Your Lips But Better

I wasn’t always a lipstick kinda gal. 

For many, many years it was Soft Lips chapstick, and maybe the occasional gloss. 

But man. That has changed, hasn’t it?

I’ve really enjoyed playing around with different lip colors. I feel braver experimenting with lipsticks rather than eyeshadows. 

Anything from a bright pink to a bold, rich red can totally change your “look” and may, in fact, be the boldest accessory. 

Other than the fun colorful shades, it’s good to have a “your lips but better” shade as well. Basically look at it as the color of your lips, but slightly bolder/more pigmented. Get it? Your lips but better? Finding this shade may require an employee at a makeup counter–but there is NO reason why you can’t figure out the shade, apply it to your lips, walk out of the department store, kiss the back of your hand, and then swatch some different brands (maybe at Target?) that are in your price point. 

Lipstick is one of those things where I’m not sure the pricey high-end brands are amazingly better than, say, Revlon. It may just be me, but the application of my Revlon lipstick is much smoother than my Mac lipstick.

Speaking of Mac lipstick, that is what I’m wearing. I ran into Mac right before the Becoming Conference to find a “your lips but better” shade. I was planning on wearing a bright color when I spoke, so I wanted a slightly neutral lip color.

Just as they always do at Mac, the employee found me the perfect shade. It’s called Syrup.

It’s a raspberry mauve-y color, and pretty much a pumped up version of my natural lip color. I’m actually surprised no one has recommended it up until now. It’s kinda great.

If you are looking for a “your lips but better”shade, try Syrup–but also ask the opinion of the employee. They may find you an even better shade.


  1. says

    I love it! Kind of a strange question, but what does your husband think of you wearing lipstick more often? I find that kisses come less often for me when I wear lipstick because he doesn’t want to look like he is as well. Any brands that this doesn’t seem to happen with?

  2. says

    I was also an only gloss kinda girl until your post on the Sonia K lipsticks…love the richness it brings! What is the best way to get any lipstick to last? I teach and often don’t have any time to reapply for a few hours. Do you recommend a brand/product or process? Thanks for all your advice! I truely appreciate you;)

    • Lyndsay says

      She means the blush you’re wearing on your cheeks. A lot of people like to match their lip and blush color in the same color family.

    • says

      I’ve actually never heard that. I think it would be better to find a flattering cheek color and flattering lip color instead of trying to match both–but I do agree that they probably should be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum!

    • Anonymous says

      You are free to do what you want but I have always heard that lip and blush color should be harmonious otherwise it looks to harsh. Pink = cool, keep blush in cool family. Coral = warm, keep blush in warm family. It just looks more balanced.

  3. says

    i’m not a huge lipstick person. i much prefer gloss. i have a bare minerals color that i love. i get so frustrated when i buy a lipstick at a drug store and then get home and it looks awful on me. it’s never occurred to me to go somewhere and have them help me find a good color. duh. that shade looks fabulous on you!

  4. says

    Lately I’ve been hooked on Revlon’s lip butters – they have a really nice consistency, sheen and aren’t sticky. I’m about the same coloring with blonde hair and tend to like warmer hues, so I love Creamsicle which is a warm nude..also really like Raspberry Pie which is just pink and bold enough for the office. I’ve heard that Peach Parfait has the same “your lips but better” quality too!

    • says

      So after reading the review about the Revlon lip butters I decided to stop at the drug store to pick two up. I chose peach parfait and candy apple. I wanted to tell you all about my complexion to help you choose a color that is good on your skin tone. I wear the same foundation color as Kate, have lighter blonde hair and blue eyes, but I have more pinky undertones. I must say the peach parfait was a little too dark to be “your lips but better” color and the candy apple was a great bright red with orange undertones. I am still on the hunt for a deep red with blue undertones. I lost my fav matte red lip color, Cruella by Nars. It is the best! If you want a red with blue undertones to make you look like a diva try Cruella! Thank you Kathleen for the lip butter testimony. I absolutely agree with the smoothness, I’ll just buy more colors now. :) Keep me posted if you try any new ones.

  5. Anonymous says

    Syrup is my go to lipstick I always keep in my purse. Love it! Try Mary Kay au natural and cafe au lait gloss too!

  6. says

    I love this theory – finding your “your lips but better” shade. I love yours! It is perfect! Did you know that the same lipstick color will always look different on each woman, because we all have different natural lip shades? So syrup on you would probably be a totally different color on me. I think that’s so weird but cool!

  7. Anonymous says

    I have used Syrup for years, and it is still my go-to lip color when I want to wear something more than gloss, but still keep it light. Great choice!

  8. says

    I just recently started wearing lipstick as well, at first I thought it seemed strange,.. but then I got used to it and now i Love wearing it! It really makes a difference! I prefer wearing strong colors like red or a bright pink!

  9. says

    I was actually thinking about a “your lips but better” color yesterday, only without that name. I love love LOVE lipstick/gloss. If I’m having a bad day, my Stila Fiery always makes it better.

    And I grew up with the cheap stuff. Better makeup is worth it to me, as is the ability to try on. I love Sephora so very much. Thanks for the tip on color! I may just have to try this one out.

  10. says

    Thanks for mentioning wearing a bright color and a neutral lip color. I have always wondered if I wore a hot pink top, should I then have hot pink lips! Ha!!

  11. says

    I love it Kate. I have gotten into lipsticks in the past few years and realized, boy was I missing out. You can have so much fun & take risks. I think my two most outrageous lip colors are called “Quite the Thing” and “Impassioned” both by MAC.

  12. says

    I love it! I’ve had help in Sephora in the past finding the “my lips but better” shade. I t hink it’s MAC Viva Glam IV. It’s just a perfect neutral for me that isn’t TOO neutral.

  13. says

    Syrup looks great on you..perfect match..unfortunately,it doesn’t look so good on me..still searching for “my lips but better” shade..and by the way,I happen to like the blush you are wearing with the lipstick :)

  14. says

    I love your blog.. I live on the southwest side of Raleigh so I’m always looking to see where you go shopping :-) You are so classy and what I love is that you work with what looks good on you. Great blog!

  15. Christie says

    “Finding this shade may require an employee at a makeup counter–but there is NO reason why you can’t figure out the shade, apply it to your lips, walk out of the department store, kiss the back of your hand, and then swatch some different brands (maybe at Target?) that are in your price point. “
    No reason except wasting the time of an employee who may be on commission-based pay. This is not a suggestion I can get behind. :(

    • Maggie says

      The employee behind that counter is there for service of that customer of the store he/she is working for. If the job is a commission-based pay he/she knew that before taking the job. Not every customer is going to buy something. I am sure you would not like to be pressured into buying something you are not 100% sure about.

    • Christie says

      They ARE there for service of the customer in the store that they are working for- customers make purchases. That doesn’t make it okay to go in and monopolize their time, knowing you have no intention of purchasing a product in that store. Its one thing to go in with the possibility of making a purchase, but to go in knowing that you are going to make them do the work so that you have an easier time when you go to a lower priced competitor is the equivalent of stealing a service.

    • says

      I think you all have a point. I should have thought that through a little bit before I wrote that. I guess I typically buy from the dept. store when I try on a shade, but I was trying to think of ways that you could get an opinion from a professional without the commitment to buy. I do agree that time of the employees should never be wasted, especially if they are commission.

  16. Anonymous says

    That color looks great with your skin tone. I like the idea of lipstick, but I usually end up wearing gloss or chapstick because I don’t think lipstick looks good on me. I have large pores and light acne, so I think the lipstick just highlights all the imperfections.

  17. Anonymous says

    I just recently started wearing a lip cream- sugar brush by Stila- LOVE it but my husband says it freaks him out now to see my lips so “enhanced”…lol

  18. says

    I have been experimenting with lipcolor lately myself. I bought some hot pink lipstick by Rimmell (Kate Moss’ line she did for them) and I really love it. And about the blush/lipstick matching comment. It is NOT 1985! All your makeup doesn’t have to match, it just has to look good on your face. There certainly seems to be a bit of bickering in the comments today…geez peeps! It’s lipstick! And I don’t think that trying on a color and using a kiss swatch is any different that what they do in magazines when they feature a product and then give a lesser priced option too.

    Ok. Book complete. Lovely post!

  19. says

    Wow, Syrup is great on you! It looks too Barbie/bubblegum pink on me, so that one didn’t work out, but I do love MAC Sophisto. My favorite MLBB lipsticks are Nars Masai and Laura Mercier Stickgloss in Brown Sugar. Love having those go-to shades that I can just slap on in the car and not have to use a mirror!

  20. says

    My “my lips but better” color is Patisserie by MAC. Coincidentally, it’s also the colour I most often use in bridal makeup…it’s a gooder!

  21. Amanda C says

    I’ve been unsuccessful at having any luck with any of the make-up consultants at the department stores…does anyone have any advice on how to get some help in choosing a lip color from a professional? I’ve walked up and asked for help in choosing a shade and was pointed to the lips section and that was it!

    • says

      Hey Amanda, as someone who has worked at MAC as well as for other companies, you shouldn’t have to beg for service. If the salespeople aren’t willing to help, don’t go back. That being said, when you do need help feel free to be specific right away, saying something like, “I’m looking for a my lips but better color that I can wear everyday, do you have any ideas?” And if they pass you a color, ask if they could apply it for you to make sure. You need to like not only the color (and the way it comes out on YOUR lips), but the texture and feel on your lips (or anything else). Then once you’ve found one you like, feel free to wander around for a bit with it on to see if your opinion changes over time.

      Other things to tell them that helps: are you adventurous with lip color? what do you generally go for and do you want to break away from that? what’s your everyday clothing style? how much time do you want to spend getting ready (they’ll shy you away from colors that require lip liners, or teach you ways to apply them differently so you can get more from them)? do you do your makeup and leave it or are you okay with touching up?

      Good luck!

  22. says

    Kate – You always look perfect and I love that lip color on you! I wish I could afford to get a MAC color that matches my lips, but for now, I’m doing trial-and-error with less expensive brands. :) As far as lip color matching cheek color, I think whatever looks good on someone is fine. Most beauty rules, such as those, have gone out the window years ago. Wear what makes you feel amazing!

  23. says

    I had to find something similar for residency interviews, and I was stuck between not wanting high shine of gloss, not wanting the deep color of stick, and wanting more than a balm. Enter the new neutrogena tinted balms, sunny berry was the perfect solution!

  24. says

    I’m reading these comments and some women are def. PMSing today! Good night…ease up ladies. Everyone has there own style do what pleases YOU not everyone else 😉 feel confident in your own skin. I’m done. Thanks again Kate! <3

  25. says

    I love it! I’ve found mine, but it’s a little more pumped up than just “but better” 😉 It’s Revlon’s Pink Pout. I love love love that shade! It goes with everything, I think.

  26. says

    I absolutely love Syrup. If you like syrup I really really recommend trying Fast Play- it’s kind of like a more intense/pigmented version of syrup. Still really beautiful.

  27. says

    Thanks for this post! As a child of the 80’s, I have always associated lipstick with the garish, chalky stuff my aunts wore. I’ve been afraid to ever even try wearing it so I’ve always done gloss. Your post made me bold and I found a Revlon shade that’s me but better – Rosewood. I love the consistency and it lasts so much longer than gloss. Thanks for the great post!

  28. Anonymous says

    Kate, do you wear a chapstick/gloss under or on top of the lipstick color? How do you get it to stay on during the day?

  29. says

    Sorry to comment on an old post, but I wanted to suggest you try out the Burt’s Bees lip shimmers. My favorite one is the shade watermelon and it’s like a more muted and shimmery version of syrup.

  30. Tammy says

    Please don’t swatch lipsticks at Target unless there is a tester! Opening products and testing them before purchasing is almost as bad as stealing them. I’m appalled that the author of this blog would recommend this!

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