Oh, lipstick. I just can’t quit you.
If there’s one thing in the world that makes me feel instantly pretty and pulled together (even when the rest of me might look ‘a fright,’ to quote my college roommate), it’s popping on a little lipstick. It’s also one thing I notice that many women don’t use, whether that be because they just can’t find the right shade, they don’t want to worry about upkeep throughout the day, or they don’t like the look of a ‘full on’ lipsticked lip.
Well, ladies, I’m here to help. The greatest thing about lipstick is its versatility. It comes in every color under the sun at every price point and in a variety of different finishes, from matte to shiny to sheer. So with a little work up front, you can find the right shade and the right finish at the right price for you and be done with it. It’s so simple! If you’re like me, however, you’ll never be quite ‘done with it,’ it’s just too much fun. Aaaaand, there goes my paycheck again.
And while I have a lipstick collection that rivals the most in-demand makeup artist at fashion week, all any modern day lady might need are these three trusty go-tos.
When to wear it: This is your everyday lipstick. Wear it to work, wear it to cocktails, wear it to pick up your dry cleaning. Because its purpose is to enhance, not alter, your lip color, it’s perfect for any occasion and is the definition of low maintenance beauty.
How to find your perfect shade: A nude lipstick should be as close to your natural lip color as possible. It’s you, but just a teensy bit better. The best way to find your shade is to try, try, try. Grab a friend, take a trip to your local beauty counter, and get down to business. If you can try on shades in natural daylight, even better, as that will ensure you get a shade that looks natural. When trying out different shades, apply the color on the middle of your lip. If it disappears, it’s the right color. If it looks pasty, it’s too light, and if looks orange, it’s too dark.
What I have in my makeup bag: Nars Lipstick in Dolce Vita, $26, sephora.com.
When to wear it: If it was up to me, I’d apply the same rules to red lipstick as I do to a nude shade. I just love it that much. However, for ladies who don’t have the deep, border-line inappropriate relationship with lipstick that I do, the rules might be slightly different. For you, a great red lipstick should be a special occasion go-to. Whether it’s a night out on the town, a friend’s wedding, or a big presentation at work, red lipstick works anytime you want to feel sexy, confident and powerful.
How to find your perfect shade: Is there a more discussed topic in the land of beauty than how to find the perfect red lipstick? I think not. Which basically means there are no hard and fast rules to this game. There are the orangey reds, the pinky reds, and the blue-toned reds, and in my opinion, everyone can wear all three. While you should take into account your skin tone and hair color when choosing the right shade for you, it’s really about finding one that makes you feel beautiful. Trying shades with different undertones will help you understand if you prefer a classic true red or a more statement orange red. If you’re not ready to commit to a full-on red just yet, try a sheer formula for just a hint of color.
What I have in my makeup bag: YSL Rouge Volupté in 17 Red Muse, $35, sephora.com.
When to wear it: Bright lipsticks are perfect when you need a little boost or when you just want to have some FUN. They are playful, flirty and full of energy. If you’re having a bad day, popping on a bright lip color is the perfect way to turn that frown upside down.
How to find your perfect shade: Similar to red lipsticks, bright lipsticks come in a variety of different tones, so it’s best to try a few to see if you prefer a pink shade or more of an orange one. Bright lipsticks are also the perfect opportunity to try out different formulas — you might find you like the shine of a gloss or you might prefer the staying power and matte finish of a liquid lipstick. No matter what shade you choose, keep the rest of your makeup minimal so your lip color really pops (and so you avoid looking like a clown).
What I have in my makeup bag: Tom Ford Lip Color in Wild Ginger, $49, nordstrom.com; Stila Stay All Day® Liquid Lipstick in Tesoro, $22, sephora.com; Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick in Fever, $30, sephora.com.
At the end of the day, the best advice I can give you about finding and wearing the right lipstick for you is to have fun with it, don’t let it stress you out (it is only makeup, after all). Whether it costs $5 or $50 and whether it’s nude or red or orange or green (ok, maybe not green), choose a shade that really feels like YOU. This will ensure that you actually wear it, which means you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. And remember, you’ve got the goods already; lipstick is just there to pump up the volume (dance, dance).