If you pull the curtains on my extensive collection of lip colors, you may be perplexed by what you uncover. Sorting through hues that range from mauvey nude to nudey mauve, you may think my sheer glosses and pigmented lip stains all look the same. Indeed, I am a hoarder of neutrals both in my beauty arsenal as well as in my wardrobe, and while I have collected a few deep plums and merlots that I play with on occasion, I still go back to the nudes and neutrals that never fail.
For the last few seasons I have embraced a fully matte makeup look, using true browns and baked bronzes to highlight my medium-toned olive skin. My glossy and satin lip formulas have also taken a back seat to the collection of matte lip colors that I have amassed of late. Timeless yet trendy, I am drawn to their velvety finish and dramatic impact no matter what the hue.
The trick to finding the perfect neutral lip color is to find the closest match to your natural lip color. For me, it's a—you guessed it—classic mauve hue that plays with the dusty rose undertones in my cheeks. After experimenting with a few different formulas, I've narrowed it down to the most flattering and fun shades that will be in rotation all summer.
I can't stop raving about Sephora's Cream Lip Stain formula! After nearly finishing my tube of the "Blackberry Sorbet" hue last fall/winter, I knew I had to spring for another color in the line this season. The Sephora formula has a gorgeous mousse-like consistency that glides on easily and precisely. The color is a light yet rich mauve that requires only one coat to give it a polished look. For $14(!), this is, in my opinion, the best beauty product for lips on the market.
I can't say this was the most flattering lip color on my olive skin, but I knew I had to try this pastel peach when I saw it in the bottle. The color has a fresh-squeezed, sorbet-like hue that would look amazing on someone with fairer skin and lighter hair. I applied a couple coats to my darker natural lips to achieve an opaque color and filled in the gaps with a pink lip liner. The formula sets pretty quickly, but the pointed applicator ensures precise application, so you're sure to get it right with very few swipes.
I was pleasantly surprised that the cool tones in this purpley pink color actually worked well with the warmer tones of my complexion. Like the "Pêche" color above, this hue is more playful and probably more appropriate for someone with fairer skin, but it brightened up my skintone and let me play with a color family that I've been nervous to try. I'm going to give purple a chance this season!
Ah, the tried and true rosey mauve. When I first applied this color, it took on a brighter pink hue, but as it settled, it developed (or oxidized) into a warm, true mauve with grey and blue undertones. The formula is also very smooth and buildable, but does dry quickly like the other Jouer lip crémes. I am obsessed with this lip color and think it will become a staple in my collection.
My first foray into lip color started with experimenting with lip pencils. I have to admit I was influenced by Kylie Jenner's lip color obsession when she rediscovered the MAC "Spice" lip pencil that we 30-somethings first discovered while playing in our older siblings' Kaboodles (guilty) in the '90s. Because it allows you to create a precise line and appears less dense than liquid lipsticks, a lip pencil is a great way to add color without making too dramatic of a statement. Sonia Kashuk's Lip Definer in "Natural" is my go-to (the perfect neutral lip pencil in my opinion), but the "Petal" hue boosts the cooler tones in my lips and adds a bit more of a pink punch.
Colourpop lip products have been touted as less expensive and almost identical versions of the Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kits and matte lip products. In fact, hundreds of beauty bloggers have tested the claims that Colourpop products are Kylie Jenner Lip Kit dupes. I haven't tried the Lip Kit, but I know that the Lippie Stix are highly pigmented, easy to apply, and come in the most appealing colors. The best part is that they're about $6 for a lip product with that lasts through an entire meal and can be layered with other Colourpop Lippie Stix for a custom color. I'm a huge fan of this neutral mauve pink.
I first saw this stunning lip color on a bridesmaid at a wedding and had to know what it was. Luckily, the makeup artist who had chosen the Lorac Pro Matte Lip Color shade was sitting at my table! I ordered the lip crayon as soon as I woke up the next morning. It comes in a twist and click tube and has the most gorgeous velvety finish when applied.
Other products used for this look:
Elcie Cosmetics - The Glow Enhancer
Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Foundation
Jouer Cosmetics bronzer
Jouer Cosmetics blush
Lorac Light Source Illuminating Highlighter in Moonlight
Lorac Pro Palette in Cream, Mauve, Sable and Espresso
CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus eyeliner in Espresso