Bright lipstick (meaning anything other than nude) is one of those things that eluded me for years. I could never quite figure out exactly how to make it work. I’ve bought many red lipsticks over the years, only to wear them once and say “nope! You look like a clown,” and wipe it off immediately. I could never get past that clown-y feeling. I always envied the bright, beautiful colors I saw other people wearing and just assumed my lips were fundamentally flawed which explained why I couldn’t seem to find a good match.
The lipstick I wore (everyday) up until about a year ago, is a luxe finish by MAC that is a pretty pink/nude color. I loved it and was convinced it was the only color I could ever wear. Unfortunately, looking at those pictures now, I can see that this color frequently did not look so good on me. Turns out, it was too nude and not matte enough.
Last year, I decided to fully commit to finding new shades that looked good on me. I've always thought the best most efficient way to discover new beautiful colors is to find Youtube videos and pictures of girls with similar coloring. This strategy works for all kinds of makeup, from foundation to lipstick. If the color looks good on people that look sort of like me, then it will likely look good on me.
Here are 3 tips to finding bright lipstick in shades that you never would have normally worn, but have always longed to. If I can do it, trust me, you can definitely do it :) Turns out, my lips aren't fundamentally flawed and I can confidently rock bright lipstick (by the way- I wear it everyday now).
The first step is to look up a variety of colors and pick ones that you think are pretty. I love matte lipsticks almost exclusively, so my go-to is MAC (although they are pricey, I'll admit). I love their color selection and pigment.
I typically start by watching Youtube videos of beauty gurus that I like (I love Jaclyn Hill and Beauty by JJ), and follow their recommendations for colors or lipsticks. You can also google “wearing MAC lipstick” and let the magic happen from there. I like to also search for most popular MAC lipsticks (how I found my all time favorite- Flat Out Fabulous). Once you find a color that looks pretty, do specific searches for that color so you can search things like "Russian Red dark skin" or "MAC lipstick for dark skin" and these searches always produce a myriad of good results. I also like to keep a long running list of lipstick colors that I want to try, and then purchase a few at a time. I've literally found every MAC lipstick shade I own this way, by searching and watching videos/ looking at pictures of girls wearing it. My latest lipstick is MAC Russian Red, and I am in love!
2. Ignore the color “Rules”
Ignore that whole “if you’re ______ wear _____ tones" or if you have a darker complexion go for rich berry colored lipsticks. What If I don’t want to wear rich berry tones? Or orange-red lipstick? I’ve bought lipsticks based solely on those guidelines only to hate the color immediately once out of the packaging. Buy what you like and will wear frequently, but do make sure it’s flattering on you. You can enlist your friends and family to help give you feedback when in doubt. Don’t wear makeup just to wear makeup, it HAS to look good on you and enhance your natural beauty. One guideline I do like is to keep everything balanced, if I wear statement lipstick, go easy on the smoky eye and blush. Intense makeup all around can easily look overdone and theatrical.
Unfortunately, sometimes that color in the tube, just doesn’t look great once you put it on. Even after you watched videos, looked at pictures, and googled "top MAC lipstick colors," you can still end up with a dud. Often, you have to try a few different colors to really find one that you’re in love with. It took me years of trying and giving up to find the perfect color. Now that I’ve found multiple colors that I love, I feel so much more confident wearing different shades and trying new ones- I have a much better idea of tones and shades that work well for me (reds and bright pinks look better than light pinks or anything pale).
It just takes practice but it's so worth it- it totally changed my entire look and it dramatically changed how I photograph as well!
What are your go-to shades? Do you like bright lipsticks or do you stick to nudes?