Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: MAC Lipsticks in Russian Red and Ruby Woo - A Comparison


At first glance, Russian Red and Ruby Woo are rather similar - besides being from the same line hence having similar packaging, scent and net weight, both also promise impactful, bold red lips and both are considered "classic" colors not to be missed by any makeup enthusiast.

To the red lip aficionado, however, there are still subtle differences that make a whole lot of difference to the two products. 

In terms of color, Ruby woo is, as you can see from the comparison below both in the tube as well as swatched on skin, slightly brighter and more cool toned than Russian Red, which swatches much deeper and richer, with a neutral undertone.

In terms of texture, the key difference between RW and RR is that Ruby Woo is a retro-matte finish while Russian Red is a normal, matte finish. Retro-matte is much dryer than the normal matte finish; the former imparts a velvet/suede finish while the latter gives a more creamy finish with a very slight sheen. Both colors contain no shimmer or pearl.


Unfortunately, because of the dryness of Ruby Woo, it is extremely hard to apply, ensure an even deposit of color on the lips, and at the same time, prevent the dragging and tugging from deepening lip lines. From my own experience, a slippery or overly emollient lip balm such as Kiehl's #1 Lip balm would not work as a base to Ruby Woo, as your lips simply won't be able to grab onto any of the pigments on the lipstick. It is best to use a waxy lip balm such as Burt's Bees original beeswax lip balm, which provides a better surface for the color to cling onto and spread out on your lips, and at the same time, do not alter the velvety finish of the lipstick.

Another method would simply be to use a lip brush to pick up color and fill in your lips with it, taking care to ensure a smooth and even line at the edges. It would be best to bolt once or twice and fill in more color to ensure an even finish.
Ruby Woo - Top lip left bare as reference of natural lip color

Ruby Woo applied


 Russian Red, on the other hand, is a dream to apply, and it is super easy to create a precise lip shape from applying straight out of the bullet. It has a very creamy, yet non-drying texture, and does not accentuate lip lines during application. Smooth, even colour payoff can be achieved in just one coat.
Russian Red - Top lip left bare as reference of natural lip color

Russian Red applied
On my other site, where I also hosted this comparison, I often gets questions such as "which one of these lipsticks is more retro and dramatic?" All I can say is, Russian Red is slightly deeper and more comfortable to wear over long periods of time, with perhaps a flick of black eyeliner. On the other hand, Ruby Woo has a velvety finish which is hard to come across, and its bright tone immediately brings to mind round shades and retro sundresses. Both are classics in their own rights, and different enough that every red lipstick fanatic should have both of them in their lipstick arsenal.

19 comments:

  1. I would go for Russian Red :)
    your swatches are really good
    ✿Amna's Blog✿

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    1. Aw, thank you Amna!

      Russian Red is truly one of the best out there =D

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    2. I have a review of Ruby Woo on my blog, feel free to check it out if you have a min :) http://victoriarosebeaute.blogspot.com/

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  2. Great blog! I love how you use your top lip as a comparison to your bottom lip, the whole bare vs colour is very insightful. I used to have Russian Red, but couldn't stand how drying it was so I gave it to my little sister lol xx

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    1. Hi littlesunstar21 XD I'm glad you like my blog! Yep, Russian Red is definitely dry, but the color is just sooo gorgeous!! >v<

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  3. Thanks for this post. I will definitely get the Russian Red!

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    1. Aww, thank you for the lovely comment! I'm glad this helped! =D

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  4. 我之前去试的时候觉得ruby woo很挑人,russian red就还好,专柜BA给我拿了viva glam I,美爆了。感觉推的人很少。

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    1. 其实我买的第一支MAC唇膏就是VG 1呢~~ ^^

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  5. Lovely swatches :)
    Sparklingsmakeup.com

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  6. lovely swatches .... russian red is one true love ... omg ... what a shade

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  7. Waw ! this colour looks fabulous!

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  8. Lovely lip swatches! Looks like I'll be going for Russian Red :)

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  9. Hi,

    you suggested "Burt's Bees original beeswax lip balm" to go under Ruby Woo - do you mean the one in the tin, or can I use the one in the stick? I can see both here http://www.johnlewis.com/search/burts-bees-beeswax

    thank you very much!

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  10. hi! love your reviews. i've been scratching my head deciding if i should get the ruby woo or russian red since forever, since both colors have been compared against each other countless times. but your last sentence did it for me. i think i just have to get both then! haha *cash gone~*

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