Favorites: MAC Red Lipstick Ideas for Spring & Summer

Summer is a great time to bust out a super bright or even deep red lipstick, so today I have a plethora of my favorite red lipsticks which are all by MAC, except one.

When I was in my late teens/early 20’s I pretty much only wore red lipstick. It was my signature look LONG before Gwen Stefani was popular :). Too bad this was before I discovered MAC in 1991 though because the red lipsticks I wore were dry, chalky and mostly came in a fat, cheap pencil form. Ick.

The red lipsticks I gravitate towards and that look best on me are cooler, blue-toned ones. There are a few matte formulas in here which I really adore, but they are a lot more drying than I prefer generally.

I hear alllll the time people saying “I wish I could wear red lipstick” and you CAN. There is definitely a red out there for everyone, you just have to find out if your perfect one is warmer, cooler, brighter or deeper for your skin tone.

Oh and the other great thing about red lipstick is while it is higher maintenance than most other colors, it makes your teeth look much whiter!

One thing to note, I did use a lip liner for these photos since red really requires perfection. Strangely enough I only have one MAC red lip liner, which is Burgundy which I used with the darker reds here. The other lip liner I used is Revlon Redwood, which is a really old, but creamy bright red liner.

MAC Ruby Woo Image

MAC Ruby Woo

Ruby Woo (matte, permanent) is a very bright blue-based red with a matte finish. This is an amazing color and probably the brightest red I own. I think I have owned this tube for about 12 years since it’s in the old straight lipstick tubes MAC used to have!

MAC Cockney Image
MAC Cockney

Cockney (lustre, permanent) is a lustre finish so it’s very shiny and a little sheer. It’s another great cool red color, but I find the lustre finishes tend to bleed on me after awhile even with a lip liner, so that is the downfall for me.

MAC Russian Red Image
MAC Russian Red

Russian Red (matte, permanent) is a classic bright blue-toned red. It is classified as a matte, but the texture feels much less matte than Ruby Woo on me and it looks creamier and shinier also. I think this is my favorite red ever, it’s just perfection in a tube.

MAC MAC Red Image

MAC Red (satin, permanent) is a newer addition to my red collection. I am not sure HOW I didn’t have this one! It’s a satin texture so it feels super creamy and saturated. Great cool-toned red!

MAC New Temptation Image
MAC New Temptation

New Temptation (Sheen Supreme, permanent) is a Sheen Supreme so it has a bit of a sheer yet shiny finish. This color is more of a tomato type red color. These lipsticks dry my lips out badly, but I have been using the Prep & Prime Lip Balm lately and that definitely helps.

MAC Heartless Image
MAC Heartless

Heartless (amplified, limited edition) is from the Venomous Villains Cruella de Vil collection and might be my second favorite red. It’s very similar to Russian Red except it’s an amplified finish and it has small pink/purple sparkles in it. They are hard to see unless you inspect super close though and are more obvious in the tube than on the lips. I would say since this was limited edition that color-wise, Russian Red is a good dupe.

MAC Prolong Image
MAC Prolong

Prolong (Pro Longwear Creme, permanent) is from the Pro Longwear collection and these lipsticks feel incredible on. They are smooth as butter – the best feeling lipsticks ever! Prolong is kind of a raspberry red color and not as saturated as some of the others, but you still get good coverage.

MAC Perpetual Flame Image
MAC Perpetual Flame

Perpetual Flame (Pro Longwear Creme, permanent) is also a Pro Longwear lipstick and is a pinkish colored red. Another great one with a little more coverage than Prolong has.

MAC Dubonnet Image
MAC Dubonnet

Dubonnet (amplified creme, permanent) is a darker more brick red color and is a color I have actually gone through one and a half tubes of! Shocking. I love this one because it’s a strong red, but not so bright that you feel like all eyes are staring only at your lips.

MAC Viva Glam I Image
MAC Viva Glam I

Viva Glam I (matte, permanent) is a great brownish blue-based red and it’s another favorite of mine. So many favorites!

MAC Red Pepper Image
MAC Red Pepper

Red Pepper (matte, discontinued) is a dark brown red color. It looks really brown and bland in the tube but it’s a really nice darker red. It has been discontinued though, sorry!

Kat Von D Adora Image
Kat Von D Adora

Finally we get to the one that doesn’t “belong” which is Kat Von D Adora. Adora is a candy-apple red lipstick with lots of shimmer. This is a slightly warmer more orange toned red than I normally go for but I really loved the tube (haha) and it’s the only red I have with shimmer, so yay! You can still get this color on Sephora’s website.

MAC Red Lipstick Swatches 1
Ruby Woo, Cockney, Russian Red, MAC Red, New Temptation, Heartless

MAC Red Lipstick Swatches 2
Prolong, Perpetual Flame, Dubonnet, Viva Glam I, Red Pepper, KVD Painted Love

So which of these are your favorites? What am I missing that I *need*?



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  • May 23, 2011

    Ruby Woo is my fav red of all time. It flatters so many skin tones. I love that classic feel I get when I put it. I want pin curls and pearls all the way.

    • May 23, 2011

      Hi steph-gem,

      Yay for Ruby Woo!

  • May 23, 2011

    I am such a sucker for red lipsticks! Love this post. I have most of these, Dubonnet & Heartless being my favorites. Brave Red (cremesheen) and Ladybug (lustre) are also two of my favorite MAC reds. Thanks for taking these lovely photos!

    • May 23, 2011

      Hi SB_Sweetie,

      I have Ladybug and only wore it once because it bled ALLLL over my face! Something about darker colored lustres do not work on me :(

  • May 23, 2011

    I don’t wear red lipsticks cause I think they’re too bright for me. But I’d choose Dubonnet or Viva Glam I since they’re darker.

    • May 23, 2011

      HI JenMei,

      Yeah there are a lot of red lipsticks that aren’t too bright, you could find one I’m sure! :)

  • May 23, 2011

    Wow! Russian Red looks so much more opaque on you than it does on me!
    Vijaya´s last post…Look- Test Day Makeup RevisitedMy Profile

    • May 23, 2011

      Hi Vijaya,

      Russian Red is super saturated (I have two of them actually because I got the Wonder Woman one also haha), yours isn’t?

  • May 23, 2011

    What about Hourglass? Not too familiar with the brand, as I live in Arkansas and we’re always 10 years behind in everything… but lookit what Scrangie has (http://www.scrangie.com/2011/05/makeup-monday-hourglass-cosmetics.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Scrangie+%28Scrangie%29)!!! I know it’s a gloss, not a lipstick, but WOW. I tend to like either pigment craziness like this or matte matte matte. I love Red Pepper- of course the one that’s most inaccessible. And everyone should own Russian Red.
    Sara´s last post…Sara was just walkin along- minding her own business- AHHHH! X-STITCH!My Profile

    • May 23, 2011

      Hi Sara,

      Yeah I don’t have that one.

  • May 23, 2011

    Ruby woo looks amazing on you!!!! I love this post :)

    • May 23, 2011

      Hi Amina,


  • May 23, 2011

    Sorry for the big ugly fail link. It was a swatch of the Extreme Sheen lipgloss in Siren.
    Sara´s last post…Sara was just walkin along- minding her own business- AHHHH! X-STITCH!My Profile

    • May 23, 2011


      No worries, I already saw it earlier :) I am not a huge fan of red gloss for some reason, I prefer red lipstick.

  • May 23, 2011

    wow! you look really hot with red lipstick! i especially love how dubonnet looks on you (:

    gotta agree with you that the blue-based reds look better on you! adora is really pretty, but doesn’t match your skintone as well.

    thanks for your tips on wearing red lipstick! maybe i’ll venture into the red lipstick zone, someday 😡

    • May 23, 2011

      Hi cheryl,

      Thanks! I agree, of all of them Adora is the least flattering on my skin tone.

  • May 23, 2011

    I wish reds looked this good on me! I love Viva Glam & Prolong! I need to get more comfy with darker shades on my lips….these look so fun.
    Shimmer´s last post…Manicure of The Day- OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous Pictures and ReviewMy Profile

    • May 23, 2011

      Hi Shimmer,

      You just have to search for the right one, but it is out there :)

  • May 23, 2011

    Gorgeous! I want to own a red lipstick, but there are so many options! I think I would need to stand in a MAC store for hours, haha. I love Dubonnet, Cockney, and Russian Red on you!
    Larie´s last post…Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Skin Tint SPF 20My Profile

    • May 23, 2011

      Hi Larie,

      Thanks! I cannot believe that there are still so many that I don’t have!

  • May 23, 2011

    Love the review and pics! Of MAC reds I have Lady Danger, Lady Bug, Ruby Woo and Russian Red.

    Russian Red is my favourite, hands down, but sometimes I’m in the mood for Lady Danger (which seems to be verging on neon orange in the tube but looks surprisingly flattering on my lips).

    Lady Bug is the kind of lippie I would have loved to have as a teenager: sheer with a soft shine.

    Though I love Ruby Woo, it’s the most difficult shade for me, I also find a little bit too dry and crayon-like. My trick is to add a teeny weeny bit of Lady Danger on top: it makes the finish a bit creamier and the shade a bit warmer.

  • May 23, 2011

    Great kitteh pic!

    You need some Inglot reds to try for us – – –

    Your blog is just SUPER – – great photos and you actually wear the colors for us.

  • May 23, 2011

    My grandmother loved red lipstick. It was the only makeup she wore. I inherited her love for red lipstick. :)
    Kimberly´s last post…The Ugly Series- Part 5- Just Plain Ol OrangeMy Profile

  • May 23, 2011

    I don’t own any red lipsticks because they’re just too high maintenance for me. :(
    These all look fab on you though!! You sure can rock a red lip, Kelly!

  • May 23, 2011

    I love these MAC shades – I’ve never tried MAC lipstick because for some reason they bleed like crazy on me. My favorite red lipstick ever – Chanel Hydrabase Coco Red which they just discontinued after a couple of decades – stayed on me like crazy, great formula and a beautiful red with a slight blue undertone – so sexy and I’ve been so bummed since they discontinued. It’s nice to know someone else loves red lipstick :) Great swatches!

  • May 23, 2011

    Wow, as a lover of red lipstick this post has been infinitely helpful!

  • May 23, 2011

    First of all, GREAT post! I love red lips, too! My favorite Shiseido and Dior were discontinued, so I’m on the hunt for a replacement. Evidently, I NEED some MAC. Thanks for the notes on staying power and bleeding- INVALUABLE!
    Lately, lipsticks have been feeling like they look too heavy on my face so I’ve gone with mostly sheerer reds, but this post may have me back on the red lipstick bandwagon…
    But I have a question- did I miss something? In your pic, you note the last lipstick as Kat Von D Adora; but in the swatch pic it’s listed as Kat Von D Painted Love; so I’m confused as to which one is actually on your lips- and they are both really pretty- but they do look different. Thanks!

    • May 24, 2011

      Hi ReaderRita,

      Actually that is my mistake. Painted Love is the line of lipstick that Adora is in, but it is called Adora.

  • May 23, 2011

    No Lady Danger? :( That one’s my favorite, but I guess if you’re going for a blue-based red Lady Danger is about as far from blue as you can get. Heartless is a definite close second. I love it.
    Stephanie´s last post…OPI Silver Shatter- ConfessionMy Profile

    • May 24, 2011

      Hi Stephanie,

      I actually don’t have that one!

  • May 23, 2011

    How do you not get it on your teeth?

    • May 24, 2011

      Hi zoe,

      Blot, blot, blot :)

  • May 23, 2011

    Wow. That’s a lot of red lipsticks. Very jealous!
    Olgie´s last post…I jumped on the Inglot bandwagonMy Profile

  • May 23, 2011

    I always loved reds too :)
    You might like MAC Cherry lip pencil.
    I always loved MAC 3dGlass in Boundless, the Russian Red lipglass, Lustreglass in Venetian and lip lacquer in Fanplastico. Man, Fanplastico is AMAZING.
    Phyrra´s last post…Yellow ButtercupcakeMy Profile

    • May 24, 2011

      Hi Phyrra,

      Yeah I think I almost got Cherry once. I need it!

  • May 23, 2011

    I’d have to vote for the New Temptation, doesn’t look as red as some! Red looks great on you but red on me doesn’t complement my skin tone. But after reading this maybe you’re right and there is a red out there that will work. I may give it a try!

    What’s your thoughts because the mauve color has always looked the best?

    • May 24, 2011

      Hi Ginny,

      You mean a mauve lipstick looks best on you?

  • May 24, 2011
    Anna Phylactyc

    Great post! Speaking of pre-“bullet” MAC lipstick tubes, do you remember MAC Vino l/s? It was so gorgous, my perfect red, but I have no idea when they discontinued it! All I have left of it is a sad, lonely little nub in the old packaging…

    • May 24, 2011

      Hi Anna Phylactyc,

      That sound very familiar! I might have had that one…