How to create a lipstick wardrobe?

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty 26 Comments

If there is one thing I can’t leave the house without, it’s lippy.

Oh, ok, you got me … my preference is also that I’m fully clothed and not in danger of embarrassing my son on the school run.

But apart from clothes, there has to be something on my lips.

I seriously do not feel complete without it.

My everyday handbag is generally loaded with lip colour options.

And, yes, I have been known to turn around and drive home if I’ve left said handbag devoid of something to touch up my lips later.

Not only is it my need to have something on my lips at all time, it’s a feeling that comes when you add a pop of colour – even a neutral colour.

Not surprisingly, this is one of the declarations in the Styling You manifesto and my book, Unlock Your Style.

Add a pop of Lippy (your Nan was right)

Yes, my Nan always had lippy on. A bit of powder and lippy saw her through her days. To me, there was a whole lot of glamour in this ritual.

How to create a lipstick wardrobe

1. Have a collection of basic lip colours and show ponies. It’s no secret that I like to have a clothes wardrobe of basics and show-pony pieces and I can tell you I apply the same method when building my lipstick wardrobe.Granted, lipsticks take up far less space than clothes but their ability to change or enhance an entire outfit can not be underestimated.

2. Think of lip colours as another way to accessorise your outfit. Don’t always pop on a neutral. Think about how you can lift your whole outfit with a colour.

3. Choosing lip colours to suit you is a very personal thing – skin tone, lip colour, eye colour and hair colour come into play. As does your personality. It won’t surprise you to know that I don’t set any rules around lip colour shades that suit me. I give them all a go but it’s the ones that I repeatedly come back to, that I know work for me.

As a rough guide, if your skin tone is on the fair side, then cooler tones of lip colour will work best for you. Warmer reds and orange tones in lip colours will work better on darker skin. I say rough as I don’t stick to this. Some warm shades do work on my lips. Some don’t. Also, if I go too cool or blue-toned, it can wash me out.

4. The best way to create your own lipstick wardrobe is to play. If you can try before you buy, then do try on your lips, not on your palm or inside wrist. The skin there is not the same colour as your lips so it will look completely different.

Makeup counters will either apply on your lips with a brush or they’ll shave or clean the surface of the lipstick tester after you’ve trialled it. You won’t necessarily have that advantage when buying a budget lip colour. I always buy and try budget lip colours in the knowledge that it’s not going to cost me a tonne of money if it’s a colour that doesn’t work out.

5. Avoid the lipstick wardrobe rut. Like with clothes, it’s also super easy to get stuck in a lipstick wardrobe rut. I know I’m guilty of pulling out the same colour over and over again (see below) but when I do pop on a colour I don’t normally wear – it’s an instant mood lifter.

6. Think about having a mixture of lipsticks, glosses and hybrid lip stains in your kit. I find that mixing it up also helps create different looks. I also like a longer-lasting colour if I’m going to an event – I don’t want to be touching up my lips after each drink.

My lipstick wardrobe

For the purposes of this post, I’ve broken down my lipstick wardrobe into five lip colours. I have significantly more than five lip colours but these represent the colours I most reach for – for the everyday and for occasions.

Roughly, cooler tones (those on the bluer end of the spectrum) work better for fairer skin, and warmer tones (those closer to red and orange) work best for darker tones

Your lipstick wardrobe might consist of two or three different shades to start with – and that’s every ok. Build on it as your confidence grows.

The neutral

BareMinerals Marvellous Moxie in Spark Plug is my everyday lip warrior. I have one in my handbag at all times and there is usually one lurking around my makeup kit as well. Mr SY knows that if he wants to buy me a makeup treat, he cannot go wrong in re-stocking this for me. All is good in my world, if I know there is an un-opened one ready to go at any time. I love that it’s a perfect nude colour for MY lips. I love that it has a zingy, super-hydrating formula that gives your lips a bit of a plump up and I love that it’s a gloss I don’t need to be concerned about applying only in front of a mirror.

Lipstick wardrobe Styling You bareMinerals Marvelous MOXIE in Sparkplug

The red

If I had to only have two lip colours in my lipstick wardrobe it would be a nude/neutral and a red. Red lips are my go-to accessories when wearing black out to an event or occasion. Finding the right red for your lips is probably the toughest of lipstick wardrobe tasks but when you do, you’ll praise all the makeup gods. Once I nailed the right blue-red colour for my lips, I’ve become quite good at spotting a red that I know will work for me. The latest find is a budget-beauty find, so even better. I’ve mentioned Rimmel London The Only 1 Lipstick in Best of the Best here before but I’m still applying it on high rotation.

Lipstick Wardrobe | Styling You | Rimmel London The Only 1 Lipstick in Best of the Best

The dark pink

When I’m not in a red mood, I find that a dark pink does the trick for an outfit lift. I’ll wear it with neutrals or navy and find it has the same outfit impact as a red. This Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Moisturising Lipstick in Raspberry is a matte shade so you get a slight different texture as well. I love that this colour hugs the lips beautifully (I also have the Bold Red which I love), doesn’t try them out and gives a colour that very much lasts.

Lipstick Wardrobe | Styling You | Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Moisturising Lipstick in Raspberry

The coral

A coral shade on me is my version of an orange lipstick – it’s also very close to a neutral but one that really does give more of a pop than my photo gives justice too. I’ve raved here before about Curtis Collection by Victoria lip colours and this Curtis Collection Glam Lipstick in Socialite is just one of the many colours I have from this collection. The formula is super hydrating, the colour pigment is fabulous and it gives good staying power.

Lipstick Wardrobe | Styling You | Curtis Collection by Victoria Glam Lipstick in Socialite

The pale pink

Years ago makeup Nigel Stanislaus told me in an interview that pink lips make women look younger. Let’s just say I took his tip on board and I’ve been rocking the pink lip like nobody’s business. This Maybelline New York SuperStay 14HR Lipstick in Perpetual Peony is the lipstick Nigel recommended and it has been in my kit and on my lips since that day. I am perpetually concerned that Maybelline will discontinue it so I buy it whenever I see it. I love that it’s got a hint of mauve in the pink and I love wearing this colour with a defined and smokey eye.

Lipstick wardrobe | Styling You | Maybelline New York SuperStay 14HR lipstick in Perpetual Peony

That’s it beauties. Now it’s over to you.

Tell me all about your lipstick wardrobe? Do you play favourites? Do you mix it up a little or a lot? What lipstick would you cry real tears over if it were ever discontinued?

PS. The gorgeous earrings you see are by Jan Logan. I got to borrow these babies for the night for the opening of Jan Logan’s Brisbane boutique. They certainly make a lippy pop. 

Comments 26

  1. wow, this is almost the same as my lip robe, except I’m always scared of corals because I’m so cool toned. I’m currently wearing Nude: Maybelline Tantalising Taupe Light Pink: Maybelline Born with It Hot Pink: Rimmel by Kate #5 Red: Rimmel by Kate #10. I need some help to choose a coral/peach! I’m blonde, blue eyed, fair, and cool toned.

  2. I love all the colours on you. I’m a brunette and prefer the darker shades for me. Do you use a lip pencil? Do you get any lipstick ‘bleeding’ around the lips with the darker colours?

  3. I’ve worn red lipstick or red lip gloss every day for the past 7 years!
    I do actually own other colours and during the day at work these become the ones I use for touch ups – sounds strange using completely different lip colours on top of each other but it actually works and it breaks up the red-red-red lips I usually wear 🙂

  4. I actually didn’t wear lipstick until about two years ago when my sister purchased one for me and was like ‘COME ON’. I always thought that a bright lip looked so good on her, but I wasn’t confident to rock a bold lip. Now I own one great lip colour that my sister did in fact gift to me, from Mac when the colour consultant helped us out. But I hate any other colour I attempt. I think I need to attempt more colours.

    1. Your sister was able to inch you out of your comfort zone … why not get her on board to help find another colour. Doesn’t have to be dramatic but a makeup counter consultant can definitely help.

  5. Thanks for the timely inspiration! I used to have a whole hoard of lippes and glosses I carried around before making the cull several years ago to just 2 (one red, one pink). However I find sometimes I want something less “bright” and I really don’t think my current pink is for me as an everyday. I guess it’s the happy balance between having too many and not quite enough! Thanks for inspiring me to go checkout my local chemist this weekend 🙂

  6. Clinique had a red that was absolutely perfect, but then the blighters went and discontinued it…and I’ve yet to find a replacement that’s AS perfect. Right colour, right degree of gloss, and stayed on for ages. Still trying different ones…

  7. Beautiful colours! I rarely wear lippy. If I do it is generally a neutral but I do love the pale pink look and bright red for really are occasions.

  8. i too was trained up well nikki! … these are all pretty colours on you!
    I feel better with lippy on too!
    I choose the colour to suit my outfit and mood ofcourse!
    lately I’ve been wearing a coral colour! I call it my friendly colour!
    feeling a bit lack lustre? pop the lippy on! … game changer!
    I do look for the non toxic alternatives these days though!
    love m:)X

  9. I too have a number of lip colours but the ones that I carry around every day are: Revlon Lacquer Balm in Tease (red/orange); Clinique lipstick in Runaway Coral (bright pink); as well as some tinted Lanolips in Rose.
    If I’m making more of a statement then my favourite is the Nars lip pencil in Red Square.

  10. I too am yet to find a red lippy that works for me. But I have many pinks, corals and nudes. My gorgeous stepmum always brings me back a selection of lippy when she comes back from a visit to the US – the good brands are so inexpensive over there. My current faves, for a real pop of colour are Revlons Cherries in the Snow and Wine with Everything xx

    1. I have worn Revlon Wine with everything for 20+ years!!! My manager said I chose my car colour based on my lipstick!
      I also discovered in recent years…more low key … Antigone 60 by Rouge Coco Shine by Chanel.
      I went wild at CVS, Macy’s and Sephora in LA and San Francisco last year -eye watering cheap compared to here.

  11. I’ve never had much luck with a neutral lippie, but I’m going to track the Bare Minerals one down and hope it works as well on me as it does on you!

  12. I am the same we must of had the same sort of grandmothers,mine wore lippy even to the letter box,she was a very classy chic woman who I adored and I think I take after her!
    I prefer pink lipstick over red ,I still haven’t found my perfect red….yet! I wear Maybeline no 160 everyday which is a nude/pink colour.Bright pink I love Lancômes L’absolu rogue,coral I love mango diamonds by Maybeline and I also love Perpeual peony for a pale pink lip.I even go to bed with paw paw ointment on I hate nothing on my lips.I must admit I have a makeup bag full of spare new
    Lipsticks for when I run out.Thank you for sharing Nikki Xx

  13. I love my glosses but when I want to pop I go for a bright orange/coral. I swear by Isssada Pirate crayon and I think it looks amazing on everyone. I’m going to hunt down that pink lippy today! Who doesn’t want to look younger 🙂

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