Two words: Ruby Woo. The perfect red lipstick and Black girl makeup bag staple. MAC’s iconic color is trending this morning. Thanks to a Black woman, who, with one single tweet, sent us down memory lane. While “Heroine” was also a moment in my youth, the best night’s started and ended with Ruby Woo.
Whether it was girl’s night out or date night with bae, Ruby Woo always entered the room with a smile. Despite being told, as Black girls, that red lipstick wasn’t for us, Ruby Woo fit most of our melanin.
Launched in 1999 under M.A.C’s line of Retro Matte Lipsticks, the velvety lush formula and hue was created all by accident according to Fashionista.com, who spoke with M.A.C’s director of makeup artistry, Gregory Arlt. “In the late ’90s, MAC made the decision to make all of our formulas globally compliant,” Arlt explained. The change would result in an alter of texture in their best-selling lip, at the time, “Russian Red.” With customers demanding the same formula they had grown to love, M.A.C went back to the lab in an attempt to recreate their original formula, which was known for being so drying you’d damn near have to peel it off. However, from the mishap came Ruby Woo and a new red lip with the same wow factor and a little more moisture and less matte, had emerged.
Ruby Woo became an instant hit with tubes flying off the shelves. “Customers would flock to the counters, saying they needed Ruby Woo because they didn’t have another red like it,” Arlt added.
Ruby Woo eventually became M.A.C’s best-selling shade in the US thanks to it’s reputation and loyal fan base that includes celebrity women like Janet Jackson. In 2013, long before she’d go on to revolutionize the makeup industry with Fenty Beauty, Rihanna partnered with M.A.C on, Ri Ri Woo, a spin-off of the classic shade. (It sold out in three hours).
Beauty influencer Destiny Matuet also swears by the retro lippie. In a red lip review Elle.com, she raved about how the lippie complimented her brown skin. “I’ve always struggled with the idea of myself in a red lipstick,” she admitted. After doing some research on Youtube, she discovered MAC’s classic color. “M.A.C Cosmetic’s Ruby Woo was the perfect tone—it wasn’t too orange or too magenta, it was the perfect cool-toned blue-red. [The shade] compliments almost everyone I’ve seen wear it.”
Black women took to Twitter to praise Ruby Woo by sharing photos of them wearing the exalted beauty product.