If I had to wear only one beauty product for the rest of my life, it would be red lipstick. Since high school, red has been my go-to lip color. I wore a bold red lip to my senior prom, and my Instagram feed is filled with red-lipped selfies. My love affair with red lipsticks runs deep, not only because I love how it looks but also because of how it makes me feel. A good red makes me feel incredibly powerful, confident, and beautiful.
Of course, my deep-seated adoration for red lips has led me to try many reds—ranging from liquid matte to those with a semi-gloss finish— from different beauty brands. My red lip collection is full of gems, but the red lipsticks I regularly reach for all come from Black-owned beauty brands. They all beautifully flatter Black and Brown skin, and my obsession with them is real. Ahead, discover my five favorite matte red lips of all time.
Uoma Beauty is a brand that proudly celebrates the beauty of all shades. The brand’s founder, Sharon Chuter, is also the visionary behind the #PullUpOrShutUp campaign—a direct action movement to raise awareness about the lack of Black employees at beauty brands and corporations. I wholeheartedly support the ethos of Uoma Beauty, and its Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in "Sade" is truly a winner. Inspired by singer Sade’s signature red lip, the brand created this boldly pigmented lippie. While it has a matte finish, it glides on like silk, and the blend of wild mango butter ensures that my lips never feel dry throughout the day.
- $24 Available at Uoma Beauty
Inspired by her middle name, “Omolewa”–which means "beautiful child" in the Yoruba language–founder Irene Dele-Adejumo created her beauty brand to honor women of color. Since testing out this red from Omolewa Cosmetics last year, I’ve been hooked. It’s another matte lipstick that feels incredibly lightweight, and its color payoff is the truth. The best part? It never flakes or budges, so I don’t have to worry about reapplying throughout the day.
- $17.99 Available at Omolewa Cosmetics
The Lip Bar
You can’t talk about red lips without including The Lip Bar in the conversation. In 2012, Melissa Butler began making lipsticks in her kitchen and has since grown her business into a beauty empire, making makeup more inclusive by the day. The brand’s signature red lip, “Bawse Lady,” makes me feel like, well, a boss! It goes on like a gloss but dries matte, and it's one of the prettiest deep reds I own.
- $13 Available at The Lip Bar
What can I say? Fenty Beauty never misses a beat when it comes to delivering beauty products that complement melanin-rich skin. "Uncensored" is a beautiful, show-stopping red shade that's designed to look good on every skin tone. The carefully shaped wand makes it easy to swipe on with precision. And it’s seriously so lightweight that I forget I even have anything on my lips when I’m wearing it.
- $25 Available at Fenty Beauty
KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson started Mented Cosmetics after having a conversation about their difficulties finding a nude lipstick that flattered their complexions. The brand has since expanded to more beauty products, including red lipsticks. It offers three versions of its Red Matte Lipstick: "Red and Butter" (a bright red with yellow undertones), "Red Carpet" (a classic blue-based red), and "Red Rover" (and a deep berry red). "Red Carpet" is my favorite, and it is such a rich, velvety shade. Best of all, all of Mented Cosmetics’ lipsticks are vegan, paraben-free, non-toxic, cruelty-free, and made in the United States.
- $18 Available at Mented Cosmetics