A bold red lipstick is the ultimate piece of beauty iconography—sharp and gleaming in bullet form, universally flattering on the mouth. Finding the perfect red may seem the impossible task, yet a lineup of flawless options does exist, formulas that fly off the shelves year after year.
Around the world, four high-impact tubes of MAC Ruby Woo are bought every minute, while Laura Mercier moves more than 100 of its Velour Lovers sticks in Temptation every week. From the moment the first Dior models strode down the runway in 1947 sporting crimson pouts, the house’s iconic shade has been in high demand, and is now sold three times every hour in the U.S. In fact, many extraordinary reds first found their footing in decades past: Revlon’s velvet-soft Love That Red in 1951, YSL’s piercing Le Rouge in 1978. To craft Giorgio Armani’s signature lacquer, the Italian designer visited the cosmetic lab 96 times, to precisely match the inner petals of a rose—proof that perfection is attainable, after all. Above, 13 of the best-selling red lipsticks of all time, worth dipping into again and again.