These two lipsticks often appear together in search results as they are both sort of browny reds. Some might call them retro reds, perhaps depending on one’s coloring or which exact decade comes to mind when one hears the word “retro.” Personally, I wouldn’t call either of these more retro than several other universal reds, but that’s because I always associate “retro” with the bolder, brighter reds of ’50s pin-up models (Bettie Page) rather than the classic reds of Hollywood glamour (Marilyn Monroe).

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that Revlon’s In the Red is my absolute favorite red lipstick. I was curious to see how it would compare to MAC’s Viva Glam I since I’d been reading about their similarities for so long. I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase Viva Glam I! One reason for this is because I am befuddled that I haven’t found blog entries actually comparing the two side by side. I’m gonna do that for you right now. 😉



MAC’s Viva Glam lipsticks come in the standard bullet packaging, except that the usually silver text and lining are a beautiful, metallic red. They of course come in MAC’s usual black cardboard boxes.

Revlon’s Matte lipsticks have a much humbler appearance. They come wrapped in those plastic things similar to water bottle seals. I hate that sort of crunchy plastic because the sound it makes when it crinkles is the same sound the crushing of a certain insect’s exoskeleton makes when you step on it.

I can’t believe I’m referring to something so disgusting on my pristine makeup blog.

ANYWAY, the Revlon Matte lipsticks’ packaging is the same as the Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks’ except the former has a matte finish and a white-silver label instead of gold. The top of the lid is clear, so if the light is good enough, one can see the shade inside.


As you can see, the two look very different in their respective tubes. The Viva Glam actually looks like an amplified finish though it is matte. In the Red doesn’t look wet at all here, though that’s not to say that it’s more drying than other matte lipsticks. None of the two will exacerbate dryness- always a good thing to find in a matte lipstick!

When I first took out Viva Glam I and looked at it beside In the Red, I thought they looked identical. When I swatched them under not-so-bright, but very white indoor lighting, they still looked identical. I almost felt disappointment at having shelled out money for a shade I already had in a product I already loved. Almost.


Left: Viva Glam I, Right: In the Red

Under more reliable lighting, aka natural sunlight, they swatched similarly, but most definitely NOT identical. While both are brown-based, Viva Glam I is a blue-red while In the Red leans more orange. When I loaded the pictures into my computer, I honestly thought there was something wrong with my camera because Viva Glam I looked very warm in the tube- even warmer than In the Red. However, I checked the MAC website, and my personal description of the shade was actually spot on! MAC describes Viva Glam I as an intense brownish blue-red. This is one of those shades that you’ll be glad you swatched! It’s definitely a matte finish despite what it looks like in the tube.

In the Red is just as matte, but it did feel less… sort of wet. It’s also brown-based, but has much warmer orange-red overtones.

While both are opaque, I must say that the Viva Glam was the teeniest, tiniest bit easier to get pigmentation out of.


MAC Viva Glam I

Revlon Matte lipstick in In the Red

The formulations of both are quite impressive. They’re both very intense, very opaque matte brick reds that glide onto the lips better than other mattes. They don’t settle into fine lines, and the coverage is excellent. They also wear very well. The main reason I’m such a big fan of In the Red is because of how well and how long it stays on my lips despite eating, drinking, and talking all day. Sure, I have to do touch-ups every now and then, but really it’s just a matter of patting down once or twice on the spots where it’s looking a little bit sheerer.

In the Red is the lowest maintenance red lipstick I’ve found to date, and I was definitely not expecting Viva Glam I to perform even half as well. To my surprise, it also had pretty remarkable staying power! I would say it’s the tiniest bit less persistent on the lips; I think that’s because it has a little bit more slip to it, which also makes it feel more comfortable.


Left: Viva Glam I, Right: In the Red

On the lips, they seem identical if you don’t look closely or if you don’t actually look at them right next to each other, but as you can see, they are very, very different. Viva Glam I registers as a deeper, cooler red, while In the Red is brighter, warmer, and kind of has a more… faded look to it, if that makes sense. Hahah.


It’s not difficult to understand why these two are often mentioned together as being quite universal and classic. In my experience, there hasn’t been one person In the Red hasn’t looked good on; admittedly though, there aren’t exactly a lot of cool-skinned Asians around. I’ve defended In the Red quite vehemently on MakeupAlley, but perhaps if you’re a cool-skinned gunk conservative who prefers to patronize that “warm skin/orange-reds and cool skin/blue-reds” rule, then I guess I can understand why you wouldn’t like it. On that note, I would say that Viva Glam I would be a flattering shade for more people because while the brown base definitely grounds it and warms it up, the blue tones will certainly please our cool-skinned sisters who are looking for a red that complements.

So in conclusion, these two are similar, but they are most definitely NOT DUPES. They are close enough that they can serve the same purpose when it comes to makeup looks.

Price may be the deciding factor for a lot of people. MAC’s Viva Glam lipsticks cost a whopping 1,000PHP in comparison to the much, much more affordable Revlon Matte lipsticks, which are 450PHP. That’s a huge price difference! However, if you’re feeling a little philanthropic, it might be worth knowing that 100% of the profits from MAC’s Viva Glam lipsticks goes to the MAC AIDS Fund, which supports people living with AIDS and HIV.


Phew! That was quite a harrowing review! I really hope that helps. I believe I’ve covered all the bases, but if you have additional questions, leave me a comment. Thanks for reading. Gunkie needs her beauty sleep!

3 thoughts on “Comparison: MAC Viva Glam I and Revlon Matte Lipstick in In the Red”

  1. Thanks sooooo much for the comparison, I’m actually thinking of buying Viva Glam I, but I think I should try Revlon In the Red first 😀

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