Seeing red: lipstick color and wear comparison

I may or may not have a soft spot (very VERY soft spot) for mini lipsticks, especially the bold colors because they just look so pretty! Many people are tentative about wearing bold/red lipsticks, but almost every fashion person will tell you that red is universal, you just have to find the right one. And Chinese New Year is tomorrow! What better time to put out a red lipstick post?


There’s red lipstick and red lipsticks, so I decided to take out all my red lippies so you can see the subtle difference in color when swatched, and of course the lasting power when worn. After all, the worst thing about bold lip color is the maintenance. While you can make your lipstick last longer with blotting/lipbrush/primer and all those stuff, here I’m just testing the lipsticks by themselves, no fancy tools or products to supplement them. Without further ado, let’s give it up for today’s stars! Upon application…..

  1. Kat Von D Painted Love lipstick (Underage Red) – a bright but not neon red. It’s not creamy and not dry. You can get the opaque/exact color as in the tube after 2 or 3 swipes, or just one swipe and smooth/smudge it out for a med/full coverage.
  2. Urban Decay Revolution lipstick (Catfight) – a pink-ish/cool red. Not too creamy (Bite) and not too dry (Tarte matte) and is definitely opaque. It does not dry the lips out.
  3. Urban Decay Revolution lipstick (69) – a bright but not neon red. It looks ALMOST the same as KVD underage red when swatched, but after blotting/swiping you can see the undertone is different, where it’s a pink/red while KVD is a orange/red.
  4. Bite Creme lipstick (VIB Rouge) – dark red with a slight brown undertone. It is very creamy, great if you have dry lips or want to smudge/dab for a lighter color. If you do like the dark color, it is pigmented enough that one light swipe will give you the exact color.
  5. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid lipstick (Icon) – color of almost dried blood. It’s very pigmented, which is fine if you want your lips to be the color in the tube, but if you intend to smudge/dab for a lighter color, it sets fast so it’s better to use as it is.
  6. Tarte Lipsurgence Matte lip tint (Fiery) – a true cool red and not too dark. If you are not used to the matte finish, it looks like your lips are dry but it’s not. While it’s not particularly moisturizing, it does not dry out your lips. It does not layer well with gloss etc however.
  7. Tarte Lipsurgence lip tint (Festive) – a sheer red, great for beginner, super pale skin or casual wear. You can do one swipe for a red tint that looks friendly, or a couple swipes to build up the color and get a glossy red. It is a bit more moisturizing than the matte lipsurgence.
  8. Covergirl Blast Flipstick (Stunner) – this is great if you want lasting power and bright color, looks almost a bit neon/coral under certain lighting. It’s not so great if you are looking for hydration. It does dry out your lips and, well, the shimmer makes the bullet feel bumpy altho you can’t feel it on your lips.


The lipsticks are swatched over bare skin, no primer, and I did 7 swipes for all of them. If you are tentative about wearing red, I recommend going for a sheer red like 7 which is noticeable but not too loud and have buildable coverage. I have light/med skin with yellow undertone and you can see how bright (1, 3, 8) lipstick and dark (4, 5, 6) looks on me.

Now then, will the lipstick smudge? I pressed my finger over the  lipstick and swiped down once for all of them, they all budged except for Hourglass (5), which is a liquid/more like a stain. The next test is blotting. If I blot my lips or take a sip from the glass, is there going to be a giant lipstick print on the glass and nothing on my lips? I pressed a paper towel firmly over it and lift…..


The Bite lipstick (4) transferred the most but it’s also the most creamy and second most pigmented after one swipe (after Hourglass (5) iconic). Tarte matte (6) and Covergirl (8) transferred the least, but they are also the least moisturizing and have a drier finish. Tarte matte doesn’t moisturize or dry, but the Covergirl is definitely drying and cannot be worn without lip balm underneath. >.<

Now then, how well do they wear? After one firm wipe with the paper towel, most of the colors are gone, left with a stain/the undertone of the lipsticks. Since oil is known for taking off makeup, does your lipstick stand a chance against greasy food? I rubbed some coconut oil, which are used for cooking and known to be an effective makeup remover, over the lipsticks and then wiped off with the paper towel

(Left) lipstick after one wipe, the undertones. (Right) lipstick after using coconut oil as makeup remover.

Urban Decay stayed true to their brand, you can still see the remains of the lipstick even after coconut oil. Kat Von D also stays, it’s just a lighter red so the stain after using coconut oil don’t show up on camera well, but you can tell it is there. Hourglass also can be seen clearly, but it is a liquid/stain formula rather than traditional lipstick, so it’s not quite apples to apples. Yes, Covergirl also remained but it’s also the most drying thing ever. =(

Bite and Hourglass are the most pigmented of the bunch in one swipe, followed by Kat Von D and Urban Decay. Kat Von D and Hourglass seems to have gotten a good balance between non-transferring and non-drying for different activities. For lasting power/non-budging, Urban Decay and Hourglass takes the cake. The creamiest lipstick is Bite and the driest is either Tarte Matte or Covergirl. Warm undertone in lipsticks tend to make them look a bit more brown on my yellow undertoned skin so I prefer cooler red. Since I’m not a makeup expert, I’d like the chance to fix/sheer out my lipsticks but Hourglass set too quickly for that. With that in mind, my favorite of the bunch is probably Urban Decay Catfight (meow!). So, what is your favorite red?


11 thoughts on “Seeing red: lipstick color and wear comparison

    1. You are welcome! It’s not that drying on me, but it definitely does not moisturize either. I got complimented when I wore it by itself, but it doesn’t really play nice with other things on top like gloss.

  1. I ABSOLUTELY love the Bite! I wear it a lot, i don’t even pay much attention to my other Reds, I neglect them all now! I get a lot of wear time out of it if i blot and pat a little setting powder on top!

    1. See, I can do lipliners but setting powder always scares me cuz I KNOW I’m gonna end up eating it. o.o
      But the Bite is nice, it’s so creamy and easy to apply without that “lipstick” smell. If I end up not qualifying for Rouge nxt year, I think I will grab a full size before my status expires. =)

  2. Great review and swatches! My holy grail red is Dior Addict Lipstick in New Look. I have the UD Catfight mini but it wears off as fuschia on me and doesn’t stay the red color that it applies. The bite beauty lipsticks are my favorite! The formula is incredible! I have Vouvray and Bouquet but have the pomegranate ( a red) one on my loves list. Its so so gorgeous, but I have at least a handful of red lip colors that I rarely reach for.

  3. Hi, I’m a distributor for LipSense by SeneGence. I would love to send you a color to try and review. It doesn’t smudge at all and lasts between 4-18 hours. Let me know if you’re interested. Thanks so much

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