Tiny Treasure: The Perfect Shade of Lipstick

May 22, 2013

applying lipstick

By Koseli. Image here.

For the past several years(!), I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect lipstick. Not a gloss, a stain, a fruity chapstick, an all-in-one blush cheek and lip balm. (Though I love and have all of those.) I wanted the original. A simple tube of lipstick that glides-on smooth, smelled beautiful, and was finally, finally the perfect shade for my complexion. But if you’ve been on the official Lipstick Hunt too, you know how hard it is to find something that fits all of your criteria.

A couple of weeks ago on a solo adventure in Manhattan, I found myself seated at a Sephora counter at the Columbus Circle mall, anxiously eyeing the shopgirl as she picked out various pink and berry lipstick shades from around the store. I’d already tried ten or fifteen myself with no happy results (too orange! too runny! this tastes like watermelon sour candy!). But on only her second try, this make-up saint planted the smoothest, prettiest lipstick on my lips and I knew I had finally found the perfect shade.

I don’t consider myself a super girly-girl but I do love make-up. But I had never ventured into “real lipstick” territory until now. It almost felt too mature for me. Has anyone else felt that way? Also, do you wear lipstick ? If so, what is your absolute favorite color and brand? I’m also curious if you wear it everyday!

P.S. — Our Tiny Treasures series features small, inexpensive things that give a big boost to quality of life. Find all the Tiny Treasures here.

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Things your mother never told you » Refurbished lipstick
May 24, 2013 at 8:01 am

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sonya May 22, 2013 at 7:19 am

I just started wearing lipstick on a regular basis in the past year…and I am 32. I always felt like a clown in it. I have very fair skin and light lips with barely any color. It is amazing what a great color can do to wake up your face! My favorite shade is a red from Lancome, think it is called Rouge in Love. I also like a hot pink from Make Up Forever. I have about 10 lipsticks I wear on a regular basis now and they’re all bright!


2 Koseli Cummings May 22, 2013 at 7:31 am

Lipstick makes me look like I did a lot more than I actually did. :) I love that. Sonya, I’ve got to look into those colors, too.


3 Darci May 22, 2013 at 7:27 am

I was big into lipstick in the 90s. Dark, matte, heavy. As times have changed I’ve switched to lighter brighter, in both texture and color. I favor lip glosses, tinted balms, gel like pencils now. When looking for a real lipstick I check out Nars.


4 Koseli Cummings May 22, 2013 at 7:33 am

I’ve never tried a gel-like pencil. That sounds awesome! Benefit has a lip stain that smells like roses—it’s awesome. I wore it on my wedding day.

I love the way Nars felt (def the best I tried one) but I think they were sold out of any color that looked semi-okay on me. I’ll have to try it again!


5 Tina Ramchandani May 22, 2013 at 7:34 am

I’m 30 and just started wearing lipstick because everyone things I’m 22! I found several almost perfect shades, not convinced I’ve found the one though.


6 Koseli Cummings May 22, 2013 at 7:42 am

Ha ha. Same problem over here. I look 19 so lipstick tricks people into taking me seriously when I’m inquiring about life insurance, car rentals, etc. :)


7 Orlene May 22, 2013 at 7:45 am

Koseli, try YSL lipsticks as well. They are awesome. I love lipstick. Don’t wear everyday though. My go to brands are YSL, Nars and MAC.


8 Angela DeMuro May 22, 2013 at 7:54 am

Love lipstick! I do wear it everyday…even though I spend most (sometimes all) of my day with my 4 1/2 year old in my studio.
It just makes me feel more pulled together, even when I am sporting yoga pants and a t shirt:)
My favorite shade for several years is L’Oreal in ‘divine wine’. I have tubes stashed every wear. I have had, on several occasions at book signings, Mother’s will ask me what shade of lipstick I am wearing.


9 Allison May 22, 2013 at 7:55 am

I do not! Ever! I where gloss only. I’m 34. Recently though, I’ve been thinking I should. I mean, why not? I love it on others. Though, every time I put it on I feel silly. I am pretty natural in the makeup category. I can’t go without it, but I don’t wear a lot. I will have to experiment at Sephora one day soon too.


10 Angela DeMuro May 22, 2013 at 7:56 am

*everywhere*….it is early here;)


11 Connie May 22, 2013 at 8:03 am

I only wear lipstick on special outings. Mostly, I’m a tinted gloss sort of girl. But every once in a while, it’s nice to mix it up.

My lipstick of choice is Estee Lauder’s All Day lipstick in Rosa Rosa. It’s just blushy enough to be glam, but it still has sort of a warm, natural color. That, and Estee Lauder makes their lipsticks “taste” like fig, so it makes me not mind it so much. :)


12 Koseli Cummings May 22, 2013 at 11:47 am

I do love when the make-up smells good. The one I purchased smells like roses and I also snagged some new mascara by the same brand—it also smells rosy when I apply it. It’s heaven.


13 Jeanne May 22, 2013 at 8:19 am

I am definitely a lipstick wearer. Not a fan of gloss, etc. I am fair with blonde hair, and I love reds. I usually wear it everyday with no other makeup. Makes a huge difference! And I have to say, I am a fan of the long-wearing types, such as Revlon Colorstay, that I can put on in the morning and take off at night.


14 Terri May 22, 2013 at 8:25 am

I would bring lipstick to a desert island…I wear it every day. My go to is MAC del rio satin and has been for about 10 years. Goes with everything. If I feel like spicing it up I put a gloss on over it but not often.


15 Lisa in Montana May 22, 2013 at 9:00 am

I never was until I stumbled onto Clinique Bamboo Pink – just the right color and texture for me.


16 Kate @ herenowbrowncow May 22, 2013 at 9:03 am

I found the perfect shade recently too, also a Guerlain (Rouge Automatique 121)!!! Such a satisfying feeling!


17 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity May 22, 2013 at 9:47 am

I started wearing lipstick when I lost my lips some time in my 30s ( notice how many other people have said the same thing in the comments above). I have very sensitive skin so can only wear hypoallergenic lipstick so that limits my choice. Thankfully I found a shade that suits me – Almost Nude by Marcelle – and I have about 6 tubes stashed in all the places I need. My perfect shade makes me feel like my lips are the same colour they turn when I have been exercising – nothing bright or garish, just a natural pinky shade.


18 Annieg May 22, 2013 at 9:51 am

Nars, damage. That is my perfect every day “neutral”. I love it so much and I don’t know what I’d do if they stopped making it.


19 Koseli Cummings May 22, 2013 at 11:49 am

I’d love a neutral tone. I’ll check this out, too. Thank you, Annieg!


20 Julie May 22, 2013 at 10:06 am

It has taken my years to find the perfect shades too. Nars, La Dolce Vita is my favorite everyday lipstick. And Nars, Flamenco is the best red…it’s sheer which allows you to build up the color.


21 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag May 22, 2013 at 10:15 am

I’ve been wearing lipstick everyday of my life since I was 16 or 17. I look ill without it, because my lips are very pale. I’ve gone through so many favorites, always looking for the Holy Grail of the Perfect Color…I’ve never quite found it, but I do always seem to have good luck finding things at Sephora. The ones actually made specifically for Sephora smell amazing. I loved Stila and Bobbie Brown for ages.


22 Koseli Cummings May 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

I love Stila and Bobbie Brown, too. Such pretty colors.


23 Joslynn May 22, 2013 at 10:20 am

I too have been on a quest for a flattering lipstick shade. I have very fair skin and really want to pull off a true red color but they always turn out looking pink! I have acquired several pretty shades in the process. Drop dead red from too faced is smooth and wine-colored. Maybe better for darker skin. Loreal Paris has one called peach fuzz for $5 that I adore! It looks beautiful and natural with my skin. Also, Victoria secret burn sienna lipstick has been a surprising favorite color too.


24 Koseli Cummings May 22, 2013 at 11:45 am

Since we’re so similar in coloring, I’ll have to try those shades when I’m home visiting. I’d love to shake up my color scheme.

Thanks for commenting, Jos!


25 Jenny May 23, 2013 at 8:23 am

I’m a pale blond with pinkish skin and MAC dubonnet and sephora’s lip stain in 01 have worked well for my sister and I. And then MAC’s ladybug doesn’t go pink on us but it is more sheer.


26 Faye Lynn May 22, 2013 at 11:17 am

Colored lip gloss and eyeliner makes all the difference!


27 Gia May 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I find that a bit of lipstick makes me feel like any activity is a little more fun. I was folding laundry the other day (as I do every day) and stopped for a bathroom break. I saw my lipstick there, put a bit on and suddenly folding laundry was an event! I met a friend for coffee afterward and she commented on my lipstick. When I told her why I put it on she laughed and said, next time she’s doing a mundane task she’s adding a little lipstick too.


28 stephanie kraus May 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

must wear lipstick everyday — nars is my fave! especially the bahama and belle de jour. love.


29 mandi May 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I am a chapstick wearer, but lately I’ve felt like I want to wear lipstick. I am 36! Seems like it could be the right time! Your words reminded me of my own feelings- feeling clownish, or too mature looking in lipstick. But there is something lovely about it, and I’ve been thinking that it would be nice to have some on hand.


30 Design Mom May 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Oh! I adore all these recommendations. Does anyone have a favorite long-wearing lipstick? I’m the worst at remembering to reapply.


31 Jenny May 23, 2013 at 8:28 am

Sephora lip stains don’t go anywhere for a couple meals and several hours, and you can reapply Chapstick or gloss if your lips get dry over the stain.


32 Gaby May 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm

My absolute favorite lipstick , I get compliments all the time is Mary Kay Hibiscus !!! Love love love !!!


33 Meg May 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Woohoo! Good for you! Its terribly hard finding just the perfect shade so that when you do find it, its a reason to celebrate! I love the Dolce et Gabbana “coral” shade. The name is a bit misleading because its not really coral or orangy, its more of a soft flattering shade of pink that is great for everyday use. I don’t use much makeup but a bit of this brightens up my face and lasts a long time too!!


34 tawnya May 22, 2013 at 7:14 pm

MAC’s Eden Rocks. Which they discontinued a couple of years ago. I bought up the stock when I heard! Rumor is they are bringing it back, though, so I’m pretty happy…


35 Abfab May 22, 2013 at 7:32 pm

I DO wear lipstick or lip gloss daily! I am a stay-at-home mom who used to work. The lipstick or gloss just makes me feel good and I love having fun with different shades. I wear primarily Mac and some Bobbi Brown. However, I must go to Sephora and try on the Guerlain! Enjoy your perfect shade!


36 Hope Nelson May 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm

You should try the Maybelline Color Whisper Lipsticks. I’ve always been intimidated by lipsticks but I really, really wanted a brick red one so I tried these and love them because they go on lighter like a gel texture but are just as pigmented as regular lipsticks.


37 Meredith May 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I’ve been wearing Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in rose most of the time, but put on Bobbi Brown #10 (a real “red” red) when I want an extra boost… to my mood mostly, it makes me feel dressed up even if I’m just in jeans and a tee.


38 Ariana Lyriotakis May 22, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I have worn lipstick since I was a teenager and never leave the house without it. A day without lippy is just not happening! My most favourite lipsticks are by Guerlain (my husband splurged on all Guerlain makeup for me when we got married – so divine). For everyday I favour lipsticks by MAC, and No.7 (Boots).


39 Kimberly May 23, 2013 at 7:39 am

I use Maybelline Color Sensations Bit of Berry. It’s not quite red and not quite purple and not quite pink, but it really pops on my lips in a good way. Plus, it’s cheap — I mean *inexpensive* enough so I can have one at work and one at home.


40 Sara May 24, 2013 at 1:10 am

Never wore lipstick till my sister’s wedding last week (and I’m over 30 too). Always thought my teeth looked ugly with all that color around… but that wedding make-up really changed my mind – I guess I’m going hunting for the perfect shade soon!


41 Johnna Smith June 26, 2013 at 1:08 am

If you are having a summer birthday party, or a night out with the girls, you should wear a little make-up, because, according to societies narrow-minded point of view, you need to wear makeup. For a night out, wear a darker red color, or a shimmery pink color. Birthday, (teenager0 neon lipstick is so in! (adult) wear a light neautural colour, and for anyother time of the year, it really doesn’t matter what you wear, or what others think of you, it matters on what you think of yourself.


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