Review: MAC Ruby Woo and Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood – A Red Lipstick Handbook

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Red lipstick, red lipstick – Oh, how I love thee.

The red lipstick look is definitely one of my favourites and can add that classy and classic finish to your outfit.  Unfortunately a lot of girls steer clear of red lipstick.  Why?  Because of the fear of being unable to pull it off.

I’m not going to lie though, my red lipstick journey was not an easy one.  It’s pricey, there are SO many different shades, it’s hella difficult to apply and then you need to gather the guts to actually wear it out in public!

But I urge you – Do pursue!  Because once succeeded, a perfect pair of red lips is an excellent – possibly even crisis saving – skill to have up your sleeve.

So, let your red lipstick journey begin…

1.  Find what you feel comfortable in. 

There are so many different kinds of red lipstick to choose from – duller shades, darker, lighter, glossy and matte.  If you’re a bit scared try something duller as a first step, but if you want that classic vintage look (the one I love) go vibrant!

2.  Find what suits YOU

Look at your skin tone – typically orange or coral based reds suit fair skin and mauve or blue based reds suit tanned to darker complexions best.  My skin is quite fair, but I’m type 3 on the skin chart meaning, I can and do tan. So personally, I prefer to go with blue based reds. I feel comfortable in them and I feel like they suit me better.

Don’t know if you are cool or warm toned?
A tip I read somewhere which was surprisingly accurate was to look at the underside of your wrist.  If your veins are greenish looking, you are warm-toned,  if they are purple or blue looking you are cool-toned.

My suggestion?  Try a few shades on, check yourself out in the mirror and buy the one you like best.

Oh no!! Red lipstick makes my teeth look yellow!??!
Never fear!! I struggled with this too and actually thought I would never be able to wear red lipstick in public.  This is not true!  For me, I found that blue based red lipsticks kept my teeth looking white, where as the coral/orange based ones made them look yellow.

3.  Matte or Glossy?

For me, matte wins hands down.  I find it looks more classic and elegant, whereas glossy comes across as looking cheap when I wear it (thought other people pull it off fine).  Matte lipsticks also tend to be more forgiving, I find.  They eliminate those lipstick “no no’s” such as bleeding into the fine lines around your lips and the colour doesn’t smudge or transfer onto you coffee cup as easily.  It’s also much easier to control and you can easily tone down how vibrant the product is.  The negative – matte lipsticks dry your lips out a lot more than their glossy counterparts.

Go glossy if you want a very “look at me” effect.  They also keep your lips feeling hydrated and are generally easier to apply, gliding on with ease.

How do I know if a lipstick is matte?
Good makeup brands, such as M.A.C will have it written on the product.

 4.  Application

Red lipstick is hard to apply and because its so bright and vibrant, there is very little room for error.  It you happen to have unfortunate thin lips like me, it’s even harder!!

A few things that are essential to prevent feathering, bleeding and colour fading, are all handled through the art of application.

  • Outline your lips with lipliner, this will prevent your lipstick from feathering.
  • Fill in your lips with the liner.  This will give you a base on which you can easily and neatly apply your lipstick on top of.
  • Apply concealer on the outermost edge of your lips to clean up any mistakes. You can also dab some on your lips to help the lipstick stay vibrant for longer.
  • Apply your lipstick with a lip brush to get a precise outline of your lips.

5.  Preparation

Pulling off the perfect pair of red lips also takes some preparation.

Remember to:

  • Exfoliate your lips with a soft bristle, wet toothbrush.  This will remove dead skin.
  • Keep you lips moisturised regularly
  • Make sure to apply the lipstick and liner all the way to the inner corner of your lips.  Not  only does this create a poutier set of lips, it helps to avoid looking like you’ve missed a few spots when you smile.
  • I don’t usually have a problem with getting red lipstick on my teeth, but to be better safe than sorry, you can always try Jenna Marbles tip of putting your index finger in your mouth, forming a tight “o” around it and pulling it out.

 Bobbi Brown: Old Hollywood (Semi glossy) V.S. M.A.C: Ruby Woo (Matte)

Bobbi Brown: Old Hollywood

Bobbi Brown’s Old Hollywood formula combines color-saturated coverage with a lightweight texture.  This delivers pure, crisp colour with just one swipe.  Colour is long lasting, non drying and has no odour with a semi-matte finish.

Price:   $25 AUD

The following list of pro’s and cons are based on what I personally found when using the products and are based on what I generally look for in a lipstick.


  • Easy application – get full colour coverage in just one swipe.  The lipstick literally glides on.
  • Soft and smooth
  • Easy to remove
  • Affordable price (I got it for cheaper $12 on special)


  • I personally find this lipstick quite Glossy although it is considered a “semi-matte.”
  • Teeth slightly show as yellow.
  • Prone to feathering and bleeding, if no lipliner is used
  • Wipes off easily
  • The finished look is not as elegant as other lipsticks.

Overall, a really good lipstick, although not my favorite for a red.  Worst attribute: The time a wore it, it bled terribly to the point where it looked like I had crows feet wrinkles…ON MY LIPS. yeah. I know.  Best attribute:  Intense colour in one swipe – easily glides on.


M.A.C:  Ruby Woo

M.A.C’s Ruby Woo formula creates bold, long lasting colour with a matte finish.  The blue based red is most noticeably known to make teeth look extremely white.   Ruby Woo is pigmented in one swipe however can be built up for a more intense colour. It’s also vanilla scented…YUM!!!

Price: $36 AUD


  • Makes teeth look SUPER white.  Love it.
  • Excellent Matte finish
  • No bleeding/feathering
  • Love the vanilla scent!!
  • Finish is very classy and elegant.


  • Really, really dry formular
  • Dry formula means the product does not glide on as easily.
  • Colour is not as intense as Bobbi Brown’s Old Hollywood on first application, however intensity can easily be built up.  This allows for colour control, if you aren’t so keen on going mega intense on your first application

I.LOVE.THIS.LIPSTICK.  I love the super matte finish so much that I don’t mind how drying the formula is.  To combat the drying anyway, I always prep my lips with lip balm.  This doesn’t give as great of a finish, however if you build the colour on (takes a bit longer to apply with lip balm) you can definitely achieve the look with prepped lip-balmed lips.  I definitely think out of M.A.C’s red lipstick collection, this is my favourite – even against the popular “Russian Red.”

 Lipstick Comparison

Talyssa xo


  1. Pixelhazard says

    I love Bobbi Brown but my MAC Ruby Woo has yet to be surpassed. My all time fave red! I need to try they matte hot pink candy yum yum next!

    X. pixelhazard | Bright Green Laces |

    1. thehiddenthimble says

      Agree, I don’t think anything can beat MAC Ruby Woo!! Ahhh The next one I want to buy as well! I hope it suits me :D

  2. Mica says

    Great reviews and tips!

    I only have one lippy, the one I wore for my wedding makeup trial that became my wedding day lipstick and my new go-to! :)

    I don’t wear lipstick often, so I find a little goes a long way with it :)

    1. thehiddenthimble says

      Thanks! I often don’t wear lipstick as well, but I definitely want to explore more!

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