Here are some of my current favorites.
1. Bourjois Sweet Kiss Shine #59 Rose Etincelant
Sweet sheer candy pink with gold highlights makes this a soft peach/nude on the lips (below) that's flattering if you have medium to dark skin.
2. Estee Lauder Pure Color Crystal Lipstick #301 Crystal Baby
3. Sephora Lip Attitude #G20
A more chocolate-y version of Crystal Baby, this is a sheer glossy nude-brown lipstick which feels and looks almost like a gloss. Perfect as a base color to mute redness when wearing sheer tinted gloss. Best thing? It's so inexpensive!
4. MAC Lustre Lipstick in Fresh Brew
A slightly deeper version of Sephora #G20, but I love it because it can look like a nice caramel-y true-brown on lighter skins, and a non-chalky nude on darker-toned complexions. Definitely check this out if you are NC40 and deeper, and can't find nice nudes.
5. Maybelline Watershine Pure Lipstick #B24
A pale pink-based nude which is the pinker and more opaque counterpart of Crystal Baby, but at a fraction of the price. If you like milky nude-pinks with a glossy sheen, this is a great one to try.
1. Sephora Lip Attitude Star #S22
A flattering, ultra-shimmery caramel, I bought this because it looked so much like a Dior Addict Shine lipstick. It's rich, creamy, sheer, and feels just as luxurious as a high-end lip color.
2. MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme in Till Tomorrow
Bruised-lip color which stays put for a few hours with normal activity. I'll always find kiss-proof lipsticks fascinating because of Revlon Colorstay, but then there are no Revlon equivalents for this shade where I am.
3. Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick #180 Vintage Pink
This quirky and beautiful dusty lavender-pink always makes me think of a scene in Anne Rice's Pandora, where an ancient vampire sits anonymously in a cafe, writing the story of her life wearing a "purple" lipstick. (I somehow always imagined it to be a mauve that is atypical but subtle, rather than dark and dramatic.) On light to medium skin, this is a medium tone, but if you are about NC40 onwards, this will be a lovely cool-toned nude pink for you.
4. MAC Amplified Lipstick in Up The Amp
One more purple. And what a purple! It goes on more blue than the swatch above. This is the loud and attention-seeking rebel of the family. If you have golden or olive-toned skin, this purple looks sooo nice as statement lips, paired with minimal makeup.
5. L.A. Girl Lipstick in Dreamer
I mentioned this before in my Robin Blue nail polish post. This is a lovely, lovely black. I say so because it does not go on streaky or patchy, and is not stubbornly hard to even out (below). Wear this with any other shade you have to deepen it dramatically.
P.S. Some other favorites which I love but are either discontinued or a little easier to duplicate are:
- MAC Syrup (dupe this with Urban Decay Rush or Etude LED lipstick #10)
- Revlon Matte lipstick in Really Red
- Lancome Color Fever Dewy Shine lipstick #258