Five high street/drugstore, budget-friendly red lippies

The ‘not quite red’ red, the matte stain, the sheer gloss, the full-on matte and the long-wearing colourfest.

“But you’ve already got at least ten red lipsticks,” said the long-suffering other half.  “What’s different about this one?”


At least he’s finally given up on saying “do you really need another one?” so I’ll forgive his lack of makeup-related knowledge on this occasion.  The truth is, there are so many different reds out there – different shades, different finishes, different brands’ formulations – that I’m nowhere near that magic number where I can finally say I have enough.

I have pretty darned pale skin, with cool undertones (lots of pink in my cheeks, and the veins on my wrist tend to look blue rather than green).  So I tend to sway towards cooler-toned and neutral reds, and shy away from the warm ones.  That’s not to say I shall never be swayed, it’s just that I’m still waiting for that perfect ‘I absolutely have to have it, just go ahead and take my money‘ warm-toned red to hit my makeup radar.

Sometimes I’m in the mood for a light wash of colour, and other times nothing will do but a full on blast of matte, blood red deliciousness.  So here’s my current rundown of five budget-friendly red lipsticks that run from ‘barely-there’ to ‘gotta-stare’.

Revlon Cherries in the Snow red lipsticks
red lipsticks lip swatch

1. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick - 440 Cherries in the Snow - £7.99

Revlon’s lipstick formula is far more high end than you might expect from a high street brand.  It glides on, feels lovely and moisturising without slipping all over the place, and doesn’t even smell offensive (honestly, some brands really should just step away from the fragrance!)

The colour selection is amazing, and Cherries in the Snow is a great one if you fancy trying out a red but you aren’t quite feeling up to wearing a full on, in yer face, “I will never be able to eat pizza wearing this one” red.  It’s more of a deep pink; lovely and Spring-y and fresh!

2. NYX Butter Gloss - Cherry Pie - £5

For days when you just need a hint of red and lots of gloss, Cherry Pie has got you covered.  You can wear it sparingly like a tinted balm, or apply more generously for a deeper, glossier hit of red.  It has a lightweight texture, which makes it lovely and comfy to wear, but it does transfer and wears off quickly.  If you’re a lazy lipstick wearer (like me), you might nip to the loo and check your makeup mid morning, and find that your gloss has already faded to a slight (but still flattering) stain.

NYX Butter Gloss - Cherry Pie red lipsticks
NYX Butter Gloss - Cherry Pie Closeup lip swatch red lipsticks

Cherries in the Snow is a great one if you fancy trying out a red but you aren’t quite feeling up to wearing a full on, in yer face, “I will never be able to eat pizza wearing this one” red.

Revlon Cherries in the Snow red lipsticks
lip swatch red lipsticks

3. Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet - 08 Grand Cru - £8.99

Be warned: this Bourjois formula can cling to dry, flaky patches on your lips and make them look, well… dry and flaky.  To be fair, I had done a good amount of red lipstick application then hasty removal by this point.  But it’s worth giving your smackers a bit of an exfoliating scrub and some moisturising before you go past this point.

Assuming that you heed my warning and come prepared, Grand Cru is a lovely light take on a matte formula.  If you want a deeper colour, it layers pretty well too (I’m wearing two layers in these shots).

4. Rimmel Apocalips Matte - 505 Burning Lava - £6.49

Rimmel are on a bit of a puntastic naming kick for their lip products at the moment, and I quite like it.

If you’re looking for a really deep red with a soft, almost matte finish, this is perfect.  It smells a bit like play-doh, which isn’t great, but that’s a real step up from the sickening plastic smell I get from the original Apocalips (glossy) formula.

Rimmel Apocalips - Burning Lava red lipsticks
Rimmel Apocalips - Burning Lava Closeup lip swatch red lipsticks
Rimmel Provocalips - Kiss Me You Fool red lipsticks
Rimmel Provocalips - Kiss Me You Fool Closeup lip swatch red lipsticks

5. Rimmel Provocalips - 500 Kiss Me You Fool - £6.99

Provocalips is a long-wearing formula that you apply in two steps.  First you apply the colour, then wait for it to dry.  You don’t want to let your lips touch during this stage, as they might stick together and pull off some of the colour.  Best to just sit there for a few minutes and practise snarling until it dries.  Your lips will feel pretty parched, but once you apply the gloss on top, this lippie feels much more comfortable.

This is a great choice if you want to wear a red, but don’t have time to worry about smudges or reapplication.  It holds up pretty well against eating and drinking, as long as you don’t eat anything really greasy.  Grease is not a good idea, as it will start to break down the colour and it will come off in patches.  There’s no easy way back from this; if you try to add more colour it won’t stick to the gloss, and you can’t get the whole lot off without some serious makeup remover and determined scrubbing.




Did I miss your favourite budget-friendly red lippie? Let me know in the comments so that I can decide which ones to try next!

red lipsticks
red lipsticks
Swatches red lipsticks
red lipsticks