not a professional. just crazy.

These 3 Sheer Lipsticks Give My Mouth Natural (and Way Better-Looking) Color

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

Lately, I’ve been getting the same question over and over, from friends and strangers on the internet alike: “Do you have a recommendation for a good lipstick that creates a blotted look?” I understand the appeal: sheer lipsticks let your natural lip color peek through while elevating your everyday makeup, allowing you to feel just a tad more put together without having to commit to a full-on lipstick look (plus, they’re much easier to eat with).

The brands, it seems, are listening to the people — I’ve noticed a surge of sheer lipstick tints hitting the market in the last couple of months. I decided to put three of the most popular options from three cult-favorite beauty brands — Milk Makeup, Ohii, and Glossier — to the test (which are, by the way, all vegan). That way, you can decide which is right for you. Or, if you’re a nut like me, you can decide you need them all.

Glossier Gen G

Glossier’s Gen G, the OG of trendy sheer lipsticks, is a super-matte formula that gives your lips a hint of powdery, soft color. Or in other words: This product makes it look like you applied a full coat of lipstick, and blotted most of the pigment away on a napkin. I’ve long loved these lipsticks — the berry-colored Jam, and the light, cool pink shade Like are some of my everyday staples. But I’ve found that the formula is a tad drying, so I always moisturize my lips before applying Gen G with my Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm.

ohii Lip Smudge

I am so obsessed with the formula of these new Ohii lip tints. Unlike Gen G, which is super-matte and powdery, these lip smudges are waxy and smooth. And if Glossier is a lipstick look blotted down, these lip smudges are your natural lips but better. As my friend Joelle put it, “These lipsticks make your lips look like you’ve eaten a popsicle that happens to be the perfect color for your mouth.” This is perhaps the most flattering lip tint I’ve ever tried in my life — they’re matte but not too drying and give your lips that effortless tint of color that I’m constantly striving for. I also happen to be in love with every one of the colors of Ohii’s Lip Smudge and have been wearing them all daily — I’m currently wearing Punch, which is a gorgeous bubble-gum-pink shade.

Milk Makeup KUSH Lip Balm

These Kush balms from Milk Makeup are awesome twofers — they give your lips a smudgy, soft tint, and have mango butter, cocoa, and shea butter in the formula, which means these are easily the most smoothing and hydrating of the bunch. The balms aren’t matte — they make lips look a little shiny and glisten-y — but they’re just as low-maintenance and flattering as the two listed above. Generally, I put on Gen G or Lip Smudge when I leave the house, then touch my lips up throughout the day with my Milk Makeup Kush Lip Tint, so that my lips stay soft and hydrated with a pretty pop of color all day long. I personally love the berry shade Plushberry and the pinky-rose shade Bubble. If you wear Glossier’s Jam, Kush Lips Plushberry is a similar color for touch-ups throughout the day. If you wear Ohii’s Scorpio, Nug is your best bet.

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3 Sheer Lipsticks That Make Me Look Like Me, Only Way Better