10 Under $20: We Found (And Tried) The Best Red Lipsticks From A Drugstore!

Best red lipstick from a drugstore

Red lipstick is one of those staples that, once you find the perfect shade, can update your look, polish your appearance and leave you looking fabulous regardless of just about any other style choice you accompany it with. In short: it is amazing, and everyone should give it at least one try.

In the past, we’ve been over the pros & cons of wearing red lipstick on a first date, as well as how to make your red lip last all day long, but we haven’t done a whole lot of testing. After seeing all the positive feedback on the 10 Under $20 for drugstore mascaras a few weeks ago, I decided it would be fun to do one for red lipstick, too!
As with most red lipstick devotees, I have tested quite a few of them over the years. From scarlet reds to violet reds, orangey reds to pinkish reds, true reds to brick reds, I’ve tried just about any kind I could get my hands on. I have come to the conclusion that while I may play around with textures depending on the circumstances, I typically love true reds and blue reds, as I have an extremely pale complexion and these just look better with my skin tone.

For this testing session, I rated each lipstick on three categories:

  • Color
  • Texture
  • Durability
  • Packaging

Normally, I wouldn’t rate stuff in that last category, but when it comes to products where the color is one of the most important features, I think it’s important to have good packaging that is at least moderately true to the shade you’ll be receiving. As for durability: each day that I wore these colors, I took a photo when it was just applied and approximately 4 hours afterward in order to get a good idea of how long they lasted.

I should also note that just because these colors may not be great with my own skin tone, that doesn’t mean they won’t be wonderful on yours. I tried to get a range of types in order to get a wide variety of snazzy products for all lipstick lovers, not just myself. So, which was my favorite? Find out!

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    • Brianna

      I bought the Physician’s Formula mascara after your last 10 under $20 post, and love it. I’ve never, ever worn red lipstick but now I want TheBalm.

      • Samantha_Escobar

        So glad you loved it, too! Guh, it’s just SO pretty and deep and dark, I love it. As for TheBALM, definitely give it a try — I’m wearing it again right now. :D

      • Brianna

        And it goes on so nice, no clumps! Did you use a liner with TheBALM?

    • Char

      Love these posts! Thank you!

      I have tried the Retro Red by NYC and was also surprised at what a great color and lipstick it was for the price. Much better than the red by my favorite lipstick brand Lime Crime which costs around $16 for a tube.

      • Samantha_Escobar

        Thank you! So glad you are into these as much as I am into doing them! :)

        And oh my gosh, I love Lime Crime (but do not love spending $16). NYC is surprisingly fantastic…they have so much stuff that is excellent for the value.

      • Leah Marie Steel

        Every NYC product that I have tried has been terrific. Factor in the price and every other brand gets major side-eye.

    • Mildred Lewis

      Great choices here. Inspired.

      • Samantha_Escobar

        Thanks, Mildred! :)

    • Isana Leshchinskaya

      what color are you wearing in the article header? it’s gorgeous.

    • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cate

      I am OBSESSED with Mia Moore by the Balm. I originally impulse bought it because it had such cute packaging, and then I realized it was a magical lipstick sent down to us by the makeup gods on high. My only complaint is that it can leave that gross ring around my lips as it fades, but as long as you keep up with it, it’s magical.

    • Hall

      I picked up the Neutrogena gloss yesterday in the same color and there is no color to it. It’s a gloss so I wasn’t expecting miracles but there is NO color. At all. Just shiny.

    • Charmless

      Three reds for under $5:
      - Wet’n'Wild Mega Last in Red Velvet (wearing it today)
      - Wet’n'Wild Mega Last in Stoplight Red (Ruby Woo dupe)
      - e.l.f. matte lip color in Rich Red

      I use them with e.l.f. lip lock pencil because feathering is a bitch.

      • badfae

        I haven’t tried the other two, but I can vouch for the e.l.f. one, for sure! Great lasting power, nice bold color.

      • Evelina

        I bought the ELF matte lip color based on your review, and I loooooove it! Great value for the price. I also highly recommend!

    • http://thereadermodel.blogspot.com Diana Maria

      Though you say that L’Oreal’s Red Fatale doesn’t suit you, the faded stain looks lovely on you! Really magnifies your pretty pale skin, and gives a nice, time-y vintage look. :)