will be your go-to for quick daytime color or some evening drama. If you’re looking for a great all-purpose red lip gloss, Dior Addict Stellar Lip Gloss in Bright Red is the top choice.

What to know before you buy red lip gloss

Heavy pigment vs. sheer

Not all lip gloss is created equal. Some offer barely-there tint, while others are heavily pigmented, almost close to a lipstick in color intensity. 

Moisturizing ingredients

Lip glosses can do double duty, not just offering color but also moisture to lips. Glosses are an excellent choice for lips that tend to be on the dry side. Although we tend to associate lip gloss with summer looks (and they’re great for that), their moisturizing qualities also make them a good choice for winter.

Plain lip gloss vs. plumping

A wide variety of lip glosses also offer a plumping ingredient which can make lips look fuller. Some just add color. Plumping lip glosses either use a moisturizing ingredient, such as hyaluronic acid, to make lips appear fuller. Others use an irritant, such as peppermint oil, to really give your pout some pop. If you don’t mind the tingle of an irritant-based lip gloss, it can be a great choice for an evening look if you want to maximize your lips.

What to look for in a quality red lip gloss

The right tone

If you’ve ever thought red lip gloss wasn’t for you, the chances are good that you tried one with an undertone wrong for your skin type. Although we tend to think of red as one color, it is actually a family of colors, some with warm undertones (like orange-reds) and some with cool undertones, like a dramatic, “blue-based” red. Many of the reds you see advertised lean to the cool side. Make sure you know your undertones to pick the perfect red lip gloss for you.

Shimmer or gloss

A bit of shimmer in your red lip gloss can add depth and visual interest to your lips, making them the “main attraction.” If you’re going for a smoky eye or heavy contouring, though, you may want to go lighter on your lips. In that case, a plain red lip gloss is the way to go.

Compatibility with lip liner

Making red lip gloss more dramatic works best when you contour your lips first. To do that, accent the natural lines of your lips (the line at the center of your lips, the ones in your Cupid’s bow, plus the edge of your bottom lip). If you choose to contour your lips for a dramatic night out, choose a more pigmented red lip gloss that will blur these lines for a three-dimensional but not obvious look.

How much you can expect to spend on a red lip gloss

You can find a great drugstore brand red lip gloss for around $8. A premium brand or one with a plumping agent will cost around $30-$40.

Red lip gloss FAQ

Should you use lip balm before gloss?

A. If your lips have a tendency to dry out, lip balm as a base is a great idea. For optimal results, apply the lip balm 30 minutes before you intend to put on gloss. That way, the lip balm has a chance to absorb into your lips, making them the perfect canvas for your gloss and any lip liner you intend to use.

How do you keep red lip gloss from smearing?

A. Smearing can be one of the pitfalls of lip gloss, and it is particularly noticeable when the gloss is highly pigmented and bright like red can be. The trick to keeping lip gloss in place is good prep. Using a good matte lip stain before gloss can help keep lip gloss from smearing. Making sure your lips are moisturized will also help to prevent smearing.

What’s the best red lip gloss to buy?

Top red lip gloss

Dior Addict Stellar Lip Gloss in Bright Red

Dior Addict Stellar Lip Gloss in Bright Red

What you need to know: Luxurious and lush, this beautiful shade will soon become your go-to when you want a red lip. 

What you’ll love: The mirrored effect on lips catches light and is extra glossy. It has great texture and is highly moisturizing.

What you should consider: Because it is so moisturizing, it can tend to soak in. Carry it with you to reapply through the night.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Top red lip gloss for money

NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss Non-Sticky Lip Gloss in Red Velvet

NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss Non-Sticky Lip Gloss in Red Velvet

What you need to know: NYX is the champ at creating products that rival premium brands for a fraction of the cost and this gloss is among its better offerings.

What you’ll love: The name says it all: Buttery and glossy, but not sticky, this red lip gloss glides on smoothly for a great shine.

What you should consider: The pigment may not show up as well on darker skin, so you may need to layer it or start with a lip stain for extra color.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Worth checking out

Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper in Strawberry Kiss

Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper in Strawberry Kiss

What you need to know: If you want plumping along with red color, this is the gloss to choose.

What you’ll love: Sheer and effective, this gives you a pop of shine and has an active ingredient that causes plumping.

What you should consider: The plumping effect lasts one to three hours, so you’ll need to reapply for an evening out. It also causes significant tingling to achieve the plumping effect.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora


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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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