MAC Ruby Woo review

Red Lipstick for Redheads: MAC Ruby Woo matte lipstick review

Review: MAC Ruby Woo red lipstick

Because I can’t seem to walk past a MAC counter without buying a new lipstick, I picked up their Ruby Woo on impulse last month, having heard lots of people refer to it as the “perfect” red.

Well, all I can say is that the reports were right. I absolutely love this colour. I want to wear it forever. In fact, I’ve already made a start on that, and have been wearing it almost constantly since I bought it. If they ever stop making it, I’m going to cry. That’s how much I love it.

MAC Ruby Woo: the colour…

As you’d expect from the name, this is a bright, ruby red, and the kind of colour I always think of as “retro red” as it’s that deep, matt shade that women always seem to be wearing in old Hollywood movies. It’s also a true red: not too blue, not too orange – the kind of shade I think would probably work with most complexions.

MAC Ruby Woo swatch

The application…

Now for the bad news. As much as I love the colour of this lipstick, I absolutely HATE the application. MAC Ruby Woo has a very, very matte finish, and, as with most matte lipsticks, you have to take a lot of care when applying it, and prep the lips thoroughly. I normally use a tint touch of lip balm first, to make it glide on more smoothly: without that, it drags horribly and goes on very unevenly. Lip balm makes it go on easier, but it also makes it come off easier too, unfortunately. If you want to try it without, I’d recommend applying with a brush rather than straight from the tube, and not trying to apply it in a rush!

The wear…

classic red lipstick

The very matte formula of MAC Ruby Woo doesn’t just make this lipstick a bit of a pain to apply, however: it also makes it very drying on the lips, and therefore not the most comfortable lipstick to wear. I also find that it highlights ever line and imperfection in the lips: my lips are prone to dryness, especially in the winter, and this lipstick will really highlight that, even when I’ve been moisturising and buffing diligently. If you have perfect, smooth lips, however, it’s going to look a whole lot better.

As for how long it lasts, well, it’s not bad, but not great either. Obviously the lip balm I normally apply with it will make it come off much more easily. If I apply it properly, with a bit of blotting and re-applying, it’ll last for a decent amount of time, although food will cause it to fade from the centre of the lips, leaving you with what my husband refers to as a “lipstick moustache”, where the cupid’s bow is still red, but the centre of the lip isn’t. Meticulous blotting and re-applying will help with this, but I’ve gotten into the habit of popping it into my bag when I go out, in case touch-ups are required.

Can redheads wear red lipstick?

MAC Ruby Woo: The Verdict

I LOVE the colour, hate the application, and how dry it makes my lips. I just wish MAC would release this shade in a slightly less matte formula: then it would be perfect! (Update: They don’t, but MAC Russian Red is a great alternative to it!)

Ruby Woo is £12.50 at the MAC website.

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books by Amber Eve
  • this is such a nice red and i have to say your dog is just the cutest dog i’ve ever seen!
    also im defo following, you’re so beautiful and it’s nice to have a fellow pale blogger who has the same fake tan blotchy problems! xx

    July 13, 2010
  • Aw – thanks for including the last photo. It is a beautiful shade, especially on you. I really want to like Ruby Woo, but I just can’t wear matte formulas, I need some moisture!

    July 13, 2010
  • Rebecca


    I love MAC matte lipstick. I’ve got Russian Red, which is a slightly darker and bluer Ruby Woo (I think I was originally going to go for Ruby Woo but the woman at the counter recommended it for my skintone)- and I actually just picked up Please Me today, which is a pale, slightly peachy pink. They’re creamy, not at all drying and very lasting. I’ve always wanted to pick up Woo as well, but I can’t quite convince myself that it’s okay to spend on another MAC red. They cost $35AUD here, which is 20 pounds- I’m pretty sure that’s way too much!

    July 14, 2010
    • Rebecca


      By very long lasting I do mean in comparison with the slightly cheaper matte reds I use when I don’t use this- my other staple is Revlon Matte Really Red, and it’s got nothing on the MAC in terms of longevity.

      July 14, 2010
  • fozzie


    LMAO! Lipstick moustache! Tell Mr Dollface he’s a comedy legend.

    I must be the only person in the world this colour doesn’t suit. I’m still searching for that perfect red. It looks simply divine on you though.

    July 14, 2010
  • Steph


    I’ve wanted to try Ruby Woo ever since the Puppini Sisters named an album after it 😀

    July 15, 2010
  • Sandy


    I’ve got the Russian Red (matte) and Ladybug (which is more sheer…ish!) I’m SO tempted by the Ruby Woo…..but do I need any more reds?? (I’ve also got a Volcanic Red from Revlon and True Red from L’oreal, plus other cheapies)

    Then there’s all the Besame reds…..Gah!

    My only trouble is that I have to take pot luck and order online as I don’t think anywhere near me on the south coast stocks MAC.

    *Wanders off to MAC*

    (Actually….I think I maybe need to stop looking at Ambers various pages….it’s costing me far too much and the husband is getting a panicky look in his eyes! LOL!)

    July 16, 2010
  • G.G.


    I’ve been looking for the perfect red for years now….they all come out pinkish-on me, even when I use a little foundation on my lips first to tone down the color. Any suggestions? And also, have you heard of OCC Cosmetics? Their lip tars are supposed to be insane in terms of color quality and longevity, and they’ve got one called NSFW that is just an amazing bright red. Could be another perfect red, who knows!

    July 16, 2010
  • balisally


    I am definitely going to try this! It looks lovely on you. I have similar colouring and sometimes despair at finding lipstick colours that look nice: )

    July 18, 2010
  • Rimmel 170 (Alarm) is a pretty good deep red. It looks good just staining lips rather than full on colour. It has a really nice smell too and is under £7.

    July 20, 2010
  • Tiffany Mcwatters


    Bare minerals liquid lip in fire is also good… Dragon girl by NARS and Cruella, MAC chili, MAC devoted to chili, NARS Rita, benefits love tint, and there are so many more just haven’t gotten to try them all, but I had the SAME problem with the reds turning pink, but so far these are great, as well as Ruby Woo! 🙂 I have so many reds to try idk how I will lol

    August 6, 2023