I have a love-hate relationship with lipstick. When lipstick is good, it’s oh so good. Buy-an-entire-lipstick-wardrobe-in-the-same-formula good. But when it’s bad, I forget that good is possible. And if I’m being completely honest, most of the time I apply lipstick in the morning, put it in my bag, and promptly forget it exists. Reapplication? I don’t know her.
I’ve tried a lot of the lipsticks brands on the market and many them are awful—short-wearing, leave-a-ring-of-colour-around-the-edges-of-your-mouth, settling into your lip lines, smudgy, drying, cakey. Not good experiences. Pure shit, really.
This is a tribute to my desert-island lipstick formulas—the only lipstick formulas I wear on a consistent basis and have ever repurchased in multiple shades. The only lipstick formulas I recommend to friends.
I got my first Charlotte Tilbury lipstick for my birthday in November of 2015. My partner, Brad bought me the K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in
The formula of the Matte Revolution lipstick is creamier than most any other matte formulas I’ve tried. It is never drying or cakey. The longevity is great, but not fantastic. It won’t survive you eating a burger, but it will fade away evenly so you don’t have to worry about
Bond Girl is what I imagine my signature lipstick would be if I was to have a signature lipstick. A muted berry that pulls a little brown and is just a little darker than a nude on my skin tone. It’s perfect for me in every single way. Just writing about it made me get up from my seat and put it on.
Very Victoria is my go-to my-lips-but-better shade. A
Love Liberty is my newest addition and the shade I’m wearing in the photo above. It’s the perfect deep berry shade that is basically a prerequisite for the holiday season. And the winter season. And the fall, come to think of it. What I’m saying is that you can rock this shade more than sixty percent of the year—it basically pays for itself.
Pillow Talk is a pinky-nude that also acts as a my-lips-but-better shade. I had a whole paragraph written about how while this shade was nice, it was maybe too pink for me. It was fine. It was whatever. But then I applied it on and remembered why I love it. The shade is the perfect pink for people who don’t like pink. And a lot of people seem to like it—the last time I was at a Charlotte Tilbury counter the salesperson told me that Pillow Talk is their number one selling shade globally.
In case you were curious, Red Carpet Red is next up on my wish list.
Pat McGrath Labs
Pat McGrath lipsticks are a relatively new discovery for me. I bought the LUST: Mini MatteTrance Lipstick Trio in Skin Show in November and almost immediately added LuxeTrance in Realness to my Christmas wish list. And then I bought it before Christmas during the Sephora VIB Rouge 20% off sale because I was scared no one would buy it for me. A tale as old as time.
I have pretty low expectations when it comes to lipstick longevity. When people say that their lipstick lasted longer than an hour I am all, “WHOMST?!?” They tell me the brand, I run out and buy it, and it inevitably ends up fading away the first time I take a sip of water. Are my lips different than everyone else’s? Does lipstick just not adhere to them?
Believe me when I say that the Pat McGrath lipsticks last for hours. HOURS. I know!
On top of lasting for hours, these lipsticks offer single-swipe opacity, and the most comfortable texture—almost like you’re not wearing anything on your lips.
The Pat McGrath Labs lipstick formulas are without question the best I have ever experienced. These lipsticks have truly got it all.
Realness is the shade I’m wearing in the photo above. It is described by the Pat McGrath website as a “light rose nude”, but I think it pulls slightly dusty-rose on my skin tone. A nude to rule them all.
Omi is honestly basically the same shade as Charlotte Tilbury’s Bond Girl. I swatch them beside each other on the back of my hand and barely notice a difference. Which means that Omi has taken the throne and is my absolute favourite lipstick of the moment.
1995 is described as a “warm light nude” and while I generally stay far away from anything described as “warm” I am fully into this shade. It’s a browny-nude on my skin tone and is probably my second most-worn lipstick shade.
Flesh 3 is the kind of vampy shade that gets me every time. It pulls more brown than red on me for a very 90s vibe—which I love, obviously.
I was one of the few who really liked Glossier’s original Generation G Lipstick formula. It was the perfect powdery popsicle-lip straight out of the tube I had been looking for.
When they reformulated I was hesitant. The packaging was an obvious upgrade, but the formula of the lipstick itself? Luckily it’s still a banger. A little less powdery, a little more creamy, but still gives that buildable popsicle-lip look that wears away evenly. I owned Cake, Jam, and Leo in the original formula, and bought Cake and Jam when they were reformulated.
Jam is my favourite kind of deep berry shade and is what I’m wearing in the photo above. Jam can also be worn sheer,
Let me know in the comments what your desert-island lipstick formulas are—I am always looking for new favourites!
Photos by Yuli Scheidt.