Red Lipstick for Redheads: MAC Ruby Woo matte lipstick review

Review: MAC Ruby Woo red lipstick

Because I can’t seem to walk past a MAC counter without buying a new lipstick, I picked up their Ruby Woo on impulse last month, having heard lots of people refer to it as the “perfect” red.

Well, all I can say is that the reports were right. I absolutely love this colour. I want to wear it forever. In fact, I’ve already made a start on that, and have been wearing it almost constantly since I bought it. If they ever stop making it, I’m going to cry. That’s how much I love it.

The colour…

As you’d expect from the name, this is a bright, ruby red, and the kind of colour I always think of as “retro red” as it’s that deep, matt shade that women always seem to be wearing in old Hollywood movies. It’s also a true red: not too blue, not too orange – the kind of shade I think would probably work with most complexions.

MAC Ruby Woo swatch


The application…

Now for the bad news. As much as I love the colour of this lipstick, I absolutely HATE the application. This has a very, very matte finish, and, as with most matte lipsticks, you have to take a lot of care when applying it, and prep the lips thoroughly. I normally use a tint touch of lip balm first, to make it glide on more smoothly: without that, it drags horribly and goes on very unevenly. Lip balm makes it go on easier, but it also makes it come off easier too, unfortunately. If you want to try it without, I’d recommend applying with a brush rather than straight from the tube, and not trying to apply it in a rush!

The wear…

MAC Ruby Woo swatch

The very matte formula doesn’t just make this lipstick a bit of a pain to apply, however: it also makes it very drying on the lips, and therefore not the most comfortable lipstick to wear. I also find that it highlights ever line and imperfection in the lips: my lips are prone to dryness, especially in the winter, and this lipstick will really highlight that, even when I’ve been moisturising and buffing diligently. If you have perfect, smooth lips, however, it’s going to look a whole lot better.

As for how long it lasts, well, it’s not bad, but not great either. Obviously the lip balm I normally apply with it will make it come off much more easily. If I apply it properly, with a bit of blotting and re-applying, it’ll last for a decent amount of time, although food will cause it to fade from the centre of the lips, leaving you with what Mr Dollface refers to as a “lipstick moustache”, where the cupid’s bow is still red, but the centre of the lip isn’t. Meticulous blotting and re-applying will help with this, but I’ve gotten into the habit of popping it into my bag when I go out, in case touch-ups are required.

MAC Ruby Woo: Red lipstick for redheads


I LOVE the colour, hate the application, and how dry it makes my lips. I just wish MAC would release this shade in a slightly less matte formula: then it would be perfect!

Ruby Woo is £12.50 at the MAC website.