Red lipstick is my thing. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become my go-to beauty staple, the product I can throw on for any occasion and feel confident, classic, and beautiful. But I’m also increasingly cautious when buying beauty products: Many cosmetics, including lipstick, contain lead and other less-than-desirable ingredients likeÂ phthalates, plasticizers…even gluten or animal byproducts. So what’s a red lip lover to do? Especially with a fancy New Year’s Eve night out coming up?
I was kind of skeptical that I’d be able to find an awesome red lipstick made from natural ingredients that performed like my MAC and NARS faves. However, using myself as a guinea pig (trying lipstick, truly a hard day of work), I discovered several terrific redsÂ made from natural ingredients.
(I applied all of these without lip liner, primer or any other kind of makeup or lip product. Also, please excuse my silly and awkward self-portraits.)
Zosimos Botanicals’Â Garnet, $20
A classic bright red lipstick manufactured in a totally vegan formula.
What’s in it:Â organic castor oil, organic cocoa butter, sesame oil, castor wax, macadamia nut oil, mica, avocado oil, avocado butter, candelilla waxÂ (see website for full list)
How I liked it: This one took a few layers to get a good red lip going,Â but felt light while it was on. It lasted for a few hours while I ate and drank. I found it really moisturizing. My lips felt moisturized even after the color (which is very matte) had faded.
BITE Beauty’s Zivoli, $24
What’s in it: beeswax, jojoba oil, rebiana sweetener, shea butter, castor seed oil (see website for full list)
How I liked it:Â This is a dark rich red in the container, but looks very bright and classic while it’s on. It has a bit of a shine to it, which I liked. Zivoli tastes a little bit sweet when it goes on, which was kind of a pleasant surprise, but it seemed to fade pretty quickly on the lip. After a few hours, it’s more of a lip stain rather than a lipstick.
BITE Beauty’s Tannin, $24
BITE Beauty’s lip products are made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates or synthetic fragrances or dyes. Tannin is a poppy red.
What’s in it: beeswax, jojoba oil, rebiana sweetener, shea butter, castor seed oilÂ (see website for full list)
How I liked it:Â Tannin, like Zivoli, looks a lot darker in the lipstick container than it actually does on the lip. It goes on pretty heavy, almost maroon, but fades quite a bit when you blot it. It also looks a lot darker in person than it does in this photo. I liked it because it feels moisturizing and light on the lip, but like Zivoli it fades quickly.
Jane Iredale’s Nicole, $20
What’s in it: Castor seed oil, beeswax, carnuaba wax, grape seed extract (see website for full list)
How I liked it: This is a very sheer color, almost a tint rather than a full-on lipstick. On the lips, it feels like a lip balm rather than a traditional lipstick. I put on a few layers to build up the color and it looked good, but subtle.
The winner? It’s a toss up between Zivoli and Garnet. Garnet’s a great every day red, but I loved the high-impact of Zivoli, despite having to reapply it a lot. Both of the BITE Beauty products exceeded my expectations for an all-natural lip product, in terms of color impact.
I’d also like to give a shout out toÂ Tarte Glamazon in Fierce, one of my favorite all-natural red lipsticks that took a tumble down the backseat of my friend’s car and was never seen again, so could not make an appearance in this lipstick test.
Photos: Carrie Murphy