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I am obsessed with red lipstick.

It’s the perfect pick me up on a gray day, it looks so pretty in your purse and medicine cabinet, and putting it on makes you feel like a Hollywood starlet. Also, it’s my #1 way to look put together in a photograph.

Try this trick: Wear your most boring, basic weekend outfit to do a boring basic errand, like grocery shopping. Add red lipstick. Ta-daaaa! You are now GLAM grocery shopping! You may be purchasing frozen peas at this moment, but later on you might have big plans, hence why your lips look so come hither. You are full of hidden potential!

I own an embarrassingly large number of bright lipsticks, but I wanted to share the top four which, over time, have outdone themselves again and again.

Note: Like many things in life, the good stuff ain’t cheap. Why am I telling you to spend $30-40 on lipstick? Because after running through all the cheapo Revlon/CoverGirl/Clinique options, I 100% believe this stuff is worth it. It’s a revelation beyond words to discover what a lipstick–a REAL lipstick–can be. And do.

Told you I was obsessed.

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MAC Lipstick (any variety – lustre, satin, matte, etc)
$16

A trusty standby brand, with a huge variety of shades and textures. The color is rich and stays put. I love the satins and lustres, which feel positively moisturizing.

Favorite shades: Ruby Woo (a fantastic red), So Chaud (think J Crew bright), Spice It Up (a great everyday shade for ladies with warm undertones), and Impassioned (for a hot night out!)

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NARS Lipstick (any variety)
$26

A failsafe if you’re still getting used to wearing strong colors on the lips. NARS edits its colors carefully, so the flamingo pink that looked so good in the store still looks sassy (not trashy) when you wear it in real life. While MAC can sometimes veer into costume make up, NARS always looks expensive and well-chosen. Plus the matte black tubes are fun to handle.

Favorite shades: Jungle Red (another top red), Funny Face (the most flattering fuchsia), Dolce Vita (haven’t tried it myself, but hear it’s the perfect universal pink)

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Dior – Rouge Dior Couture
$34

Okay, now we’re getting into expensive land. I first discovered Dior after trying really hard to buy YSL, but finding myself unable to locate a flattering shade. A very nice girl at Sephora suggested Dior instead, and boy was she on to something. This is where you really start to feel the price difference in terms of quality. Dior lipstick has a richness and depth of pigment that is on a whole other level. It goes on smoothly and lightly, but the color is incredibly vibrant. The packaging is also gorgeous–a sapphire blue jewel box that resists scratching. I can’t afford a Dior bag, but I feel like I own one when I handle this lipstick.

Favorite shade: #999 (apparently Mr Dior’s lucky number)

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Tom Ford – Lip Color
$49

The Rolls Royce of lipstick. The most beautiful colors, the most intense pigment, and the most staying power (it’s almost a stain). And let’s not forget the packaging, which is 400 times better than this sad image. It comes in this rich brown rectangle shape, tipped with gold, and feels incredibly substantial in the hand. I swear there’s this soft click sound when you cap it that reminds me of closing a very expensive old jewelry box. Blows my mind to think that someone probably engineered that experience.

Worth every single penny, and saving and splurging on just one.

Favorite shades: Wild ginger (I get crazy compliments when I wear this), True Coral (didn’t really work on me, but have heard great things), Black Orchid (for that 90’s maroon that everyone is doing)

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