A few weeks ago, I shared some tips on how to whittle down your nail polish collection to the essentials by using a simple formula – pick one polish from each of six categories, and you have everything you need for a complete stockpile of nail colors. Because all of us could afford to streamline our beauty routine, I’m here to help you apply that simplification to another facet of your beauty regimen – lip colors.
It isn’t unusual to have a handful of lip products in a single bag. After all, every purse needs lipstick, gloss, balm, a lip crayon, plumper… well, maybe not quite all that. But just like nail polish, it’s easy to let your collection of lip products get out of hand. Those pretty little tubes that promise “long-lasting color” and “24-hour moisture” are just too tempting. But it doesn’t have to be that way; you can have a minimalist lip collection with all of the basics. Here is my compilation of the six essential lip colors to match all of your moods and vibes. The products pictured here are lipsticks, but you can also find similar hues as crayons or even glosses.
The Classic Red
I am unsure how to even begin explaining why we all need to own a red lipstick. To channel Taylor Swift? To look like a vintage movie star? To feel exponentially more badass and glamorous than usual? Whatever motive you identify with, there’s no question that everyone can rock a classic cherry red on their lips. Tip: For a romantic vibe, use the lipstick to draw a Cupid’s bow, defining the edges of your lips and emphasizing the middle indentation of your top lip by creating a heart-like shape.
The Bright Pink
Pink isn’t just for girly girls anymore – it’s for everyone with a love for lipstick and the desire to be fabulous as hell. Keep the rest of your makeup neutral to avoid overdoing it – or just go all out and not care what anyone thinks. The right shade of pink has the tendency to have that effect on your attitude. Not ready to go full Barbie? Opt for a softer cotton candy or rose shade.
The Simple Nude
It’s fun to go a little crazy with lip color, but sometimes you just want something chic. That’s where a nice beige comes in. Nude lipstick is universally flattering, and it exudes the perfect balance of glamour with nonchalance. Pair a nude lipstick with smoldering smokey eyes for a dose of celebrity glamour, a la Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez.
The Fun Coral
The “fun” of lip color I mentioned in the last paragraph? This is it. Invest in a bright tangerine shade or a neon melon hue to majorly amplify your lips in a unique yet trendy way. These orange-red colors are a fun twist on more classic reds and pinks. They are also the perfect summer beauty staple, and who doesn’t want a dose of sunshine right on their lips?
The Sophisticated Brown
Brown isn’t a color you would typically think to slather onto your lips, but I can assure you that a raisin purple or a rich mahogany can make any beauty look instantly classy and sophisticated. “Glamorous intellectual” is always a good look to strive for, and having a deep shade on your lips is simultaneously modern and mysterious.
The Funky Knockout
Whether it’s a bright neon version of any of the shades discussed above or a totally unconventional shade (black lipstick, anyone?), everyone needs that one lip color that makes them stand out in a crowd, like this majorly amped-up pink. Wearing this shade makes me feel like Nicki Minaj, and I think we all need that sometimes. Makeup is about having fun, after all. Now hit up the drugstore and get ready to paint your lips with some fabulous hues.
Article and Photos by Libby Allnatt