There are a few things that every makeup-lovin’ lady needs to have in her arsenal. It’s sort of like the difference between romantic prospects and friends: bold lipsticks and punchy eyeshadows come and go, but your Holy Grail products are forever. The perfect foundation that matches your complexion exactly and makes it look flawless; the perfect concealer that magically causes every blemish or imperfection you might have to vanish on the spot; the perfect neutral shadow that makes your eyes look bigger and brighter… and of course, the perfect go-to lip color.
Generally referred to as “my lips but better” (or MLBB), the ideal go-to lip color does just that — it suits your skin tone and flatters your face better than a brighter, trendier shade, and it imparts color and impact in a way that a clear lip balm just doesn’t. You could also refer to this type of lip color as “nude,” but it definitely isn’t the generic pale, corpse-y beige that comes to mind. It’s your nude, and it’s different for everyone. So let’s get to finding yours!
As you can see here, Elizabeth Olsen, Nichole Galicia, and Charlize Theron all have very different skin tones, and they’re all sporting their “perfect” lipsticks. Elizabeth has fair, milky skin and a more pigmented natural lip color, so she goes for a darker, rosy mauve shade. Nichole has a darker complexion (and, might I add, it is absolutely flawless), so her “MLBB” shade is a cool, slightly pink-leaning caramel. Charlize is fair, but she has a slightly warmer, more golden skin tone than Elizabeth, so her color of choice has a little bit more of a pink and peach tone to it.
An awesome rule of thumb for selecting a good shade for you is by looking at the color of the inside of your lip. Like, inside your mouth. It’s sort of weird, and I don’t know if you really want to wander around Sephora comparing lipstick colors to the inside of your mouth, but if you can take a color-accurate photo and use that as a guide, you’ll have no problem finding your perfect shade. The formula is important, also — a MLBB color generally has a satiny or moisturizing finish rather than matte. You want it to be comfortable. Below, my favorite formulas, and some natural colors to check out …
- NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Isola Bella (peach beige), Rikugien (rose pink), and Het Loo (cognac).
- Revlon Color Stay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Precious, Honey, and Adore.
- CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lip Color in Sultry, Delish, Fervor, Darling, Smitten, Everlasting, Rush, Kiss, Smolder, and Enchant.
- Bite High Pigment Matte Pencil in Honey Berry (toasted almond), Rhubarb (plum rose), and Madeira (nude pink).
- ILIA Beauty Lipstick Crayons in Come Undone (a quiet nude) and Dress You Up (a true mauve).
[Image of woman applying lip balm via Shutterstock]