ultimate red: mac ruby woo

Mac Ruby Woo.
Please note the photos in this post have been adjusted for lighting tint using photoshop to make the colors of the product appear to true life. However, the product has not been enhanced, saturated or otherwise improved in any way.

In the vast expanse of makeup, there are a lot of red lipsticks. A lot a lot.

There are more red lipsticks than anyone probably really has time or care to wear, and the number of them expands every fricking second.

So, in the vast ocean of these lipsticks, which of these is the buried pirate's treasure? Which red can one possibly pick up and say, "perfection" about?

I may have decorated my tube with some bootleg Sailor Moon stickers. Maybe.
For me, that lipstick is MAC's Ruby Woo. Nearly every time I wear it I get compliments (though at least one of those has been from a creepy man who was married, of all things, go away creepy man this lipstick is not being worn for you) and it's the type of lipstick that just makes me feel good.

Despite this, I usually forget to wear it. Why? It's quite dry and the initial application tends to require maintenance to even up the borders (I use MAC's Cherry lip pencil, though now they have released one specifically for Ruby Woo).

I always forget that despite the dryness it's not heavy at all, and I'm surprised each time I wear it by how comfortable I find it. Because of the dryness it also wears crazy well, with minimal transfer. I've worn it through several cups of coffee and still had it look as decent as it had when I'd first applied it. If you need a red that's tough as nails, Ruby Woo is your friend.

If you have chapped lips...maybe not so much. This is one that a good exfoliation prior is highly recommended, because being so dry it will show a lot of the flakes on your lips. However, I do find a few small flakes are easy enough to get away with, because the color itself and lack of sheen draw attention away from minor imperfections. Despite its dryness, I have had much much worse in terms of lipsticks that make me look like I need a tub of Blistex.

Left to right: MAC Cherry Lip Pencil, thin swatch, then swatched as a square. Rightmost is Ruby Woo.
All swatched in natural light.
It is very pigmented to the point of it being a bit annoying if you need to clean up the edges of your lips, because anything you wipe off will probably take a little coaxing with a q-tip to remove all the redness. But the pigmentation also means it's amazingly bright, classic siren red turned up to eleven. It's blue-based, so it will make your teeth a bit whiter too, but if your undertones tend to pull blue-based reds pink on you it might not be as red as you like.

Lip swatch of Ruby Woo in natural light.

To sum it up, there is a reason people talk about this shade quite a bit. It's not hype without merit either. Ruby Woo has stood the test of time. If I remember properly this was originally released by MAC in 1999 and then brought back. Now here in 2015, over 10 years later, it's still going strong. I'd actually bought this shade without really being aware of just how loved it is, but after owning it I can't say I'm surprised at all when I see it mentioned a lot in talks and articles about red lipsticks. It completely deserves the place it has.

Where to buy: Online at MAC, $16; alternatives include MAC counters and distributors; for INT try various MAC retailers or counters worldwide, price varies depending upon country.


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peachy noon

Meet The Author

Noon. 25. American born, Finland residing. I really love dogs.