Make-up: Revlon Really Red (a better alternative to Mac Russian Red)

Ask most vintage beauty enthusiasts about their favourite classic red lipstick and there’s a good chance you’ll hear about Mac’s Russian Red – the classic deep red lipstick from their matte range.
I, however, really have a problem with this lipstick – it just makes me look ill. I’ve come to conclude over the years that it’s because I’m slightly yellow-toned and rather pale and this lipstick is very deep and blue-based and the resulting look is all a bit sick-bed. It’s also very drying and has my lips flaking in about an hour without a primer. And I just don’t want to wear a primer all the time (partly because I always lose it so literally can’t wear it all the time).
Revlon Really Red
For a long time, I’ve gone completely the other way and favoured lighter, warm-toned reds with a fair bit of orange lurking beneath their surfaces, from the almost neon Mac Lady Danger, to the almost true-red Nars Heat Wave. But there’s still something very classic and striking about a darker red and lately I keep finding myself reaching for a tube I first bought years ago but never wore because I never really gave it a chance after the Russian Red debacle.
The irony is that Revlon’s Really Red is almost identical to Russian Red, but where it’s not, I think it’s a deep red that I can finally get to work for me… so if any of my readers have felt similarly disenchanted with Mac or have the same colouring, I recommend you give this one a try!
Revlon matte red lipstick
Revlon Really Red matte lipstick


Revlon matte red lipstick review
  • This lipstick really is matte – but, in my opinion, it’s not as drying as the Mac matte range and I find it soft and comfortable to wear
  • It’s also not as expensive as the Mac matte range! Very good value for money
  • It is nearly an exact dupe for Mac’s iconic Russian Red, but I find it marginally lighter and less blue-based and therefore easier to wear for most people and the more classic, true red of the two
  • Pretty amazing staying power – I’m always surprised how much of it is still on me after I’ve eaten
  • I rather like the lid – it’s clear at the top so you can see which shade it is clearly


  • It’s not perfect – it will still, eventually, dry your lips out over the course of the day
  • If cheap packaging bothers you, you won’t like this

But really, those two very minor cons aren’t worth not giving this lipstick a try if you’re in the market for a classic matte red.

The only real shame here is that Revlon don’t make more shades in this range. The rest are rather light and no other reds at all to choose from. They used to make a beautiful shade called Strawberry Suede that I didn’t get chance to buy before they discontinued it. To eBay…


  1. June 23, 2014 / 3:46 pm

    MAC lipsticks are my favourite! I've yet to find a true red that suits my yellow skin tone but I'll swatch this next time I'm shopping xxx

    • June 23, 2014 / 7:36 pm

      Definitely give it a try! I love the colours of MAC lipsticks, but always turn to others for less drying matte texture… x

  2. June 23, 2014 / 6:44 pm

    I love my red lipsticks (my favorite is a deep, blue/neutral red from Sephora), but my lips are really chapped a lot of the time, so I don't wear it as often as I would like. Speaking of Revlon, though, they've got this really great line of matte balms that I'm in love with these days. They don't dry me out like a normal lipstick, and the colors are all really vivid and long lasting.

    • June 23, 2014 / 7:39 pm

      I know the ones! I've got a couple of colours too (I've reviewed Striking on here) and I really like the feel of them, but keep going for other lipsticks because they're not my favourite shades. Revlon, on the whole though, are just one of my favourite cheaper make-up brands for good quality lipsticks 🙂

  3. June 28, 2014 / 6:29 pm

    Really great shade on you, I love it! It looks quite similar to 'Zero Guilt' by Benefit, that they've obviously now discontinued because they do that with EVERY lipstick I like from them. I'll be sure to look out for it and perhaps give it a try. x

  4. Anonymous
    April 6, 2016 / 12:07 am

    Thank you for the post. My daughter's ballet school recommends MAC Russian Red for recitals- one mom said it's because it really stands out on stage, but I want a cheaper alternative. This is my first year as a ballet mom and with tuition rising I'm not going to spend $24 on a lipstick for a ten year old. I will check out Revlon Really Red.

  5. March 29, 2017 / 9:34 am

    This is, by far and away, my favourite red. I've been using it for years and it never lets me down. I DO have quite bluey undertones, and it's still great. It's magical, really.

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