I’m one of those people who every six months or so decides I am going to be “a lipstick person.” Naturally, the twice-used abandoned lipsticks in my makeup drawer will not suffice, so I go out and buy more lipsticks, confident a shiny new lipstick in a — let’s be honest — similar shade to what I already owned, will inspire me to swipe on some color daily.
This lasts all of three days.
Then I repeat it again in six months time. They say doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I say it’s capitalism.
7 Bold Lipsticks & Lip Stains To Try This Spring
But back to lipstick. I do have a few colors (a bright red and hot pink) that I’ve held on to way past their expiration dates that I want to find dupes for. Plus, after a year of wearing a mask in public — when it’s deemed safe to show your mouth & nose again — I want to wear lipstick. Bright lipstick. Not because I’ve hit my six-month “lipstick itch,” but because I haven’t had a reason to wear it or the ability to without masking it — literally — with a face covering.
With that, I decided to test out 7 lipsticks and lip stains; some new and some unearthed during my quarterly bathroom reorg.
Before you dive in, make sure your lips are prepped. You can use a lip scrub to get them nice and smooth followed up with a lip balm; my go-to is this Squalane + Rose Vegan Lip Balm from Biossance. Nothing is worse than taking the time to apply lipstick only to discover half of it is stuck to dry, cracked lips.
Lipliner can be a pain, but feathered, runny lipstick around your mouth is a travesty. I don’t believe you need a lipliner to match every shade of lipstick you own — mostly because I’m lazy. I would keep a clear/universal, nude and red lipliner in your makeup kit. Tip: Start your lip liner in the middle of your top lip and work your way to the corners. Same for the bottom lip.
1| “Secret Salma” aka My “Neutral” Pick
Neutral lipstick is kind of a misnomer; it really depends on the wearer. My go-to neutral lip is Charlotte Tilbury lipliner “Pillow Talk” from their Lip Cheat Collection. (Sephora | Nordstrom | Bloomingdale’s) and the color “Secret Salma” (Sephora | Nordstrom | Bloomingdale’s) from their Hot Lips Matte Collection. “Secret Salma” is a deep rose plum.) If you find a good neutral, hang on to it. It can be deceptively difficult to find a natural-looking lipstick. A good rule of thumb is to base it off your natural lip color. Are your lips browner? Pinkish? (I’ve also heard your nipples are a good indicator of what color will look natural on your lips – so enjoy thinking about that every time you come into contact with another human being.) Also, check out this Mini Pillow Talk Lipstick and Liner set I found for the best of both worlds.
2| “Pavlova” from Bite Beauty’s Power Move Creamy Matte Lip Crayon Collection
“Pavlova” from Bite Beauty’s Power Move Creamy Matte Lip Crayon Collection is a dark berry. This is an award-winning Eco-Beauty color for those who like their lippy’s with ingredients they can pronounce. I found the crayon really easy to work with application-wise, and it smells SO GOOD! I probably applied more than I needed to because I couldn’t get over the smell. It’s very hydrating too, which is hit or miss with a matte lipstick. I’ve been a fan of Bite Beauty for a few years now — both their quality and commitment to creating clean makeup products. (For another clean lip prep item, try this Agave + Daytime Vegan Lip Balm from Bite Beauty.)
(I tried 4 different colors from Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick collection. I found the Sephora lip stain lipsticks to be a very smooth application and not too goopy. They are matte and therefore drying, so I recommend you prep your lips beforehand!)
3 | Sephora “Cherry Moon” Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick #94
This “Cherry Moon” Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick #94 is a classic red with a bit of an orange undertone. I absolutely love the shade. Note: I never put on a red without using a red lipliner first. I find reds trickier to work with if I don’t use lip balm and lipliner first. It’s not a color you can apply whilst driving (not that I ever do that of course). I just use a drugstore red lipliner and call it a day. Kind of feel a little Miranda Sings with it on though. Or maybe it’s just my face. This red is very similar to my favorite discontinued red, and I’m glad to have found an inexpensive dupe!
4| Sephora “Fearless Fuchsia” Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick #88
I wish I was fearless enough for this “Fearless Fuchsia” Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick #88. It’s definitely the brightest purple I have ever worn. I didn’t hate it, but I can’t say I love it. I think the deeper plum tone of the “Love Liberty” (scroll further down for a review of that) is about as wild as I can go.
5| Sephora “Flaming Flamingo” Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick #92
I’m not someone who normally wears pinks. But, I happened to impulse-buy a gorgeous drugstore pink lip stain a few, erm, decade ago, that I adore and have been trying to color-match ever since.
This “Flaming Flamingo” Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick #92 from Sephora is…pink. Like, “whoa did I put a highlighter on my mouth” pink. It did grow on me after a spell. I don’t think it’s an everyday color for me, but I could see using it for a party (whenever those happen again).
6| “Love Liberty” from Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick Collection
I purchased this “Love Liberty” from Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick Collection (Sephora | Nordstrom | Bloomingdale’s) before a trip to Europe in 2019. We went to Paris, and I thought the name “Love Liberty” and the connection with “France giving the Statue of Liberty to America” was a sign that I must own this lipstick. Oh the lengths I will go to justify a purchase. This is definitely a pricier color in my collection, but it is a great, sultry, deep plum for a date night with your ma moitié.
7| Sephora “Indian Pink” Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick #91
I was most excited to try this “Indian Pink” Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick #91 from Sephora, and it did not disappoint. It is the perfect combo of pink/purple, and I can see myself rocking this color plenty of times during the spring & summer (visions of Cape Cod trips dance in my head). It’s also the most reminiscent of that coveted drugstore pink I purchased years ago.
Overall there wasn’t a shade that I disliked, but my clear favorite was Sephora’s Indian Pink #91. I recommend if you’re unsure about what color looks good on you, to find some $15 and under colors to experiment with like I did with the Sephora Collection. It’ll make you more comfortable committing to a shade from a pricier brand. Just don’t forget to prep and line first! A clean canvas is just as important as the color you use on it. So go on, get a little “shady.”