red lip budget bargain £1 inexpensive gemma hellogemma makeup cosmetics beauty blogger review gemsmaquillage uk manchester essence wilko

The £1 Red Lip

In Beauty by Gemma Tomlinson30 Comments

red lip budget bargain £1 inexpensive gemma hellogemma makeup cosmetics beauty blogger review gemsmaquillage uk manchester essence wilkoI thought it was about time I shared a secret with you.  I’ve been wearing a red lip recently, as the weather starts to cool and the summer we never truly had ‘Up North’ fades to make way for autumn and all it brings. I do love warm weather, but even I can’t deny the appeal of golden leaves, cute coats that you can leave open before winter comes and nights spent sipping hot chocolate in front of an open fire. It does something to me.

Perhaps I’m using red lips as a way to ease into the wine-hued makeup we all dig out around late September, but I’ve been really enjoying them with quite minimal eye looks, letting them dress up an otherwise simple outfit and instantly make me feel put together. I remember being so embarrassed to leave the house in red lips when I was younger, my eyes darted nervously around because I was sure everyone was staring at me with my blood red pocket money purchase. I would dart inside a cafe and wipe off the lipstick before I met my friends. It reminded me of my dance shows and the garish stage makeup we had to smear over our faces to be seen through the bright lights. Everyone else seemed to look glamorous when they wore red lips but I just felt like a clown.

It seems so crazy to me that I ever felt that way, red lips make me feel confident now and have an old-timey look that I love. Sometimes I will sit at my desk with basic everyday makeup on, catch a glimpse of myself and apply a little red lipstick to brighten things even though nobody is going to see me for hours. It’s a tonic, and it perks me up, something I wear for me and me alone. Over the years as I became confident enough to experiment with red shades in public I tried all kinds of formulas – glossy offerings that had me nervously checking anything reflective to make sure they hadn’t smudged, and ‘stay all day!’ products that flaked off in the middle leaving my red-ringed lips drier than the sahara. In the end I learned one thing and one thing alone – lipliner is your friend.

red lip budget bargain £1 inexpensive gemma hellogemma makeup cosmetics beauty blogger review gemsmaquillage uk manchester essence wilko

A couple of weeks ago I went to apply a red lip, knowing I would be out for a while and therefore needed something that would last. I reached for a lipliner and pulled out one that I’d yet to try, Femme Fatale by Essence. I applied it all over as a base for the lipstick but as I glanced in the mirror I decided to just leave it as it was. Alone it was such a pretty colour that was red but not too intense, matte and with a firm hold on my lips but not drying or uncomfortable. I left the house with it on and I’ve been wearing it alone ever since. Sometimes I like to add a little bit of balm or gloss on top if I’m feeling crazy but mostly I leave it be.

I knew Essence was a budget brand but I was still shocked when I saw that this was only £1. It applies like a dream, doesn’t budge and has the perfect true red shade that will flatter all complexions. On my lips it looks no different to my very high end lipsticks, and I don’t think anyone would guess it came at the same price as the use of a supermarket trolley. I’m super impressed and plan to pick up more shades in future, if they have the perfect nude I may well have found the holy grail of lipliners.

red lip budget bargain £1 inexpensive gemma hellogemma makeup cosmetics beauty blogger review gemsmaquillage uk manchester essence wilko

Do you wear red lips or are you still at the stage of feeling like everyone is staring? If you have any lipliner shade recommendations from Essence let me know – I’m all ears (and lips).

Items featured on Hello Gemma may have been sent as press samples for review consideration or purchased. All opinions are honest and my own, any sponsored content will be clearly marked and some affiliate links may be used.Read my full ethics statement here.

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  • This colour looks amazing on you! Essence products always surprise me by how well they work considering how inexpensive they are. I am definitely going to be picking one of these up!

    xo, Liz

  • I have loved Essence for years! I couldn’t believe it when I heard you are only getting it in the UK now! They also do a great red nailpolish! Appies like a dream, and an even better colour and texture than some of the Nails Inc reds I have.

  • Looks gorgeous on you! So affordable too xo

    Catherine | Pretty Little Beauty Blog

  • It looks lovely on you!! I am going to try it myself.

    Lauren xx

  • Looks lovely! Going to buy this later – as I love a red lip! x

  • Ooh, what a good find. I’ve never tried Essence but this sounds fab.

    Rachel |

  • Such a gorgeous shade! Really suits you, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for it xx

    Charlotte / Colours & Carousels

  • I can’t wait to try Essence products, they always get good reviews for their low price xx

  • Kim Petersen

    Red lips totally suit you as well so I love that you feel so confident now! I LOVE red lips – orange reds, berry reds, true reds, I love them ALL! We have $1 lipsticks here where I live and they are just as good (if not sometimes better) than the pricier brands so that is awesome you found such a steal! XO -Kim

  • this sounds awesome! I love the classic red lip look! I love MUA MATTE red lipstick its perfect also! so nice to wear and smells nice also! 🙂 They also do a MUA matte called fawn fancy which is a dupe for Velvet Teddy by mac!! 🙂

  • This colour really suits you! Great for £1 too 🙂

    Kate xo //

  • Ala

    Red is my go-to colour that I know will look good. I have many, many red lipsticks all different shades. My favourite, ‘can’t stop wearing’ is the Maybelline Lasting Colour Drama pencil and has been for almost a year now? But my all-time favourite is Lancome in a colour they don’t do any more – sob! I know what you mean about feeling self-conscious though, I guess it’s something that comes with age potentially and growing into your features! The lip liner looks fab! x

  • I’ve just started getting into red lips/statement lips in general, and I’ve been loving lip liners! Just waiting until September as its my birthday month and I will have a sephora order in!

  • This is such a stunning shade and I have heard nothing but incredible things about these lip liners! x

  • Manouk

    Essence is a great brand. It’s always been available in Holland. When I first started wearing makeup I would aaalwaaays go to the Essence counter as it’s very affordable (and most of it of great quality too!) xx

  • emily couture

    This pencil looks stunning on you! Love the shade 🙂

    emily xx

  • I think Essence is a great brand, especially because they’re cruelty free & are incredibly affordable! Their whole collection recently got a whole revamp, so I don’t know if the colour range is still the same, but I used to love the lip liner in ‘Honey Bun’.

  • I wish I knew where to find essence in the US, a lot of people have been talking about it lately and this color looks fab.

  • I’m so into the red lip at the moment, i’ve bee wearing it pretty much everyday! This colour is beautiful on you. 🙂


  • This lip shade is so pretty and it’s defiantly your colour 😀

  • The Sunday Mode

    I love red lips on other people, but unless I’m going to an event or it’s a special occasion, for me I just feel a little over done when I wear red lips 🙁

  • Essence lip liners are the bomb! You really should try In the Nude (a nude, obviously), Wish Me A Rose (a pretty pink shade) and Satin Mauve (a plummy nude/Kylie Jenner lip colour).

    Kirstie | Kimamely Beauty

  • Adela

    German youtubers and bloggers swear by essence lipliners. My favourite is also the red one, although Wish Me A Rose is nice too – an everyday pink. Essence lipsticks, in black, matte packaging, are awesome too!

  • Essence have got some great stuff – i picked up a couple of bits in my local Wilko’s – great post 🙂

  • Colleen McGuinness

    I need this!
    Can’t wait to get my hands on it. I am always looking for a red lip that doesn’t budge.

  • riya

    Its always better to wear make-up for yourself and not to get noticed by someone else. I am totally with you on this! XOXO

    Try They carry high quality products and provide treatments by experts. And the best part is they also fall into budget ones!!

  • Hehe, I still feel like everyone’s staring at me the odd occasion I am brave enough to try a red lip. I must try again.

    Love that colour on you, really suits you 🙂

    Almost Everything

  • Pingback: The Best Bargain Mascara? Essence Lash Princess | Hello Gemma()

  • Ese Janta

    Haa i cant believe you got that lip liner for a £1.00… i’m on hunt for some essence makeup, great review.

    Ese Janta

  • Louisa-Jane Fryatt

    I’m going to have to give this a try, I’m a sucker for a red lip!