MAC Ruby Woo
MAC Ruby Woo is certainly striking, but I have serious doubts when I'd ever wear it. It photographs more orange-toned/warm than how it looks in real life. It's definitely blue-based, but not too cherry red. It's darker than anticipated, bordering on vampy. It reminds me of the Memoirs of a Geisha book cover (the tie-in with the movie adaptation) more than anything. This might be an odd thing to say, but I find it's more flattering on someone in photos than in person.
What makes Ruby Woo remarkable is the intense pigmentation and ultra matteness of it. It's unlike anything I've experienced in a lipstick. It's completely devoid of any shine and is the kind of drying that makes it a minor struggle to apply straight from the bullet. There's quite a bit of resistance and tugging when you're dragging it across the surface of the lips. I had to utilise all my years of lipstick application to get it on without looking a total mess. This one would probably look far more polished with a lip liner, but I neither have a matching lip liner nor the will to take that extra step.
I don't think I could ever love Ruby Woo because frankly, it looks strange on me. It's so bold and dramatic that it can look flat and stark. Though I have fairly full lips, the width of my mouth is not that much longer than the width of my nose when I'm not smiling. Dark colours tend to emphasise this and make my face look oddly proportioned (and my nose/visible nostrils more prominent, which is never a good thing). You can always make thin lips plumper with lip liner, but you can't really elongate a mouth.
l-r: MAC Ruby Woo, Revlon Cherry Tart, Revlon Cherries in the Snow, Revlon Strawberry Suede, Rimmel 11, Revlon True Red
Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Cherry Tart is similar in colour to Ruby Woo, but pinker and of course, sheerer and glossier. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Cherries in the Snow is more cool-toned and pinker, almost fuchsia in comparison. Revlon Matte Lipstick in Strawberry Suede (my favourite red lipstick of all-time) is more orangey and retro-looking. Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss in 11 is darker, vampier. I've never managed to get along with this lipstick and have basically never worn it, so after digging it out for this post, I promptly gave it away to a friend. Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in True Red is brighter, with a glossier finish.
Though I may never wear it in public, Ruby Woo still feels like one of those truly classic makeup (not just lipstick) products that every cosmetics enthusiast should have. In terms of opacity of colour, lasting power and an undeniably matte, transfer-proof finish, I can't imagine any lipstick beating it.