The Best Way to Find the Perfect Red Lipstick

You might recognize “risk it for the biscuit” as a metaphorical turn of phrase that encourages risk-taking for the sake of reward. I, however, identify with the sentiment in a completely literal sense. Particularly when I happen to be wearing red lipstick and find myself in front of food.

No matter how many painstaking minutes I spend perfecting the application lest it venture even a millimeter outside the perimeter of my lips, if presented with the opportunity to consume a sugary treat I will gladly risk it — for the biscuit. I will flirt with the danger of potential smudging, or worse, “transfer,” in exchange for the delight of consuming a cookie. And you know what? It’s worth it every time, even when I end up with a less-than-perfect pout.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could have the best of both worlds, though? If I could wear my lipstick and eat my cookie, too, with the confidence that the latter indulgence wouldn’t impact the integrity of the former? When former Man Repeller social media intern Reed Redman pitched the idea of shooting red lipsticks and biscuits in honor of the aforementioned adage, it felt like fate. I decided the moist nature of a mouth-to-cookie interaction would be the ideal litmus test for a lipstick’s ability to stay put.

That’s how I ended up in a Man Repeller conference room with five of New York’s best cookies, five of Amazon’s best red lipsticks and one willing guinea pig — model (and unibrow evangelist) Sophia Hadjipanteli. Scroll down for the results of our little experiment.

1. Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick, Tested on an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie from Levain

This formula went on nice and creamy with a slight shimmer, like a splash of whole milk in a glass of iced coffee glinting in the sun. Apparently, it’s made with “nourishing honey nectar,” which is what gives it a creamier texture. How many time can I say variations of the word “creamy” before you stop reading?

I asked Sophia if she could taste the nourishing honey nectar and she said no, which is unfortunate since oatmeal topped with honey and raisins is a breakfast of champions. She said the cookie was delicious regardless, though — and filling, too, “like a full meal.” If you’ve ever eaten a Levain cookie you’ll get it. They are famous for being uniquely large and dense and taste more like cookie dough moonlighting as a scone than a cookie.

A lot of lipstick came off in the consumption of said cookie dough scone, but I will say it was a tough opponent — buttery, gooey, thick — a veritable smorgasbord of obstacles for a pout trying to stay put, if you know what I mean.

2. Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter, Tested on a Ginger Molasses Cookie from The Smile

REVLON’s beloved lip butters are renowned for their moisturizing prowess and sit somewhere between a tinted lip stain and a lipstick. One swipe will give you a slightly sheer hint of color, but you can add on for a more opaque look. In other words: This is a great red lipstick if you’re scared of red lipstick, with the ability to go from training wheels to two-wheeler in a matter of seconds.

However, it might not be a great red lipstick if you’re looking for something that clings to your lips like a sloth on a branch. Quite a bit came off on the cookie, but frankly, I expected nothing less from a lipstick that literally has the word “butter” in its name. Slipperiness is to be expected.

As for the cookie? Sophia said it had a strong molasses flavor with just the right amount of chew.

3. L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick, Tested on an M&M Cookie from Insomnia

Billed as L’Oreal’s most richly colored and hydrating lip product, this one went on with the smooth glide of a lip balm but still produced the opaque appearance of a true lipstick. There was minimal transfer from lip to cookie — definitely some noticeable smudging but not a full clown situation. Other than that, my main observation was that it really smells like LIPSTICK — good, old-fashioned, press-your-nose-against-your-grandmother’s-lapel lipstick. Sophia’s main observation was that the cookie was very soft and had an excellent M&M ratio.

4. Lime Crime Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick, Tested on a Sugar Cookie from Eleni’s

Wow. This stuff is super liquidy right out of the tube but dries completely matte — as in zero shine or gloss whatsoever. I understood why they’re called “Velvetines” the moment I saw Sophia’s lips with it on, because it has a luxurious, airbrushed quality reminiscent of a velvet swatch.

True to its “non-transferable” promises, not a speck of lipstick transferred onto the cookie. Sophia’s mouth remained movie siren-perfect throughout the entire cookie consumption process, and yes, multiple enthusiastic bites were taken. I’m not surprised this lipstick has a cult following, as evidenced by almost 3,000 reviews on Amazon.

Eleni’s sugar cookies have a fan club of their own, which is also understandable given how delicious the icing is. That’s the key to a successful sugar cookie, in my humble opinion: good icing. Sophia agreed.

5. Covergirl Outlast All Day Two-Step Lipcolor, Tested on a Confetti Cookie from Milk Bar

styled with Tory Burch sweaterstyled with Tory Burch sweater

Lip color is one of the few arenas in which the phrase “two-step” doesn’t make me want to go back to bed. For some reason the prospect of applying a lip product in multiple steps (usually the color plus a top coat of some kind) is more than just tolerable — it’s fun — and in my experience, a top coat can really help seal in color for a long-lasting effect. This one from COVERGIRL certainly promised to do that, advertising itself as “food, kiss and workout-proof.” The packaging made no mention of it being “cookie-proof” though, so yes, you could call this experiment groundbreaking.

Two even coats of product and two bites of Milk Bar’s confetti cookie later, Sophia’s lips were still pristine. She might have been more excited about the outstanding cookie than the outstanding test results, though:  “It’s so good. It tastes like a little kid’s birthday cake.”

In conclusion, if you’re in the market for a cookie-proof (and therefore essentially life-proof) lipstick, you can’t go wrong with either Lime Crime Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick or Covergirl Outlast All Day Two-Step Lipcolor. If you’re looking for something a little more moisturizing and don’t particularly care about potential smudging, the options from Maybelline, Revlon and L’Oréal are great in terms of color and shine. When in doubt, eat a cookie. They’re delicious regardless.

Modeled by Sophia HadjipanteliStyled by Elizabeth Tamkin; Photos by Edith Young; Makeup by Regard Tang

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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