In Spenny vs Penny we compare the products we love, with those following in their (sometimes pricey) footsteps. Here we compare red matte lipsticks from the likes of Chanel, Mac, Glossier, Revlon and Zara, asking should you put your money where your mouth is?
Rouge Allure Velvet in Pirate, Chanel, £32
Disclaimer: I would never usually pay £32 for some lippy – mainly because I lose everything I own, and red lipstick, typically reapplied after I’ve had a few wines, feels like quite a financial risk.
That said, I feel really fancy when I take the lipstick out of its packaging – the case has a push-up mechanism and a hyper gold shiny end, and having the word “Chanel” embossed on the bright red lipstick makes me feel like I’m loaded. I’m impressed at how smoothly it glides over my lips. So this is what people pay for, I think. It looks good, too: a bluey red, which feels elegant and slick.
But this is where it goes downhill. I try the lipstick at work on a Wednesday and it comes off on my mug each time I take a sip – a bit of a waste if you ask me. What’s more, after a few hours it’s bled and I have to remove it altogether, then reapply. This bleeding happens again later in the evening and I have to start over – all I keep thinking about is how much it costs, and the amount I’ve used in one day.
I normally can’t be arsed with lip liner – I have too many lipsticks to have enough shades of lip liner for – but this definitely needs one, and stays put when I try it a few days later. This is, of course, yet more money to spend.
Penny(ish): Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, M.A.C Cosmetics, £17.50
A cult favourite: I’ve worn Ruby Woo for years and, admittedly, I have a bit of a soft spot for it. But at £17.50 it’s hardly cheap (unless, like me, you save six empty pieces of Mac packaging to get a free lipstick). It’s quite bright, but not overwhelmingly so – this is truly a lipstick that can be worn year-round.
In my experience Ruby Woo isn’t a bleeder, so I wear it without lip liner and it holds fast. The issue with this mega matte lippy is that it’s quite drying, incredibly drying in fact, and after a few hours I find myself doing one of two things: adding lip balm to moisturise my lips (which isn’t ideal as the lipstick then ends up on my fingers), or rubbing it off altogether to reapply.
Penny(ish): Generation G in Zip, Glossier, £14
This is my least favourite of the bunch, because I think if you’re going to wear a red lippy, you might as well go to town with it. I love a statement lip and this is more subtle than I like to be – in both life and lip.
Unlike some of the others, it didn’t run and was moisturising, but it also needed really vigorous application to show up and faded quickly. If I’m being generous I’d say this is a good lipstick for the day time, if I’m being honest I’d say steer clear.
Penny: Ultimatte UM15, Zara, £9.99
I love this one. It’s similar to Mac’s Ruby Woo in colour, but as moisturising as Chanel’s. The packaging is nice, too. It glides shut with a magnetic close function, which is oddly satisfying.
It lasts pretty well all day. At work it stays on fine, but on the weekend I have to reapply it once or twice in about 12/13 hours (I was drinking Prosecco for a large part of that – so I’d say it’s pretty good going). It doesn’t bleed or dry out too much in comparison, and the colour is a bold red, which is right up my street. To be safe wear a lip liner, but that doesn’t feel too much of an expense as the lippy only costs under a tenner.
Penny: Revlon Super Lustrous Matte Lipstick in Red Rules The World, Boots, £7.99
I wear this lipstick to work on a Tuesday and throughout the day literally everyone comments on it. By late afternoon it feels a little dry and I want to wipe it off and reapply, but it doesn’t look much different to when I first applied it – so I stick it out.
I love the deep red colour, which is perfect if you need to be more sophisticated – to work or for a fancy meal. But I’d say if you want something a bit more fun-loving, try Zara’s.
We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.