Well, I agree with Audrey on the first three, but lipstick has never been my thing. It’s not that I don’t love it, in theory, I do. But I love it because it’s beautiful, not because I enjoy wearing it or that it looks particularly good on me.
It took me a while to realize I was consistently choosing the wrong color and finish for my skin tone. I’m drawn to highly pigmented bright pinks, and they look atrocious on me. I also hated the way traditional lipsticks felt on my lips. They were drying and waxy, even the high end brands were uncomfortable to wear. I finally gave up and took to wearing a lip balm or gloss and left it at that.
When I started getting back into wearing and enjoying makeup and learned about the importance of undertones, I started putting two and two together. There were lots of women with coloring similar to mine who wore lipstick daily and looked stunning in it. But they weren’t wearing Barbie pink or drop dead red. They were wearing neutrals and nudes and they looked polished and put together.
Starting out I found a few glosses that I liked, particularly the plumping ones like Lip Injection from Too Faced and the Buxom Full-on Lip Plumping glosses. I also began researching actual lipsticks, reading reviews, watching YouTube videos, and doing swatches at makeup counters. I found out a couple of things that I think are universally true. These are the steps for my fail proof way to pick a lipstick that looks fabulous on you.
Test it out.
Social media has brought a whole new dimension to the world of makeup. In a few clicks you can learn the latest trends, newest products, and what’s on the horizon all from the comfort of your own couch. It’s incredibly convenient to do what was formerly the “legwork” without ever leaving your home, but there are some things that require your physical presence, as there’s only so much you can do from behind a screen.
If I went by a large number of guides, a nude lipstick with orangey/coral undertones should look fabulous with my fair, cool toned complexion. The reality is, those colors wash me out and make me look dead. I found that out only after swatching several on myself (I use the inside of my arm, from up by my wrist down to my inner elbow).
It doesn’t matter if someone else has the exact same coloring and skin tone that you do, it’s different on everyone. So, take my word for it and save yourself a lot of grief and wasted money, test on yourself and see how it looks. It’s time well invested to make sure that a particular shade is perfect for you.
Once upon a time, lipstick was lipstick, and the only thing that really distinguished one from another was the color. These days, there are lots of choices in lip products other than just color, like wear time, pigmentation, formula, and finish.
Finishes can range from super glossy to dead matte and everything in between, and just like with color, not every finish looks good on every person. Personally, most with a frosty sheen don’t look great on me, but occasionally I find one that works. Liquid lipsticks will usually have a very matte finish, as that’s what allows them to be so long wearing. A satiny, creamy finish is much more my style, though, and most makeup lines offer some version of this type of finish that looks great, is long lasting, and feels good to wear.
Comfort, it’s a thing.
Here’s the deal, comfort has always been a huge factor as far as lipsticks go, and whereas it’s not as bad as it used to be, lipstick can be hit or miss in the comfort department. I’m not really a fan of liquid lipsticks in how they feel, but mostly because they usually dry my lips out. There are some newer formulations that lean toward a more satin finish and are less drying, but overall, I steer clear of them. I also find them very difficult to remove, and I don’t want to have to scrub unnecessarily at my lips, if I don’t have to.
I also have to be very careful with plumping lip products. Because of their very nature, if I’m not vigilant about moisturizing underneath, plumping lipsticks and glosses will chap my lips to the point they bleed, peel, and flake. After I’ve worn a plumping product, I make sure to use a good lip scrub to exfoliate, and then follow up with a heavy duty balm like bite beauty’s Agave Lip Mask, or the Laneige lip mask, and continue slathering that on repeatedly throughout the next day. Word of warning, sometimes my lips still are a bit chapped and irritated after wearing it, despite my best efforts. If all else fails, I use original Vaseline, only, until they start feeling better.
It’s really up to you. If you can stand liquid lipsticks, there are some fantastic ones on the market, these days, and they can last close to all day.
Pull it together, people.
Although a lipstick may look fabulous on you, it may not go with the rest of your makeup, that particular day. 99.9% of the time, a neutral pinky nude is perfect for me, but that other .1% it may completely wash me out, based on what else I’ve got on. Do not hesitate to grab a remover wipe and take off a lipstick if it doesn’t go with the rest of your makeup.
The right lip color will pull your entire look together, whether you’re going high glam or running errands on a Saturday. I, personally, don’t wear a stitch of makeup if I don’t have the time to put it on and get it right, but I know some people who won’t leave the house without it. You can do a quick brow, slap on a coat of mascara, add a flattering nude lip and look polished enough to make the grocery store, dry cleaners, and pharmacy circuit.
Now let’s talk about what works for me.
Throughout my research, I noticed one brand was universally adored for its lipstick, and for good reason. M∙A∙C offers a phenomenal line of products with a range that’s inclusive of all people who want to wear makeup, and that includes lipsticks. Their iconic Ruby Woo, a rich blue-red matte shade, is one of the best-selling lipsticks in the world. So I began looking into their nude lip shades and found several that I love and top off my go-to looks, nicely.
(As a note: I found a post on the site beaut.ie that has fantastic information about the finishes of M∙A∙C lipsticks. You can read more, for yourself, here.)
1. Velvet Teddy (Matte) creamy, full coverage, matte finish
It’s flattering on a wide range of skin tones and with a variety of makeup looks. Even though it’s a matte finish, I find it to be very comfortable and, of course, relatively long lasting. It’s highly pigmented for a truly opaque coverage and has the slightest hint of a dark rose undertone. It’s also a fairly universal shade, in that it looks great on a lot of different people, many with under tones entirely different than mine.
2. Honeylove (Matte) creamy, full coverage, matte finish
A lovely color that may not work for those with anything other than the lightest skin tone, this comes across as a light caramel-y beige and doesn’t show much pink on me. It has a very even application and is definitely a full coverage formula. Again, take caution, a lot of reviewers are not happy with this color, as it’s too light for them and washes them out. Be sure to swatch this one in store before committing to a purchase.
3. Snob (Satin) creamy, medium buildable coverage, satin finish
Snob’s bubblegum, Barbie pink is almost half a hair too bright to be considered a neutral, but it’s a fun color, nonetheless. I wouldn’t wear it with a bright, vibrant eye look, as I feel it’s enough on its own with the strong blue/violet undertone. Although it is quite long lasting, you’ll definitely need a few passes with it if you’re looking to get full coverage.
4. Blankety (Amplified) ultra-creamy, full coverage, semi-lustrous finish
Very similar to Honeylove, but with a more satin-y finish and a bit of a cooler undertone, this finish has a best-of-both-worlds thing going on. It’s a matte-like formula, so it’s very long lasting and has nicely pigmented covering, but it’s more hydrating than a matte. Doesn’t last quite as long as Honeylove, but it does last a decent amount of time, and I can live with that since it doesn’t dry your lips out, either.
5. Crème Cup (Cremesheen) creamy, medium buildable coverage, semi-glossy finish
This shade is one of their bestselling lipsticks, and it’s easy to see why. First, let’s address the finish. Cremesheen is by far my favorite M∙A∙C formula in terms of comfort, but it’s definitely super sheer, glossy, and doesn’t have a long wear time. Personally, I’d rather trade full coverage and a longer wear time for comfort. This color is quite lovely, as well. Just a shiny pink hint to give your lips a little somethin’, somethin’.
6. Modesty (Cremesheen) creamy, medium buildable coverage, semi-glossy finish
This beautiful nude pink is a match for a lot of natural lip tones with its ideal balance of beige-y brown and soft, dusky pink. It is a great neutral color, perfect for the no-makeup makeup look. The creamy formula is so comfortable and with buildable coverage, it will be a frequent visitor to the makeup bag you keep in your purse.
7. Peach Blossom (Cremesheen) creamy, medium buildable coverage, semi-glossy finish
On me, this pulls more of a coral undertone with a sheer, light pink overlay. This also does have the usual comfy cremesheen formula, with very buildable coverage that you can get to a medium level. Again, not at all drying on the lips and that glossy finish just adds to your natural lip color.
8. Bombshell (Frost) high pearl, medium buildable coverage, semi-lustrous finish
The pink of Bombshell is definitely more in the medium range. I’m reading online that this looks a lot better if you have a cool undertone to your skin, which I do, and I certainly enjoy wearing it. At any rate, it’s a gorgeous bright pink with a gold sheen to it. This is perfect when you’ve got a muted, neutral eye look and want to make a bit of a statement with your lip color.
That’s it! Those are the M∙A∙C lipsticks that work best for me.
I do have other nude-ish lipsticks, that I love (Tom Ford’s Pink Dusk just might be my holy grail), but overall, I’ve found that M∙A∙C usually has something for every look and every person.
Hopefully you’ve seen something you like and think might work for you, as well. A good nude lipstick can really pull things together and put the perfect finishing touch on any look.
Do you have any M∙A∙C nudes/neutrals that you’re in love with? If so, share them in the comment section.
Until next time…