Unless you were born gravitating toward bold or alternative makeup styles, at some point in your life you’ve probably wistfully gazed at an out-of-the-ordinary lip color and thought “ugh, I wish I could wear that.” Maybe you feel like it’s too daring for you, maybe you work in a conservative environment or have people in your life that would make rude remarks about your choices, or possibly it’s the concern I hear all the time “I’m too old for that.” Um, first of all, you’re not. You can wear whatever makes you feel good about yourself at any age, provided it’s on your own time. That’s true of all of the other reasons people have for not wearing what they want to wear. At the end of the day, it’s not that big of a deal, makeup washes off. But something that is a big deal is you feeling confident and powerful enough to wear the things that you love, that show the world who you are. Clearly I have some strong feelings about makeup, and trust me, I could go on about this for quite awhile, but that’s not the point of this post. Today I’m sharing a round up of some of my favorite unconventional shades of lipstick and lip gloss in hopes of helping you find something that you’ll love. I’ll also share some of my tips for wearing unconventional colors that will be helpful whether you’re a dabbler or a first-timer in these bold hues.
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Urban Decay Big Bang
I know what you’re thinking. “Um, how is pink lipstick unconventional? Everyone wears pink lipstick.” And to that I say, “Uh, hi, hello, have you seen this beautiful little glitter bomb??” Sure, pink lipstick is pretty common, but Big Bang is bold, vibrant pink with a ton of glitter. It’s definitely out of the ordinary, but still familiar enough that I think it will make a great stepping stone for anyone who’s just starting to experiment with out-of-the-ordinary shades. Bonus: Urban Decay makes this shade in both a traditional bullet lipstick and in a liquid lipstick format, so you can choose the formula that you feel the most comfortable with. If you decide to go with the bullet lipstick, I recommend using it as a topper for another lipstick or using a lip liner underneath to make it more opaque.
NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Berry Strudel
Maybe even a bright, glittery pink is too boring for you, you’re ready to venture in to the land of truly unconventional lipstick colors. Or maybe you just like purple (so do I!). NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Berry Strudel is one of my favorite purples. The Intense Butter Glosses (and their less pigmented relatives, NYX Butter Gloss) are some of the best glosses available. They’re non-sticky, high-shine, smooth, plush glosses that don’t slide around too much or wear away too quickly. They’re also completely opaque, and very affordable, especially if you purchase them on sale. Brightly colored glosses can be a bit trickier to wear because they’re more likely to migrate outside of your lip line, but I don’t find that to be a problem with the Intense Butter Glosses. One thing that may be a problem for some people is the strong scent of these glosses, which smell similar to a vanilla cupcake. It smells synthetic, but not crazy chemical-ish like some lip products do. I could really do without the scent, but it doesn’t bother me once it’s on my lips.
Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Grunge
Confession: I love grey lipstick. Yes, it can make you look dead, but paired with the right eyeshadow look and a healthy dose of blush, it can be an awesome statement. Smashbox Grunge is one of my favorites because it’s a more neutral grey in a sea of blue-greys. I don’t have anything against blue-greys (clearly evidenced by my next pick) but I appreciate that Smashbox is giving us options. This formula is a very hydrating, glossy creme lipstick which makes it very comfortable to wear, and the sweet scent is very faint, which I appreciate. However, this lipstick really needs to be paired with a liner for two reasons. First, it’s not completely opaque, which means your natural lip color may peek through. For many colors this isn’t a problem, but it looks noticeably strange with grey (NYX, MAC, and ColourPop all make grey or grey-ish lip liners). Second, because this is such a hydrating formula it has more of a tendency to slide around on the lips. Applying a lip liner before hand will prevent this.
NYX Liquid Suede in Stone Fox
See? I have nothing against blue-grey lipsticks. In fact, I’m madly in love with this one. NYX Liquid Suedes are some of the best liquid lipsticks at the drugstore. Though NYX can be hit or miss with lip colors sometimes (they really struggle with deep berry shades, although the Intense Butter Glosses seem to be an exception) the Liquid Suedes are pretty much all phenomenal, so if you see a shade you like in the range, go for it. Stone Fox in particular is a favorite because it’s completely opaque, a very flattering shade of grey with a blue undertone, and because it’s a liquid lipstick, it won’t move around and end up smeared all over your face (note: the Liquid Suedes aren’t completely transfer proof, but they are long-wearing and dry down about 90-95% similar to Ofra’s liquid lipsticks). It’s also unscented, yay!
Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick in Time
If grey really isn’t your thing, consider giving this beautiful metallic blue from Urban Decay a try. This is actually the only blue lipstick I own, which is a problem I’m trying to rectify, but it’s such a beautiful blue that I’m not too upset about giving it all of the attention. I have mixed feelings about the Vice Liquid Lipsticks in general (check out the review I did of them here for more info) Time is my favorite out of all of them. It takes two thin coats to make this shade opaque, but it’s long-wearing and dries down completely, so you never have to worry about it smearing. It’s also a more subdued shade of blue, so you won’t end up looking like you ate a Smurf or a very patriotic cupcake. It always shows up more blue on camera than it appears irl, it’s actually more of a soft denim blue. So pretty. As far as blue lipsticks go, this one is pretty wearable.
ColourPop Crystal Ball
Green is just such a badass lip color in my opinion. Granted, I’m a Slytherin, so I may be a little biased. Like I mentioned previously, a bold gloss is a risky option because it’s more likely to migrate, but ColourPop’s Crystal Ball is another option that stays in place pretty well. This is also another unscented option (hallelujah!). I really love that Crystal Ball has a bit of blue in it (it’s slightly more green in person than it appears here) because it gives it more of a punk rock mermaid vibe that I think a lot of people will enjoy. It also steers it away from being too much of a pine tree green that can feel a little too ‘holiday.’
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Junkie
I like to imagine that if Slytherins had hearts, they would be the color of Urban Decay Junkie. This metallic green lipstick is unapologetically bold, and the teensy tiny little flecks of gold make it a multi-dimensional dream. This one isn’t completely opaque, so I’d recommend using a lip liner with it. Alternatively, you could also dab a little in the center of your lips over top of a matte green lipstick to give the look more dimension. Junkie is totally #rockervibes so go all-out with it and have fun!
My Tips for Wearing Unconventional Lip Colors:
- Balance is key. Conventional wisdom will tell you that you should only wear bold lipstick with a simple or neutral eye look. I disagree. I think that depending on the color going too low-key with the eye shadow can actually make an unconventional lipstick shade look even more out of place. Case in point: grey lipstick. Rather than pull back too far and end up making the lipstick out of place, try adding other details to bring more drama in to your look. For example, use neutral tones on your eyes, but make your eye shadow a little smoky or add false lashes to increase the drama and balance out the look without making the eyes and lips compete for attention. If you’re still struggling to create balance, winged eyeliner will almost always do the trick.
- Wear it around the house first. This will help you adjust to seeing a strange color on your lips and help you to build confidence when you pass by a mirror and see how awesome you look. Or, maybe you wear the color around the house for a bit and decide you’re just not in love with it. That’s ok too.
- Lip liner is your friend. As I mentioned above, lip liner is a great asset when it comes to unconventional colors. It can help to make a color more opaque, keep the color from bleeding or smearing, and make it easier to create the lip shape you desire. At some point, most of us have probably experienced going a little bit overboard with our lip shape, especially with a liquid lipstick, which can make it even trickier to fix. Using a lip liner will allow you to edit the shape before you lay down a color that might be hard to remove.
- Start with a tint. For example, if you’re not comfortable with jumping right into wearing a bold, vibrant purple, start out with a semi-sheer purple lip gloss. Alternatively, try applying a thin layer of lipstick with your finger to create a lip stain effect that will appear much more subdued.
- Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. If you like the color, wear it. Practice saying “I don’t care, I like it.” True story: when I was around 11 or 12, I decided to go to school wearing electric blue eyeliner (which was my signature look at the time) and cherry red lipstick. A couple of the other girls made fun of me for it, telling me I looked like a grandma because this color pairing was sooo 1950’s. Rather than let them get to me, I stood my ground and told them “I don’t care, I like it.” They stopped making fun of me. And if you’re wondering, yes, I do still 100% stand by that look, I wish I had pictures! I’m going to let you in on a little secret because I think you’re cool: makeup doesn’t have to be flattering. *gasp* I know!! Despite what the media and even many of your peers may tell you, makeup isn’t all about creating some one-size-fits-all standard of beauty. Makeup is a tool, and it can be used in a multitude of ways. Yes, it can be used to enhance your natural features. But it can also be used to tell a story, to create a character, to evoke a feeling. There are so many possibilities, especially with all of the incredible makeup products available to us today. Don’t limit yourself.
Life is short, my little aliens. Wear the lipstick of your dreams and live your best life.
Thanks for reading!
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