What-To-Buy Wednesday: Lips!

We've reached our final installment of What-To-Buy Wednesday! I hope you've found this series helpful, whether you're a beginner or an expert.

Our last topic will be lip color. As with eyeshadows, the sky is pretty much the limit these days, considering the sudden popularity of non-conventional lipcolors. If we're talking about building your lip collection, though, I have a few basic recommendations to start with:
  • A nude lipstick
  • A statement lipstick
  • Lip liners to go with your lipsticks
  • A lip brush
A couple quick notes about shopping for lip color, first of all:

- I highly recommend against using testers for products that are wands-in-a-tube. They are difficult to sanitize, and whatever that wand has picked up from other people has been marinating in that tube of product. If you MUST know what it looks like on your face, I would dab some on my finger and hold it up next to my mouth. 

- If I'm trying on lipsticks (like, the standard ol' twist-up kind), here's what I do: I spray the lipstick bullet with rubbing alcohol, and then I wipe off the top layer with a tissue before applying it to my mouth. And then I repeat the process in case whoever tries it on after me is not so thorough. 


I'm recommending lipsticks for your starter kit, but the texture/finishes are up to you. Things that are shimmery and glittery will be a little less versatile, while matte/satin/creme finishes are acceptable pretty much anywhere (at work, out at night, etc.) Some lipsticks are sheerer, while others are more opaque.

Mattes in general tend to be longer-lasting. The more gloss and shine, the more slippery the product, and you will have to reapply more often. On the other hand, mattes can sometimes dry out your lips, and they're a little less forgiving when it comes to lip texture. (So if your lips are chapped and dry, mattes aren't going to look so good.) For example, matte liquid lipsticks are a major trend at the moment, and some of them are so long-lasting that you can't even scrub them off with a tissue (tip: use oil), but they can be drying for some people and emphasize fine lines.

If you don't want to go the lipstick route at all, you could go for glosses, but my shade recommendations are the same:

* A good guideline for a nude lip color is "your lips but better." It should basically be natural-looking, but with a bit more polish. There are many different types of nudes, of course, but to start out with, I recommend a your-lips-but-better shade. 
ColourPop's Chi
I don't have a specific shade recommendation for you, because obviously everyone's "nude" will vary, but my own personal favorite is Urban Decay's Liar, which I own in their regular creme finish, their sheer finish, and their lip gloss.

* In addition to a nude color, I recommend a statement color, and for many people, that color tends to be RED. I mean, seriously, there is no denying the power of a good red lipstick.

Urban Decay/Gwen Stefani lipstick in 714
There are many variations of red lipstick, and different reds suit different occasions. I might use a darker berry (or, conversely, a gold-ish red) for the holidays and a more fiery orange-red for the summertime. I might wear a more pink-based red if I'm feeling playful or a blood-red if I'm feeling dramatic. A slightly glossier red will suit for a special night out, where something more matte is better for everyday wear.

If you had to pick just ONE to start out with, I would recommend going with a brown-based red. Brown-based reds suit any skin tone, and are toned-down enough to be work appropriate. My favorite red lipstick ever is MAC's Viva Glam 1, and is a brown-based red. (Moreover, 100% of the proceeds go to the MAC AIDS Fund.)

If you're feeling more adventurous, you can opt for a non-conventional statement color as well, which have become more popular especially recently. You might not necessarily be able to wear them to work, but for special occasions or nights out, they can really pack a punch! 

ColourPop Petit Four
ColourPop Kae
Urban Decay Speedball
ColourPop Zipper
Kat Von D Halo
ColourPop Jellies
Kat Von D Poe
Stuff I have used that I like:
- MAC lipsticks - Remember, you get a free lipstick as a part of their Back-2-MAC program!
- Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks - sheer, matte, or regular
- Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipsticks and Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks
- ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip and Ultra Satin Lip liquid lipsticks
- Wet 'n' Wild Megalast Lip Color


Lipliners essentially form a barrier around the edge of your lips, keeping the lipcolor from feathering or bleeding. Also, if you fill in your lips with the lipliner, it helps your lipstick last longer. I don't always wear a lipliner all the time, but when I want my lipstick to be especially budgeproof or when I want the outline of my lips to be precise and crisp, then I will reach for my lipliner. It's not necessary all the time, but it's an important thing to have in your arsenal.

There are a couple different ways to handle lipliner - some people buy specific shades of liner to coordinate with specific lipsticks, and some people buy one universal color that they can wear with any lipstick. If you can only buy one lipliner, I would recommend buying a shade that matches your natural lipcolor, but in truth, I would say to coordinate your lipliners with your major shade families. This means, you don't need to buy a different red liner for every red lipstick, but maybe just one universal red to go with the majority of your red lipsticks, and one nude liner to go with the majority of your nude lipsticks.

Lipliners can be fun to play with, because they can affect how the lipstick turns out, especially if they don't match. You can use lipliner to tone down the brightness of a lipstick, or you can use it to amplify the lipstick and make it apply truer. 

Stuff I have used that I like:
Pretty much my favorite lipliners are Urban Decay's and MAC's.


My one and only tool recommendation is to get a lip brush, preferably a retractable one. Lip color can be applied well enough from the tube or the wand, but when you need better precision, or when you need to blend, a lip brush is necessary. A retractable brush (or at least, one with a cap) is a good idea for when you need to bring your brush with you, but you don't want to get lipstick all over everything else. 

Additional things I recommend, if you've got the room for it:
- Lip scrub, to keep your lips soft and smooth
- Lip primer, to help your lip color stay - here's my favorite one, from MAC, and here's one from ColourPop
- Lip color remover, for those long-lasting liquid lipsticks.You could buy a specially-made product for this, or you could use any sort of cleansing oil. I've even used olive oil, really. Something oily.

So that's it! This brings my month-long series to a close. Thank you so much for following along, and I hope I was able to help you with your makeup shopping in some way.

As always, I am here to help, and if you have any questions or if there's anything you'd like to request regarding my blog, please drop me a line either here or on social media!


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