It seems that lipstick is one of the most intimidating makeup products to use for makeup newbies. Maybe that and creating a cat eye with liquid eyeliner? I’ve had a couple friends ask me recently to help them find an everyday lipstick, and a date night/fun lipstick. As I begin to think through which direction to aim them in, I thought it may be helpful to share a few common lipstick finishes, and share some favorites from each kind!
For reference, here I am trying to do a closed mouth smile, which I’m terrible at, so you can see the base color of my lips.
- Sheer lip balm is the lightest, creamiest, balmiest of the bunch. It’s generally transparent enough to see through to your natural lip color, but it can create a nice bit of soft color to punch your lips up a bit. This is where I would start if I was really apprehensive about wearing lipstick. It’s the safest and most forgiving type of lip “color” to wear. My favorite sheer lip balms are Fresh Sugar in Rose and Honey, and also Dior Addict Lip Glow.
2. Next up would be a sheer lipstick that offers a bit more color payoff than just a lip balm. These tend to wear really nicely, avoid settling into lines, and fade off evenly. I don’t have a huge variety in this range, personally, because I like a bit more color in general but my favorite is YSL Rouge Volupte in #13. This pairs well with a full face of makeup, or just a light day!
3. For an opaque and easy to wear formula, find a lipstick with a glossy, or non-matte, finish. There is a huge range from brand to brand, but in general lipstick with a glossier finish feels a little softer on the lips and is easy to wear. My longest and most worn lipstick is this easy slightly warm pink from Anthropologie but I’ve also found some from Revlon and Maybelline that wear really nicely too! Pair this with a bit more makeup than just a bare face!
4. For more intensity in the lipstick realm, find a matte lipstick. This will give great color payoff and look intense on the lips. I’ve been loving Maybelline Matte lipstick in Blushing Pout. Initially it’s quite intense, but it wears to a really pretty purple-based shade. Matte lipsticks are perfect for risk-takers in the makeup department and also those who like a really saturated, full finish.
5. A long-wearing formula that won’t look too full is a lip stain! Typically these go on with a precise applicator and sink into the lips almost immediately. They “stain” your lips the color of the product. You may notice dryness, or lack of vibrancy, but there will certainly be color on your lips until the stain wears off completely. There is usually a nice shine at the start, but the shine wears away as the stain settles in.
6. Finally, the most intense + longest wearing would be a long-wear lipstick. Look for those exact words on the packaging to know you are getting the hardest working of the bunch! These often, but not always, are creamy formulas applied with an applicator brush so you can have complete control over where the product goes. This usually requires a steady hand and even application on the lips so the finish looks even and clean. It will give you full lipstick color payoff, and either matte or glossy depending on what you like! It pairs really well with a full/complete face of makeup! Baja Bound from the Smashbox Be Legendary collection is a bold coral pink.
I thought it may help to swatch them all next to each other so you can really see how the transparency changes from left to right.
Most importantly, and the one thing I hope you take from this post, is that you TRY some version of lipstick if you are interested and haven’t braved those waters yet. It helps to talk to someone at a makeup counter to get color matched, or go shopping with a friend who loves lipstick but also knows what you are most likely to wear on a daily basis.
Of the bunch, I find myself wearing more lipsticks that fall on the balm side versus full color long-wear, but I always like to have a bold color in my purse too to kick my makeup up a notch!