Shopping for a new lipstick shade is one of my biggest beauty stressors. Figuring out what shade suits my skin tone best, while simultaneously deciding whether to go satin, sheer, matte, cream, or liquid can make me — to put it mildly — flustered. The last time I went into a Sephora with the intention of buying a new nude, I came out sweaty and empty-handed, with two arms covered in rectangular lipstick swatches. I’ve found that all of the lipsticks I’ve loved the most have actually come from recommendations from friends — most women I know have had enough lipstick trial and error to have found a conclusive favorite, one that suits their skin tone, doesn’t slide off their lips and onto their teeth, and whose application never results in shriveled lips from an overly matte formula.
So last week I decided to conduct an experiment: I took to the question app on Instagram Story and asked my followers to submit their all-time favorite lipstick, along with an explanation of why it’s their No. 1. I then sorted through the answers and pulled the most-oft-submitted shades and formulas. Below, a list of lipstick recommendations to make your life a little bit easier, whether you’re looking for a new red, nude, brown, pink, berry, or orange.
“I love the Bobbi Brown art stick in Sunset Orange for my light, freckly skin tone. The main reason is that my friend gave it to me and when I wear it I think about her, but aside from that, it’s the perfect orange-red for me. It stays on so well, it made it all the way through a cooking class. And cooking classes are really just eating and drinking classes!” —Elizabeth Monson, marketing consultant
“Charlotte Tilbury’s Bond Girl is so pigmented without being drying — it doesn’t drag even if your lips are really chapped. The formula is a bit emollient without showing shine. My skin tone is fair-neutral so it’s the perfect red for me.” —Joelle Hyman, photo researcher at Allure/the Creative Group at Condé Nast
“Mac’s Taupe is the perfect neutral for my skin (I’m medium with warm/olive undertones) and I’ve noticed that my friends with really warm/olive undertones really like it too. It’s easy to make it look more dramatic if you layer it on top of a brown lip liner too.” —Ruby Thiagarajan, editor-in-chief, Mynah Magazine
“My skin tone is on the lighter side with yellow undertones, so Jeffree Star’s Celebrity Skin is among my favorites because it basically erases my lips but doesn’t wash me out — it’s super-sexy with a heavy cat eye!” —Teresa, high school teacher
“Okay, okay. I know I work at Marc Jacobs so this probably sounds like a promotional thing, but I’m not kidding you: Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the perfect everyday lip. It doesn’t budge and is basically just a better version of my own lip color. I have pale skin and platinum hair so it brings my skin to life.” —Phoebe Gillan, Marc Jacobs International PR
“I love YSL’s Volupte Lips & Cheeks in shade 10 — it’s the perfect plum. I like that it’s really easy to dab on my lips with my fingers when I want a more subtle shade. It also goes on really smooth and never dries my lips out. I love how it gives my fair complexion life instantly.” —Reece Soloman, fashion consultant
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.
For more Rio-approved beauty products, check out The Strategist’s store on Amazon.