Red, Pink, Nude — What’s Your Power Lip?

power lipstick.indexedReader E sent us this interesting query…

Increasingly, I see ladies in all situations and events wearing pink or lip-colored lipstick. Seems like the days of Revlon’s Volcanic Red or Love That Red are now only in the print magazines. Or perhaps only when the lady is actually wearing red clothing (oh, that’s really dated, matching the lipstick to clothing). What says Corporette?

A few months ago we attended a conference and were shocked — shocked, we tell you — to see how many of the women speaking on the panels were wearing red lips. They looked great, don’t get us wrong — but we couldn’t fathom how they trusted a red lipstick enough to keep it on for a whole hour and a half of speaking.  Pictured: red lips isolated in white, originally uploaded to Flickr by TaniaSaiz.

It seems like there are a few pros, as well as cons, to the red lip. First, if you wear little-to-no makeup and suddenly add a red lipstick, it immediately dresses you up, adds color to your face (great for photographs, also) and yes, conveys a bit of authority as well as femininity. And, because you’re wearing a red lip, no one will fault you for not wearing any other makeup. However, the major con is that the red lip can fade unevenly, leaving an unpleasant (and aging) “line” around the outer rim of your lip. Furthermore, the shade is absolutely essential — a great red can make you look alive and sexy and confident and powerful, but a wrong red can make you look dead and unfashionable and frumpy. Finally, another con (as we see it) is that a red lip will almost always leave a stain on a coffee cup, a napkin, a wine glass, etc. — it seems to float there between you and your colleagues, as if it were a flag saying “I’m High Maintenance.” Better yet? The red-lipstick-stain-on-teeth look.

Having weighed these pros and cons, for our $.02, we go with a nude/light plummy lip when we’re in a “must look confident and authoritative without checking makeup” situation.  We also wear this look when we’re going out on the town — it allows us to add a lot of emphasis to our eyes without being “overdone,” and hopefully the eye makeup will survive a night of dining, drinking, and talking.   (Specifically, we like to mix the L’Oreal Infallible LipColour, Nutmeg 800 with a MAC Pro Longwear Color (we think it’s Night Rose, but our tube is ancient), and then top everything with the L’Oreal Infallible Never Fail Lipgloss, Barely Nude 815.) But — that’s just our $.02 — and if we had found in our travels a red color that we liked and stayed put reliably we might change our tune.  Let’s take a poll — readers, what do you wear?  And in comments, please let us know specifics — brands and colors, as well as any tricks you use to get your lipstick to stay put.



  1. I do red, but not full-on. Instead I use Benefit’s Benetint with the Benetint limp balm on top. It’s a nice compromise for me.

  2. I like deep plum, but that’s mostly because it works with my skin tone, not a dislike of red because it’s outdated (I refuse to buy into the theory that lipstick colors are in or out – it’s all about what looks good on you).

    To get it to stay I color my whole lips with pencil, then put on the liptstick.

    • My go-to colour for ‘power’ days is a brownish-pink (Cocoa Berry by Bobbi Brown) but can go with practically any berry shade.

      That said, I found the perfect red for my Indian skin – Shiseido RD613. If I want to tone it down I just pat it all over with my finger and then line my lip. It has a bit of berry mixed with the red so works for my deep/dark olive skin.

      I have no solution to the rim-around-the-glass thing though – but that’s for ANY colour I wear!

  3. I’m a fan of the red lip, and a lot of the problems with a red lip can be solved by a few tricks. Lining your lips and filling them in with a red pencil before applying the lipstick will make the fading less problematic, as will using an appropriate formula. Matte and satin finish lipsticks from MAC hardly ever fade for me.

    Keeping the lipstick off of your teeth is easy too – after applying, pucker up, stick your finger between your lips then slide it out. It wipes the lipstick off the inside of your mouth where it would touch your teeth, but leaves the visible part intact. Do that part in private though, it wouldn’t help your professional image much to have other people seeing that. ;)

  4. When I do red or dark pink/magenta, I use a lip stain first because the fading is bound to happen. I use the one from covergirl – I love it under lipstick as a base or use it to add a little color under clear gloss. Once you put it on, it does not budge. I forgot which color I bought but you can check them out here

    • anon - chi :

      No kidding, the Cover Girl stuff will stay on all day and all night. The downside is that I find it is really drying and makes my lips feel weird after an hour or so. Anyone else have this problem (or hopefully a solution)?

      • left coast girl :

        These days I’m using Cover Girls stain and layering it with a gloss from Bath and Body. The stain is Fig colored (very nude for my medium brown African American) and the gloss is Violet Mint, which gives my lips a great menthol tingle, keeps them comfy and just a dash more color, but the combinations are endless. The stain lasts all day, and is still not that easy to remove at night. The gloss needs to be reapplied once a morning and once an afternoon, which is about all the lipstick re application I’m down for.

  5. I am incapable of finding a lipstick that looks good on me, so I am (still!) wearing Clinique black honey. It looks good, but wears off in like ten minutes. Sigh.

    • I am a Black Honey fan too! That shade is universal I think. I get a few hours’ wear out of if I’m not eating or drinking. Applying on dry lips seems to help (that is, not right on top of chapstick of lip balm). It’s maybe not a power lip, but it does add some life without too much flash.

      • I wear this every day. I think I have at least three tubes – home, purse, and work. Boring, maybe, but it looks good!

    • I love this shade, but the Almost Lipstick makes my lips incredibly dry, and they no longer make it in the gloss. Sigh.

    • Have you tried lipcote? You paint it over your own lipstick and it forms a sealed layer. Seems to work, but it is very drying so you’ll want to be using a balm overnight if you use it often.

      • Another fan of black honey, and I also recently picked up Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment (SPF 15) ( Gives you a lovely natural pink flush with lots of hydration.

        • For a more pinky/light red but still natural color, my current favorite is Medieval by Lipstick Queen. I switch off between that and Black Honey on 90% of days.

  6. For on the cheap, Almay TLC (truly lasting color) all day conditioning color is my winner for lasting color that doesn’t smudge all over everything.

    I tend to stick to the blushes just because red looks a bit garish on me. I haven’t the skin tone, bone structure, or personality to pull it off, I’m afraid. Maybe one day I’ll find a red I can feel confident and look good in.

  7. I usually do a plumy nude – kind of a my-lips-but-better tone – or I do a red stain like Benetint. Full-on red lipstick can look fantastic and authoritative, but like you said, it can be really high maintenance.

  8. Personally, I love red lipstick – but just not for work. For work I like a pinky/plum or nude color. For work I swear by the CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain. Great staying power and still looks good as it fades.
    As for red lipstick, to me it’s more of a night-out look (last time I wore it was with dark jeans, leopard print heels, burnt-orange colored tank, and khaki fedora). I swear by Revlon Colorstay Lipcolor in Red Velvet. Great shade of red and stays put like nobody’s business (even without pencil).

    • i’ll second covergirl’s outlast lip stain – absolutely no fear it will end up on a glass or my teeth

    • I love the CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain too! I have the blush one and the “nude” one and wear them all the time. I like how they fade slowly and not unevenly and you don’t have to worry about it being gummy or tacky or rubbing off on anything. Plus you can kind of revitalize it during the day by adding a gloss or even chapstick over it – it seems to bring out the color again, at least on me. I have some of the darker colors for night.

      I agree that dark/bright red is not really appropriate for day, however, as I’ve been unable to wear eye makeup for most of the last six months due to a long battle with an eye infection, I have found that wearing a brighter lipstick/stain whatever plus a blush really brightens up your face if you can’t do anything to your eyes.

      • Another fan of Outlast Lip Stain! I have worn only clear gloss for like 10 years and this is the first time I have really liked having a color on my lips – plus I can add gloss on top if I want!

        • Anonymous :

          Love Covergirl LipStain, and Maybelline Colorstay. I tend to put on a “me only better” shade in a pinky nude because I dont ever remember to reapply. I do my makeup once in the morning. Sometimes I will remember to touch up during the day, but usually dont remember to!

  9. My favorite lately has been pomegranate lip stain from Stila available at Sephora. It’s a nice berry color and stays in place. I just use plain burt’s bees lip balm for a little shine over top of it.

    Supposedly you can use it on your cheeks as well, but I’ve never tried that. I do swear by the lip stain, though.

    • Is it really a “stain?” I avoid all the long-lasting touted lipsticks because I’ve read that they stay put via little bits of acid etching into your lips/skin. Do tell!

      • I love the cherry crush lipstain from Stila. It is a glossier lip stain than I have used in the past. I used to love some from Geurlain, but they don’t appear to make them anymore.

      • Never heard the “acid” thing. I’ll just say that it lasts a good long time, but I certainly haven’t seen any change in my lips – color or texture – over time.

  10. I love red lipstick, but more often than not it requires a full arsenal of lip pencil, lip brush and mirror for precise application and that’s just too much effort during a busy day. At work, I prefer to be able to just quickly swipe on something sans mirror and that’s easiest to do with nude shades.

    My fav reds are Revlon Matte lipstick in Fabulous Fig and MAC’s Dubonnet. Fav nude is Vashanti’s Jordan.

    • naijamodel :

      I use Dubonnet too. It works very well on my complexion (like Kerry Washington). I only do the full application in the morning though. Red liner, paint on lipstick, blot, reapply. Pout and remove lipstick from teeth. Top with Loreal red lipgloss. By the middle of the day when I want to reapply I just swipe on the lipstick and then cover with gloss.

  11. I like red lips in theory, but I don’t think they work on me — I have (and love) my big eyes, but as a result, if I try to emphasize any other feature, it’s just a “one too many focal points, trying too hard” impression regardless of how much/little eyeshadow is involved.

  12. I never wear lipstick to the office. I can’t think of anyone who does at my office or, for that matter, who wears any visible, obvious makeup. Subtle makeup seems much more professional to me. I wear something sheer, like a non-sticky gloss. I like Burt’s Bees lip shimmer or L’Oreal Colour Juice.

    I like both red and plum lipstick for big nights out.

    • Oh, and for the big nights out, I swear by MAC lipstick. It’s by far the best I’ve found.

    • I would never, ever dare to leave the house without visible makeup, much less show up to work without it. In many cases, it is precisely makeup that takes somebody from being drab to being professional looking, at least this is the case with me. I have terrible skin that absolutely needs to be covered up with something to make my face into something presentable that isn’t going to get laughs or questions of ‘why do you look as if you’ve just stepped out of bed/the shower/the weekend garage sale.’ My skin problems are somewhat serious so I am not the type who can get away with a tinted moisterizer and some chapstick. No, I am a full face of foundation/matte powder sort of person, and then since I cover all the color in my face up, I need to put it back with the right amount of blush, lipstick, and eyeshadow.

      Maybe some people are blessed with such good skin and complexions that makeup really does nothing for them, but certainly for most I imagine, makeup tends to brighten the face and contribute to an overall more put together look. And then, for some of us who need to cover up very obvious imperfections that would be akin to showing up to work with disheveled hair if left untreated, makeup is an essential part of the work wardrobe that in no way relates to us being tarty/unprofessional/anything else negative. In my case, I’d probably be judged much more negatively without visible makeup than with.

      • Chill. I think you and I have drastically different definitions of what “visible” means.

        • Hit submit too soon. I meant to finish by saying that just because you’re wearing makeup to cover up your presumed imperfections (that honestly, others probably don’t find so imperfect) that doesn’t mean it’s unprofessional or unsubtle. There’s a big difference between matte powder and natural blush, and bright red lips and purple eyeliner.

          • I suppose it’s true that matte powder look/blush is not over the top in the same way green eyeshadow or garish red lipstick might be, but because I have to wear so much, my makeup is definitely not subtle and it’s definitely perceptible that I am wearing makeup when I go to work. So really, I was just trying to make a point to your comment that ‘visible’ (your word) makeup is more unprofessional than subtle makeup, just in the sense that visible, non-subtle makeup is sometimes there for a purpose, and in my case, it’s covering up skin irritations and problems that would probably get me laughed out of the office if I exposed.

          • It’s completely none of my business because I don’t know the people at your work, but I can’t think of any skin condition that would get someone laughed out of the office, especially if its something that can be covered up by makeup. Have you talked to a dermatologist or doctor about the problem? (You don’t have to actually answer that of course) You’re response just seems so severe it seems like a condition that is really impacting your life, and I think the majority of people would be kind and sensitive to your issue, since everyone has dealt with something like that before even if its to a lesser extent. I think everyone’s had the thought Gosh everyone is probably looking at my pimple/cold sore/scar/hair curling iron burn/dandruff/thinning hair/varicose veins, whatever it is.

          • @ CFM, I’m with Frump. I believe everybody looks better in makeup, no matter how good or bad your skin is. Obviously that doesn’t necessarily mean full-fledged clown makeup, but makeup of some sort is de rigueur in professional settings. I have never ever seen a woman who takes herself seriously in a professional setting (in the law but I mean every professional setting) without at least foundation or powder, and some sort of eye makeup (at least mascara), and probably blush. Never. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s true, whether that’s right or wrong for what it means to be a woman.

          • Oops, CFM, realized my comment sounds directed at you, but I really meant to direct it more generally at the idea that some people don’t need makeup. And it’s obviously just my opinion :) To each his own…

          • Oh I don’t leave the house without a little makeup, I think I look more polished with it, I totally agree with you there. I was just commenting on the fact that frump thought she would be laughed out of the office for skin irritations and trying to lend a little support.

          • @peony
            Wow. I can’t remember the last time I wore makeup, but nobody (before you, I suppose) has ever even hinted that I don’t take myself seriously in a professional setting, and I’ve had more than my fair share of professional success (as a lawyer). No makeup = what it means for this woman “to be a woman.”

          • @ ab68 – note I said that I have never seen someone who takes herself seriously in a professional setting and doesn’t wear makeup. These people may exist (like you), but I haven’t seen them. This could be a regional thing, I understand.

            Also, as for “what it means to be a woman” I didn’t mean a person isn’t a true woman without wearing makeup. I meant that for better or worse, I think that people view makeup as necessary to polish a woman’s professional look. That doesn’t mean I agree with the principle. In fact I wish it weren’t that way, but I think it is.

            I certainly didn’t mean to offend you. Rather, my intention was to say what I believe, and that is that I believe wearing makeup is necessary for one to project a professional image. This may be an incorrect opinion, but I can’t change the fact that I feel this way. And yes, my opinion is probably influenced by my belief that everyone looks better with makeup (maybe some need more than others, but still, everyone). But my point was to express what I think is a perception by the professional community (the same would probably go with blowdrying hair if you have a certain type of hair, or brushing hair, or wearing hose or not wearing hose, etc. etc.). This is a site where people come to give professional advice, ask questions, etc. where it seems like everyone is trying to be helpful, not hurtful. So I thought I would share my belief that it adds to a woman’s professional image. Again, that doesn’t mean I agree with it, but I absolutely think it’s true. I wish that weren’t the case because I know it is a double standard for men.

            Finally once again let me say I was not trying to offend the non makeup wearers out there. I am sorry if I did. I’m simply expressing what I believe to be true – and again, this could be partially based on a regional thing, though maybe not.

            Am I the only one out there who thinks makeup is de rigueur in a professional setting, even if minimal makeup?

          • peony, I think what happens is a lot of women feel more polished and put together with makeup. I know I do, it sounds like you do, and I think there are a lot of women that feel the same way, even if its just a powder and blush. Therefore, you feel like you see every woman you work with makeup, and it becomes the norm for certain environments.

            To be honest, I don’t think men notice makeup vs. non makeup, just the overall look. I think women are able to pick up on other women that wear makeup or don’t much more. My boyfriend of two years commented the other day “Oh you have eye makeup on.” And I wear eyeliner and mascara every single day. For the entire time I’ve dated him haha.

            For me I feel more confident with it, but if you have the confidence without the makeup, I think that lends itself to the same polished look.

          • I don’t think Kagan wears much, if any, makeup (at least from what I can tell from photos) – and she’s taken certainly seriously as a professional!

          • Peony, I am 100% with you. For some of us, wearing makeup is EXACTLY the same thing as ‘treating’ or styling certain kinds of hair in order for it not to look wild/untame/like we’ve just rolled around in a haystack (lucky for me I also have this kind of hair that needs treatment/heavy styling), people with sweat problems wearing perscription strength deoderant, or people with any sort of ‘condition’ in general the requires certain treatment regiments in order to put forward the most professional appearance. I am not offended by this- it just is what it is. Some people do not have bodily issues that would affect their general image in the work place, but I do, and that means that I need to take the steps to rectify those issues such that I am going to look appropriate for work.

            For me, it’s not an issue of one little spot or blemish here or there that nobody is going to notice- it’s an issue of a skin condition that has been under treatment for six years now, and will probably continue indefinitely, and it’s just my lot in life that I have skin problems that need to be covered up if I want to be taken seriously at work.

            Again, it’s not something that offends me or makes me bemoan the ‘institution’ or anything I like- I just know that people staring at my very obvious problems (were I to leave them uncovered) would not only be horribly distracting (and let’s face it, we all judge, and people judging my skin issues is no exception), but would make me horribly un-confident as well, and neither of those two things seem to be what is appropriate to project in a work environment. For most women as well, I agree that a little bit of makeup is very useful and helpful, but for some of us, we truly do need visible or even somewhat heavy makeup as (like I said) others might need perscription strength deoderant in order to (literally) put our best faces forward.

          • I see makeup as a five or ten minute thing you can do every day that makes you look better. Some people seem to get touchy about their decision not to wear makeup, and that is understandable. Some people I know like this say they don’t know how to wear it, or are afraid of it. But I would say that if you’re like this, try it out a few times. You will get over your fear soon. And if it’s not a fear thing for you but a feminism thing, well if you’re on corporette, can you really say that you don’t already care about your image? Some people I know who read corporette get obsessed about wearing the “in” item and always look 100% put together EXCEPT for no makeup. And they look like they’re 12 years old. If somebody said to you “hey, lose 20 pounds/gain 20 pounds/dye your hair blonde/dye your hair brunette and you will instantly be taken more seriously as a professional,” you’d rightfully be taken aback and probably offended. It’s not a quick fix and it’s not easy. But makeup is such a quick fix.

      • Thanks for providing your perspective. I am not a make-up wearer, try to get away with almost nothing at all, and somehow, you made me understand better the women who do wear full make-up.

        • Some people are blessed with great skin, M, and look just fine without a lot of MU. I’ve definitely met those people before and I am envious! But, sadly that isn’t me, and I need to take the necessary steps I need to in order to be presentable at work. Otherwise I am sure my skin problems would a) be distracting and b) let’s face it, visible serious skin imperfections (that CAN be covered with the right efforts, mind you) don’t really convey the right impression in my mind- if it’s something that can be covered up with effort, leaving it bare to me seems to send the message ‘I can’t be bothered to do something that would drastically increase my presentable professional image ,’ and when looking at it that way, it seems to me to be the same thing as combing hair, washing hands, or doing any other grooming rituals that drastically influence people’s put-together professional appearance.

      • I partly agree with Frump, some of us have to put on makeup, otherwise they don’t look very good. However, going out with bad skin is not unprofessional it only means you got unluky (like me).
        I have acne leftovers (and dark spots where acne was). I wear braces and I have crazy hair (think transitioning African hair), and I look like I am 16 years old.
        The only way for me to look mature is by wearing makeup; however I have become very professional at applying make up, so whenever I put on makeup, it just looks good without being overdone.
        On days where I wear less or no makeup, I feel a bit insecure but not at all unprofessional, I still do my job very well.
        If I want to look confident I go for red lipstick because it looks good on my chocolate skin.

        • I tend to fall into the non-makeup camp (more out of laziness than principle), but I’ve found Almay Smart Color line of makeup to be a good solution for lazy + would really do well to put SOMETHING on just to even out tone and feel put together. It’s all the trouble of putting lotion on your face, plus it’s SPF 15, and the liquid blush is the only blush I’ve ever found that looks totally natural on me (probably because I’m not very good at applying other blushes). It’s my mainstay for everyday minimal effort.

  13. As a fair-skinned redhead, I never wear red lipstick. I tend to choose shades in the brick family.

    • Really? I am also a fair-skinned redhead. I love red lipstick (not for work – for going out). I tend toward reds on the slightly orange/brick side instead of the deeper, purple-tinged reds. I think the contrast between lips and skin looks great, very dramatic. Think Joan from Mad Men.

      I don’t wear red clothing, though, because it doesn’t look great with my complexion.

  14. Neutrogena brand lip gloss. Not sticky, comes in a big range of colors (I prefer the lighter pinks), perfect size for pocket or clutch. Also like $8 at Target.

    Actually, I like Neutrogena’s whole makeup line. I’d love to have more expensive makeup but just can’t afford it very often, and Neutrogena concealer/powder/bronzer/gloss/mascara is my go-to.

    • I also love Neutrogena, especially for skincare products including foundation, powder, and blush.

    • I’ve been using the Neutrogena Clean Lash Tint mascara for the last few years but have had trouble finding it lately. I have been blessed with pretty good, thick, long enough lashes and I hate most mascaras which either look clumpy or just too thick, which doesn’t look professional on me. Any suggestions for another lightweight mascara?

  15. I like colors and lipsticks I can reapply without a mirror, since my lipstick seems to last about 15 minutes before I accidentally lick it off or wipe my mouth with a napkin. I really like the Cover Girl Lipslicks, though I think my next tube will be in a darker color (I bought a pink that is just a little too bubble-gum color for my tastes). Honestly, even the Blistex and Chapstick brands that have just a touch of color are fine for me.

    Although I do envy the women who are able to rock the deep, rich colors and make it last all day. Sigh.

  16. Legally Brunette :

    I know they say that there is a red for everyone, but I have never found a red lipstick that I like. I much, much prefer a pink/berry color or nude. Red lipstick just stands out too much for my liking.

    • It doesn’t look great on me either. I have rather thin lips and I think red just makes them look thinner, while more subtle colors tend to make them look a little plumper.

    • Legally Brunette, I thought so too for years (and always strayed to the berry/plum area) but found mine…so you never know….

  17. Also love black honey. The gloss was my first serious lipstick as a teen.

    For anyone who has trouble finding a shade they like (like me) & wants something low maintenance, I highly recommend Smashbox’s O Gloss.
    It’s fantastic. You don’t even need a mirror to put it on, it somehow adjusts to a natural looking, highly flattering to * you * shade, lasts a good amount of time, is not sticky, is not too shiny (no drool-y Mac Glass effect), and it feels good on & then fades naturally– no worries about it coming off badly. It makes you look the way you wish you did naturally — just a bit rosier, healthier, plumper, etc. It seriously fabulous.

    • I have Smashbox’s O Glow blush, and I love it. My friends with rosy complexions find it too overwhelming, but for those on the pasty side, highly recommended. It starts out clear and then adapts to your tone.

  18. Kat did a post on CoverGirl Lipslicks a while ago and I tried it out and now I am HOOKED! I especially love the Edgy and Demure shades, but they have an interesting red shade called Daring.

    Also, I like the Outlast lip stain pencil but I feel like there is very little product in them. It seems like they are halfway dried up right out of the packaging. Anyone else feel that way? I had that problem twice with them.

  19. I have very fair (ever so slightly olive) skin and long black hair, I think red lipstick is supposed to look awesome on my complexion, but I’ve never been able to pull it off. Granted, I haven’t tried that much and I rarely wear any makeup at all, but as I get older (early 30s now) I’d love to be able to pull it off.

    Any tips from ladies who wear red to work as a “power statement”? I do like the idea of it, but I think it might take some getting used to so I don’t feel self-conscious wearing it.

    • I’m similar (though not olive-based, just lighter skin, darker hair in the winter) and I feel the same way – like I’m TRYING to look like a makeup model in red lipstick. I LOVE putting it on, and then walk out of my front door and take it off out of fear. And my husband’s complaints. Any recommendations on how to pull it off?

    • I don’t think it’s a matter of pulling it off, per se, but just getting used to it. It’s very visible, and it’s a bit startling to look in the mirror and see yourself with red lips when you’re not used to it. Take a few pictures of yourself wearing it and you’ll probably realize that you pull it off quite well.

  20. I’ve found that the only red lipstick that works well with my skin tone (tan) is from Iman’s line that my mother bought from QVC/HSN (?). It’s really lovely. But I’ve only worn it when going out to clubs/bars, and not to anything that’s supposed to be professional.

  21. I just wear chapstick day-to-day, but when I want to kick it up–my color of choice is a bright (almost hot) pink.

  22. I’m amazed that Kat wears 3 layers of lip stuff when going out! What do you do when one drink rubs half of it off within the first hour??

  23. MAC has a lip primer that I love:

    It really makes a nice smooth surface for any lipstick and extends the wear without overdrying. One note, though: I’ve found it tends to lighten strong shades slightly. This can be good if you want to somewhat mute a strong color, but perhaps not if you want the full effect. It doesn’t change the shade drastically, but you do notice the difference with bright colors.

  24. I was once told by a makeup artist at Bobbi Brown that the most flattering lipstick shade is one that’s just a shade darker than your natural lip tone – so that’s what I wear, usually with a little gloss on the top/around the cupid’s bow. I usualky use a heavier tinted moistureiser, pressed power and concealer together with blusher and a bit of this awesome dior shimmer highlighter. I wear heavily-prescriptioned glasses which make eye-makeup a no-no but my current routine turns my drab, dead morning face into something passable.

  25. I wanted to wear red lipstick for my wedding and talked to a girl at Sephora to see if there was a way to keep it on without seriously chapping my lips (like most long-lasting lipsticks tend to do for me). She recommended a NARS lipstick, I forget the exact shade, and Make Up For Ever’s Eye Seal:

    I just put a few drops in the cap, applied it over my lipstick and let it dry for a few minutes. It stayed on pretty much all day, through the ceremony, pictures, and through pre-dinner toasts and appetizers. Right before dinner, it started to fade, not unevenly, but I decided to remove what was left so I wouldn’t be worrying about it the rest of the night. My lips were a little dry the next day, but nothing a little moisturizer couldn’t fix.

  26. Cover Girl Lipstain Question :

    I just went out and bought this one tonight:

    after reading all the comments. Is this the one that you ladies are buying? I put it on and it looked nice enough (like using a marker) but it was gone after dinner (and any that I put outside my lips to “fill them in” remained, quite a horrible sight I must say).

    • Yep, that’s what I use. It doesn’t stay all day, but pretty much the only time I find myself reapplying is after eating.
      Can’t say anything about applying it outside the lips as I’ve never done that.

    • It does that for me … I think it’s horrible. Clearly it doesn’t work for everyone.

    • I think that’s the exact shade that I have. Do you let it set before you put gloss or anything else (glass, food, hands) to your lips? It’s lasted me for hours – even when I forget to take my makeup off at night, I’ve woken up the next morning with the lipstain.

  27. I love Nars for glosses and lipsticks. I use Belle du Jour lipstick for a nude look, and Misbehave or Risky Business gloss for a reddish night out look. I use the velvet matte lip pencil in Belle du Jour under the lipstick or by itself, and also have Bettina and Dolce Vita.

    I have read several blogs that say the Nars Velvet Matte lip pencil in Dragon Girl is the perfect red for almost anyone. I have a small upper lip and my lips are uneven, so I don’t even try red lipstick.

  28. Well, for the moment it seems that make up trends are all about the heavy eyeliner, and when you have really done up eyes, you don’t want your lipstick competing with that. Also, we’ve gotten obsessed with bright white teeth, and red lipstick just seems to point out our teeth when they’re not the whitest.

  29. Delta Sierra :

    e.l.f. Luscious Liquid Lipstick, $1.49 each, buy them by the fistfull on Only thing that keeps my dry lips feeling at all comfortable, and I have try every lip glop known to humankind. Small range of useful colours, lasts as long on me as anything does (not very). Half an hour, maybe.

  30. I’m using the “Shiny Lip Plumper” from Yves Saint Laurent and it’s great! For more colour, I will put on “Rouge Personnel” from the same brand.

  31. any specific suggestions for lipsticks / stains / colored glossses for people w/ severely chapped lips?? I’m applying blistex several times a day if not every hour, I have perennially chapped lips, so I can’t imagine wearing any lipstick b/c in the past it’s always dried up my lips so much. Any tips?

    • Burt’s Bees lip shimmer is really refreshing if you have dry lips, kind of like a cool mint chapstick with some color. You can probably use it just like a chapstick without drying out your lips. Neutrogena MoistureShine Lip Sheers are also great and tend to be a little bit more subdued than the lip shimmer. Also good are the Cover Girl Lipslicks mentioned above.

      • Second the Burt’s Bees suggestion. I love the lip shimmers.

        • Oh, and I find Chapstick works better than Blistex.

          • Anonymous :

            I use the lansinoh (lanolin) creme I used on my nipples when I was breastfeeding. Works great on chapped heels too.

    • I’ve used the Blistex in the blue tin and it took me a while to realize that I’m actually allergic to it – it would make my lips peel and itchy – very yuck. Stay away from anything “medicated” or minty. Try healing your lips with some benign, like baseline. Also, no makeup in the world is going to help if you’re not hydrated enough – make sure you’re getting your water!

      • oops! i meant vaseline, lol.

      • Second Ru’s precaution. A lot of products, especially products that boast “plumping” capabilities (including StriVectin…ask me about the “Better than Botox” consumer fraud litigation another time) contain wintergreen oil as their active ingredient. This does, temporarily, “plump” your skin…by irritating them.

      • I’m with Ru, if your lips are peeling and you’re using balm constantly, you may be allergic to some ingredient. Either go cold turkey, or get a natural balm without sunscreen or minty/medicated ingredients (Alba Botanica makes a good one), and give your lips a few weeks of a break to see if they heal. My lips peel at even one application of a long wearing lipstick or lipstick/balm/gloss with sunscreen.

    • thanks for the suggestions, the burt’s bees one sounds like a good place to start.
      and to ru — I drink water all the time but take medication that dries me out… not to pick on you of course, but this is another example of where our assumptions about people can be wrong :) (thinking of the argument over skinny models from the other day)

      • i agree =). the water was definitely a reminder to myself first before anyone else (i type this as i’m glamourously picking skin off my lips).

    • I live in a very dry climate and am experiencing the full-blown dry lip experience that is Accutane, so I sympathize.

      Korres lip butter is a good moisturizing product without too much junk in it, and it comes in several different pigment shades that go on quite sheer. Laura Mercier HydraTint also has sheer color with a moisturizing, balm-like texture.

      While I like both of these products, I find that the shea butter and other moisturizing ingredients dissipate quicker than the pigment does. To avoid accumulating more pigment on my lips, I put a dab of Aquaphor on my lips rather than reapplying product.

      • Another vote for Korres! Sephora has little ones in the trial bin near checkout and I bought 2. My lips dry out ALL the time and peel every time I wear lipstick (usually by EOD or a day after). Bits of lipsticked lip skin coming off = not fun!
        Korres’ colored lip butter is the only thing that works for me. Burt’s bees used to (they have a colored lip balm) but the color I liked – coffee- is no longer available.

        • LegallyBlonde :

          Aquaphor. I use it on dry skin all over my body. Works miracles for me.

    • Kiehl’s. I think they now have colors, but I’ve been using their regular Lip Balm #1 for years in the winter and it just saves my lips. It’s on the pricier side, but worth it for when you need intense healing.

  32. I really like red lipstick for power days in the office – I don’t wear it on nights out bc hubs doesn’t like it. I have one tube of prescriptives “intriguing” that I am slowly using – it is a true red and looks good on both my mom (dark hair, slightly olive skin, blue undertone) and me (lighter brown hair, peachy/olive skin, green undertone). Works best with lipliner all over, 1 coat, blot, reapply. Stays put for a long time.

    Around here (boston) I find very few women wear ‘visible’ makeup to work.

  33. Does anyone know of a good lip scrub? I’ve heard they exist, but never come across one. Even with chapstick etc, I still have dry bits of skin on my lips.

    • Not sure if they still make it, but Body Shop made a really nice one a few years back.
      In a pinch, I would just get a nice firm flat toothbrush & use with some moisturizing lip stuff (I love Smith’s Rosebud Salve — use it for everything & it lasts forever).

    • Mix a teaspoon of sugar with a teaspoon of honey and scrub away!

    • I was given a really great one as a gift (much better than the ones I’ve bought for myself recently – e.g., philosophy) – Sue Happ brown sugar lip scrub, and get the accompanying lip gloss too (I only wear it to bed, don’t think it would be great for wearing out of the house – smells wonderful and really moisturizes).

    • I don’t use a scrub, but I never use chapstick or anything with petroleum or mineral oil in it because it dries my lips. I use Burt’s Bees or Whole Foods lip balm instead–they feel so tingly and healthy on my lips.

  34. Does anyone do a “power eye” instead of a “power lip”? Anything apart from lip balm and very neutral/MLBB shades just make me look like a clown.

    • I am not sure I would say my eye makeup is ‘power’ per se, but I definitely almost always wear bolder/more perceptible eye makeup rather than lip makeup. My lips, I usually do in a fairly natural beige-pink sort of gloss or a light rose shade if I need something a little darker.

      But my eyes I almost always wear two to three colors of shadow- a medium color on the lid, a darker color (or maybe two) in the crease, and then a light, highlighting color on the brow bone. My go-to palettes for work alternate between the following combinations: white-light pink-red/brown; shimmer ivory-copper-shimmer dark brown; and then a more matte/less metallic version of the second palette. I always finish off with a good amount of black mascara. Sometimes I will wear brown eyeliner as well.

      I think this combination suits my face well and is a good example of a ‘bold’ neutral look if you will. I think it’s the right amount of color for my face and brightens my eyes without looking too overdone, but it’s perceptible enough that you can tell I’m wearing makeup. Also, I often wear glasses and so heavier eye makeup comes out well behind them. Plus, I find my eye makeup softens throughout the day anyway, so applying heavier in the morning is usually necessarily to leave me with a bit of color by the end of the day.

    • I’m definitely a black eyeliner girl – usually black eyeliner on my upper lid and sometimes I’ll bump up the look with black mascara. If I’m feeling particularly in the mood to look nice, I use eyeshadow. I have a lot of eyeshadow but I always find myself putting on a shimmery champagne color (I have medium brown Indian skin, so it brightens up my eye).

  35. I have this one deep red lipstick I got for my sister’s wedding a few years back. It is Bobbie Brown. It is the only red lipstick I have ever owned and it is nearly worn to a nub. It goes with most everything.

  36. Honestly, red lips are too high maintenance for me. I can do a good basic eye in about 2 minutes (3 with mascara for power days), and I can trust my eye makeup to stay put. I have always struggled to keep lipstick on and my lips seem to be allergic to some ingredient in long wear lipsticks. I go with a tinted balm on office days and a peachy nude if I have presentations, and forget about it. I think too, that as the years drift on, a badly done red is very aging, and at 36 it’s time to put that risk behind me.

    More power to the ladies who can wear red and pull it off, but I feel more confident if I don’t have to fuss over it.

    • My lips are allergic to some ingredient in MOST lipsticks (I’ve tried different kinds, not just long-wear).

  37. I agree with Peony, above re: wearing make-up = more professional. (I can never tell if I’m posting this under the right place or not!). I think it is especially important when you are younger to at least wear the basics in order to look a little older and more professional. I do see professional women who don’t wear make-up on a regular basis and to me, they look unfinished. Again, this is just my opinion, but I view skipping make-up as as a similar to not styling your hair–it just looks unkempt and very casual to me.
    Admittedly, I’m a “make-up girl” and I like wearing it, but even if I didn’t, I think I would still at least wear powder, mascara and blush. To me, if you’re in a suit, with styled hair, your face should look polished and finished as well. (And I know, it’s a double-standard, men don’t have to wear make-up, etc, however, in my mind, it’s no different than the ties that men put on every day–it’s a societal norm that they are pretty much required to follow in order to look professional. And I’d definitely rather wear lipgloss than a tie!).

    • BEA again – see my comment above. Couldn’t agree more. Am very surprised some people really into fashion don’t wear makeup.

    • This reminds me of a Chanel quote I saw back in college, many moons ago – something along the lines that it is vain to leave the house without wearing make-up. Flip-side view.

      Personally, I like a more natural look. Most professional women that I have come across do not appear to wear much, if any, make-up, but who knows. I think I have that same “natural” look and I wear tinted sunscreen and mascara/lip gloss every day. I probably wouldn’t pay much attention to the fact that a woman was wearing more make-up or think less of her professionalism for it, so long as she didn’t apply it in a way that looked tacky or out of place. Also, I agree with whomever it was above who said that it is probably somewhat regional, as with the hose/no hose debate.

      • Anonymous :

        jcb – I think you’ve got it exactly right that the makeup/no makeup thing may be regional. Here in the South, no makeup = I don’t care. And yes, fair or not, the judgment call is made that if you don’t care about your appearance, you don’t care or make the effort in other aspects of your life. Plus, it’s all in how you choose/apply it. I was once told – by a man – that it was nice how I wore just a touch of makeup. At the time: concealer, foundation, powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, brow pencil and lipstick! I discovered long ago that I do best finding someone at a Chanel or Bobbi Brown counter whose look I like, and let them pick my makeup, simply retaining veto power myself over anything I don’t like or think doesn’t look like me. By the way, Chanel lipsticks really stay on.

  38. when I want to look and feel fabulous, I wear a full-on cream red lipstick from MAC (and drink from straws that day).

  39. How do you people ‘try’ lipsticks? I end up ‘trying’ testers on the back of my hand, buying the lipstick and having it turn out to look AWFUL on my lips! I’d like a red lipstick, but hate to buy a bunch of expensive ones before I find one (maybe) that will work with my complexion and darkish lips.
    Any ideas?

    • Sephora and CVS will let you returned used merchandise you did not like, lipstick included. Sephora also has great testers: you can clean off a layer with a tissue and then use an applicator to put it on.

    • Some department stores use disposable lip brushes, so you can actually see it on before you buy. The problem is that with a dark color that’s hard to fully remove, like red, you really can’t get a feel for more than one shade at a time. As for Sephora, didn’t someone post on here recently that Sephora’s testers are pretty unsanitary? Not that it’s a surprise, but I was sad to see that confirmed.

  40. I will never look at red lipstick the same way since hearing Geralyn Lucas speak at a Breast Cancer Alliance Luncheon. She is the author of “Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy.” Evelyn Lauder said “This is the first time that wearing lipstick is a metaphor for courage and hope.” Loved it.

  41. girl in the stix :

    Try Clinique’s Juicy Apple lip gloss–a sheer sunny red that looks good with everything.

  42. Senior lawyerette :

    I only wanted to post my rave review of CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lipcolor – it comes in 2 tubes, one color, the second moisturizing gloss. It really does last and last, without leaving residue on glassware, etc. It even lasts from morning through the night even after having washed my face. I’ve gone through 5-6 colors, none of which do it for me. I’ve returned about 3 at CVS, but, frankly, am embarrassed to keep buying and returning.

    But I’m also inspired to comment on all of the postings. You are all such a great group of women with obviously diverse views and experiences, and willing to share.

    I’ve run the gamut from 1950s makeup as a teen, through 1960s Cleopatra a la Elizabeth Taylor, to 1960s-70s hippie no makeup, and now, suddenly have restarted wearing makeup: 30+ spf sunblock (had a couple of skin cancers), some kind of minimal foundation, eyeliner NOT Cleopatra-like, and blush and lipstick. I was inspired to do this after seeing a recent photo of myself, in which I looked as if I’d died and they forgot to do dispose of me. I do look more alive now with makeup.

  43. Jane Iredale’s Terra Cotta lip liner, followed by her Iced Mocha lip gloss creates the perfect lip color and gloss for work or play. The gloss is a pretty neutral nude/pink, and lasts okay, although it doesn’t work so great without at least a little eye makeup, for me. BTW, my husband prefers me with nude/pink lips! I used to wear red lipstick not realizing how harsh it looks most of the time against fair skin tone. A little color goes a long way, and I don’t need the deepest red to “go red,” but instead prefer a sheer red lip gloss.

  44. I use a MAC lip pencil in mahogany. I use only lip pencils from a department store brand. My skin is too sensitive for most lipsticks. To minimize the inevitable fading, I apply the color, blot it with a piece of facial tissue, and then apply the color again. The lip color lasts at least several hours (in which I drink many cups of tea.) I picked up the trick from a TV anchor woman, although she recommended using a pencil for the first applicaiton and a lipstick for the second application.

  45. I don’t see it mentioned here, but red hair is making a comeback, and I switched to a great red shade recently. It is definitely ‘power hair’, and wearing the deep red lipstick with red or copper hair is overkill. You end up looking like an anime character. I focus a little more on the eyes by doing a pale smokey eye and go for corals or nudes on the lip.

  46. TinyDancer118 :

    My favorite red is Sephora’s store-brand Always Red lip stain. It stays put well and is the absolute PERFECT shade of red.