“For attractive lips, speak kind words.”
I recently wrote about warm and cool skin tones and what to wear with the one you’ve been blessed with, including lipstick shades. Today I’m going a bit further and focusing just on lip color: how to create a good lip color “wardrobe,” how to make lipstick last longer, what colors will enhance your face, and I am also sharing some of my favorite shades and brands.
First off, every woman needs three lip colors in her cosmetics collection: a trendy shade, a versatile nude, and a classic red. Hot trends for this spring are a pop of hot pink (I like Givenchy’s “Fuchsia Irresistible”), 60’s coral, and glittery metallics. Whether you like matte or glossy, lip gloss or lipstick, these three items are a make-up must for women young and old. What we all want is a pigment that doesn’t stain the lips or stay on too long and one that is not overly dry.
I almost always wear lipstick or lip gloss. I also have lip balms everywhere…in my purse, in my car, at my desk, at work, in my nightstand. Literally, everywhere. Maybe it all goes back to my grandma Dodie, who at all times had on earrings and lipstick regardless of where she was going or what she was wearing. She must have passed this habit on to my mom, who has a drawer-full of lipsticks and first introduced me to the original Tangee lipstick that is famously clear to look at but changes to the perfect color to complement your skin. I still like it to this day!
My collection of lip color runs the gamut price-wise. Chanel’s shimmery and high-shine Levres Scintillantes lip glosses are near and dear to my heart, but so are the more affordable Pure Illumination glosses. I love that they have a mirror on the tube and a bonus push light. Lipstick-wise, my long-time go to color is Mary Kay’s “Toffee.” Depending on what I wear, it can go coral, red, and even a darker neutral and it goes on velvety and isn’t too sticky. Basically, it’s perfect!
Full-lips are everywhere. Many are God-given (Angelina Jolie) but many more are not (too many to name.) But, regardless of what the fake-lipped Kardashians would have you to believe (I’m talking to you Kylie and your Kylie’s Lip Kit), fuller isn’t necessarily better.
Elle magazine recently reported that, according to a study from the University of Manchester, lip size is insignificant when it comes to perception of attractiveness. Thankfully it’s pigment that matters most. For the study, the eye movements of men were tracked and showed that they spent 2.2 seconds on lipstick-free mouths, 6.7 seconds on pink lips, and 7.3 seconds looking at red lips…all regardless of fullness. Can I get an “amen” from all my fellow thin-and normal-lipped sisters?
So nude is good, pinks are better, and red is the best? Yes and no. IMHO, nudes are top dogs because they go with everything and can easily go from day to night without a hitch. As for pinks, a deep one will instantly brighten up your look while reds are oh so timeless and ever so glam.
Once you’ve chosen a color, how do you make it last? Makeup artist and Chanel brand ambassador Kate Lee told Allure magazine that her favorites are “velvet” lipsticks, which give you a matte look but also have emollients. She suggests first applying a lip balm and let it sit for 10 minutes, then apply the lipstick. She’s not a believer in primers prior to lip color, and who’s going to argue with Chanel?
When applying your lip color, don’t by way of costly but unnecessary applicators, instead apply it straight from the lipstick bullet, or case, and after doing so, blend it with a brush. You can also blot any excess color with a tissue before applying another layer. Lastly, Lee suggests spreading a very light layer of transparent powder for extra staying power underneath a third layer of lipstick. Sound complicated? Maybe, but it works! Another trick is shared by superstar Celine Dion, who first dabs foundation on her lips followed by a fill-in with lip pencil, and then the lipstick. She swears this process helps keep her lip color intact throughout her stage shows. Who knew?
Now for colors and brands. Here are some of my favorites and some that are industry favorites.
I love Mary Kay’s “Apricot Glaze” and my daughter swears by Tom Ford’s “Sable Smoke” (but it looks ghastly on me!) I also really, really like Mac’s “Love Child” lip gloss and Chanel’s “Coco” is fabulous, albeit more on the expensive side.
Tom Ford lipsticks are known to be highly-pigmented and long-lasting. They also boast a creamy texture and the trademark “TF” stamp on the tip. They’re almost too pretty to use!
Revlon’s “Soft Shell Pink” is an enduring darling and I love Mary Kay’s “Dusty Rose” and Marc Jacob’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” If you’re lucky enough to find a Tom Ford “Cherry Lush,” grab it, as the pinkish-red always sells out. Last year’s Pantone color of the year, Orchid, is a more purpley pink, but it works on almost all skin tones. Just make sure you pick a more sheer one if you’re fair-skinned and more opaque if you’re darker skinned.
The lip color of all lip colors, right? Who doesn’t have images of Liz Taylor or JLo in a vibrant red lip? Revlon’s “Fire and Ice” is a stalwart and boasts SPF15, while right behind it in popularity is Chanel’s trademark “Allure” in its click-open case. Mac’s extra matte and much-loved “Ruby Woo” is right behind them, as is Tom Ford’s “Alejandro.” “Danger” by YSL is also popular and is nice in that it goes on sheer but has the perfect amount of color.
Finally, don’t forget to match your lip shade with your skin undertone. Warm skin tones should wear orange-reds, brick reds, peaches, peachy pinks, and corals. Those with cool undertones look best in blue-based reds, cranberry, wine, pink reds, and rosy pinks.
Not sure what to buy? Visit your nearby cosmetic counter or store and ask for help! The men and women there love the practice, do it for a living, and are for the most part, experts at it.
Have fun and go glam!
Just for fun, I found the above little gem. It’s a chart of what your lipstick shape reveals about your personality. As much as I’ve always tried to have a flat tip, my lipsticks are all the first example, slanted and close to the original shape. Amazingly, the description of it matches my personality almost to a tee! What about you?