Best Festive/Winter Red Lipsticks Under $30

T’is the season (in the southern hemisphere, at least) to brighten up your makeup with deeper, brighter lips. Even without Christmas in July, winter is always the time of year when I find myself reaching for a red lipstick above anything else. There are loads of great red lipsticks to be found in the drugstore at really affordable prices. Here are my favourite festive reds that I love to wear throughout the colder months.

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in Passion

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Like most other drugstore brands, Revlon has jumped on the liquid lip bandwagon. This is a relatively new product – I believe it only hit New Zealand stores earlier this year. I have both of the reds in this range, Love and Passion, and though I like both, Passion is definitely my pick for this time of year. It’s a deep, bright red with berry undertones (as opposed to the orange undertones of Love) and I think the colour is perfect for winter. Like all the shades in this range, the formula has a sweet, creamy smell which certainly adds to its appeal. The applicator also makes it really easy to get a clean application.

I’m gonna be real, this product is not perfect. I’ve found that the formula of this particular shade can apply rather patchy, and you have to work quite hard to build it up. I’ve found that going ham* and just applying heaps at once tends to work the best if you want a smooth opaque coverage. It dries to a matte finish (though not as quickly or as matte as the ColourPop Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks), so it can be quite drying on the lips – I’d recommend prepping your lips with a good lip balm 10 minutes beforehand. Once you’ve applied the lip colour, it has amazing longevity without beginning to lose its vibrancy or look patchy.

Overall, though, I think Revlon’s Ultra HD Mattes are great. They’ve really done well on the packaging, and the applicator makes it the ideal all-day lip product, because touching up is so easy . If you find you even need to – I was very impressed with how well it lasted once applied well. And I just love the colour!

$26.50 from Life Pharmacy.

Chi Chi Creamy Matte Liquid Lipstick in Viva La Diva

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This lipstick is definitely the glossiest of the bunch. If you want a really bright, classic red to wear throughout the (remaining) winter months, then Viva La Diva is your girl. This is also the most comfortable and long-wearing lipstick among the ones I’ve picked, so it’s definitely the one I’d recommend if you want to wear your red lip all day long and not experience the drying/cracking/flaking that so many other liquid lip products tend to do after they’ve been on for a few hours.

I will say, despite having the word “matte” in the product name, I’d definitely not call this one matte. It has a very creamy consistency, and when applied it does have a bit of shine to it. But it doesn’t bother me, because I like wearing it when I want my lips to have a bit more gloss. I will say that it does tend to smudge a lot more than the other products I’ve listed here, so you do have to be aware of that. It also has a scent that is very nostalgic for me, and reminds me of the fruit-flavoured lip glosses I used to wear when I was a kid. Which may be a good thing or a bad thing for you – I like it, anyway.

The colour is stunning, I love how comfortable the formula is, and once again it has a great applicator which makes putting it on so very easy. The product is also super pigmented, which is a plus. A little goes a long way.

$22.99 from Farmers.

Chi Chi Viva La Diva Lipstick in Corporate Femme

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If you know me at all, you know how much I love Chi Chi’s Viva La Diva range of lipsticks. I’ve raved about them before on YouTube (several times, I think). I reach for them all the time. I wish I owned all of them, because they have such an incredible range of shades, the formula is faultless, and I think they’re just such a great find, especially at such a competitive price. (Competitive in regards to higher end lipsticks, which often retail for upwards of forty dollars. Chi Chi lipsticks are almost half that, and even less if you get them when they go on special at Farmers.)  If you’re looking for one new lipstick and you’re not all about that liquid lip, I’d say look no further than these.

Corporate Femme is one of my favourite shades. It’s a deeper matte red again, like Revlon’s Passion, but where Passion has more berry undertones, Corporate Femme is more of a dark brick red with brown undertones. I tend to use a lip brush to apply it, just for the sake of precision. But it’s a beautiful colour, the consistency is lovely, and it applies like a dream. It looks great in winter, but I also feel like it’s one of those timeless shades you could wear at any time of the year.

$22.99 from Farmers.

Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in 107

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This is the darkest shade on my list – a true berry red. I got this lipstick about a year ago and I have worn it almost to death (literally, there’s not much left in the tube). It’s very matte and the formula is quite drying, so again I would recommend prepping your lips with a moisturising balm before applying 107. Even so, I love this shade so much, especially for this time of year – I think it’s perfect! Again the smell of this lipstick is very nostalgic to me, it reminds me a lot of a lipstick my grandmother would let me smear on my face when I was very little.

If you don’t want to spend heaps on a lipstick, but you want something that’s good quality and looks amazing, I highly recommend 107. It’s bomb af.

$14.99 on makeup.co.nz.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo

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Ever since the NYX counter opened at Farmers Lambton Quay, I’ve been obsessed. Not only is their makeup great quality, it’s also super affordable and I always find myself drawn to this counter when I walk into Farmers. I’d heard a lot of good things about the soft matte lip creams online, so I was very excited to try them for myself when they became available in New Zealand..

Monte Carlo is a very similar shade to Revlon’s Passion, but for a much much lower cost. I actually think a lot of things about this lip cream are very similar to the Revlon one. They both smell amazing, they’re both deep berry-toned reds, and they both play a little hard to get when it comes to applying (but the payoff, I think, is worth it). Because it is a cream lip product, you do have to work quite hard to get a clean, opaque application. But once it dries down to a matte finish (and it does get very matte) it looks amazing. As with most liquid lip products, it’s drying, so y’know, make sure you prep your lips before using it. I think the packaging is super cute, and very easy to slip in your pocket or your handbag and carry around with you for touch-ups during the day. Especially considering the price, I think all the soft matte lip creams are such quality products, and Monte Carlo is the best if you want a bold, festive red.

$14.95 on makeup.co.nz.

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Creeper

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At $8.50 ($6 in the US), this lipstick is by far the most affordable. It’s also probably my absolute favourite of the bunch. It’s a perfect true red and the pigmentation is incredible. ColourPop is well-known for their incredible range of high quality products that come at incredibly low prices, and the hype around their ultra matte lips is definitely warranted. I mean it when I say their range of colours is incredible: they have just about every shade of lipstick you could imagine, as well as a few you can’t.

Creeper has amazing colour payoff (you only need one coat), and the doefoot applicator makes applying it very easy. It dries very quickly to an ultra matte finish – like the name suggests. Seriously, this product does not piss around. It is next level matte. If you have quite dry lips already, or hate the feeling of matte lip products, then this is definitely not for you. And even if you are into it, again, I’d highly recommend a hearty dose of lip balm before you wear Creeper. But when you do wear it, this shit lasts. The longevity is another thing about Creeper that I was blown away by: I’ve worn it all day without it cracking, flaking or bleeding, and I never needed to touch up. It also barely transferred.

If you were going to buy one product from this list, I’d go with Creeper – it’s an incredible red lipstick, not just for the price but for a lipstick in general.

NZ$8.50 (not including shipping costs) from ColourPop.

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From top to bottom: Chi Chi ‘Viva La Diva’, ColourPop ‘Creeper’, Chi Chi ‘Corporate Femme’, Nyx ‘Monte Carlo’, Revlon ‘Passion’, Rimmel ‘107’.

I also filmed a lip swatch video to go with this post. I swatched all the lipsticks mentioned in this post on my lips, so if you’d like to see how they look on someone of my complexion, please check it out!


*ham = hard as a motherfucker.

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