I've mentioned before that blood reds are my favourite shades to wear, and particularly if they're matte. I remember a few years ago hunting high and low for the perfect shade and not being able to find anything right. Luckily these days when brands launch new lip products, most of the time a deep red is in the mix. As someone who is more or less a connoisseur of red lipstick, trust me when I say that although to the untrained eye these might look like they're all the same, they're actually very different.
I Google swatches of lip products all the time and find it really helpful, but it can still be very hard to tell what the colour is going to look like against your skin tone when you can't see it in person. Choosing a deep red is quite possibly as tricky as choosing the right nude (though I'm rubbish at that). There are so many shades that look like they're red but actually lean quite purple, plum or brown, which, although beautiful in their own way, aren't what I'm after. So if you've ever had the same trouble, or even if you haven't but you're in the market for a deep, blood red shade, then you're in the right place. All of these are true blood reds that don't lean too far in any other direction.
Starting with the lipsticks we have maaaybe my favourite one, Bad Blood by Urban Decay. I have their Matte Revolution formula but this shade has since been re-released as part of the Vice line. I don't know if there's any difference between them in terms of this particular shade, but it's such a smooth, creamy, richly pigmented lipstick that I hope they didn't feel the need to change anything. I have quite a few of the UD reds and this one has to be my favourite. Probably the most similar in formula (aside from Colour Pop which I'll talk about below) would be the Giorgio Armani Rouge D'Armani in Rouge-400 which is also super creamy and rich but this one has more of a gloss to it. Both are super comfortable to wear and last really well on the lips. The Armani offering is definitely lighter in colour and is more blue based than Bad Blood, but it's just as beautiful.
As for the more traditional matte formulas that are a little drier on application, first up I've got MAC Viva Glam I. Considering they have every nude shade under the sun, MAC's selection of reds is somewhat limited. This one is part of their permanent Viva Glam line and colour-wise it sits in between Russian Red and Diva. It's a rich, warm burgundy that's decidedly more muted than the UD & Armani colours. As for the drugstore, my pick is the Maybelle Colour Sensational Matte Lipstick in Rich Ruby (though this shade may not be available in Australia? Boooo). The line also has a brighter red called Siren in Scarlet and a super dark, vampy red called Divine Wine which is basically a dupe for Diva. Both of those are more like wine-reds that definitely have some purple in there, but Viva Glam I and Rich Ruby hit the sweet spot.
Liquid lipsticks are having a bit of a moment right now and although I don't necessarily use them on an everyday basis, I often reach for them for an evening out because, if they have a good formula, they can be pretty low maintenance a don't tend to transfer. The newest one to my stash (which isn't actually new at all) is the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Vampira. I don't buy many lip products these days because I honestly have enough, but every now and then something comes on my radar and I know I have to have it. This was one of those products because it's super dark while still being a true red colour and that's really hard to find. One layer can be a bit streaky so I usually have to put on two, but it's definitely worth it. It's really similar to Lime Crime's Velvetine in Wicked which I've had for ages. Wicked is slightly purple and for that reason, plus all the brand controversy, I'd pick the KVD, but it was still worth a mention. Also these two are easily the darkest out of any others in this post.
The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick formula is still one of my favourites and the shade Firey is another beautiful blue based red. It's probably the most similar to Bad Blood, but in a liquid lipstick format. And although the formula of the Hourglass Opaque Rouge's isn't my favourite, Icon is a beautiful shade. This is probably closest to the Armani offering or Colour Pop's Bichette (it's a mix of the two really) but if I'd be more inclined to go for one of those over this. If you want to try it out though it does come in a mini which I appreciate.
When it comes to lip pencils/crayons, everyone raves about the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, and the shade Cruella in particular seems to be in most people's stash. Despite all the hype these guys get, I don't think the formula is life-changing. In fact, it can be quite drying, but they are pretty long lasting and it's nothing a little balm can't fix. If you want to save some cash though, Maybelline have a great dupe in their Colour Drama Lip Pencil line - the shade Red Essential is pretty spot on (though a little more vibrant) and the formula is a lot creamier too. And lastly, I absolutely love the Colour Pop Lippie Stick in Bichette. As I mentioned earlier, it's quite similar in formula to the Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks and it's an incredible deep, blue-based red with a long-lasting, creamy and very pigmented formula. I didn't think it could possibly live up to the hype Colour Pop gets, but it does. I'd love to try some of their other reds but really can't tell what's brown-y or purple-y from their swatches, but I know Bichette hits the nail on the head.