Although classic cherry red is my go-to color in the lipstick game, I’ve found myself more and more attracted to outlandish lip colors over the past few seasons. From Rihanna’s gorgeous emerald lipstick at the IHeartRadio Music Awards earlier this year to Ivania Carpio’s refreshingly modern take on pastels, I’ve been jonesing for some lip color that’s less retro and more fashion-forward.
I took deep purple, pastel pink, and dark green lip colors — all mixed from makeup I already had — out for a spin, further proving to my neighbors and friends that I will wear absolutely anything for the sake of beauty.
Colors on the spectrum between red and purple are like the training wheels of crazy lipstick wearing. On darker skin, mauves, berries, and purples can be great everyday colors since they’re rooted in warm, natural hues; in fact, dark skin tones can pull off many vibrant jewel tones and neon accents that tend to wash out lighter complexions.
I happen to have the complexion of a sauteed chicken breast, so Manic Panic’s Lethal Lipstick in Deadly Nightshade came across more mall-goth than high-fashion at first. The easiest way to class up novelty lipsticks is to add some texture and depth, so I added a layer of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Stained Gloss in Nomad, which gave the dark purple a burgundy, gold-flecked glaze.
If I had the time and patience, I would wear this combo all the time. Or, at least until my Stevie Nicks/Lorde/Sharon Needles obsession subsidies, which will never be.
Unfortunately, purple lipstick is a bitch. The gloss needed frequent reapplication, even though I was careful to drink my coffee through a straw all day, and the Deadly Nightshade base started to feather out from my already ample lip line after a few hours, giving me a nasty Beetlejuice-y appearance.
If you’re bold enough and not afraid of looking a little undead, I highly recommend using a lip-defining pencil in addition to the ol’ foundation on the lips trick to minimize feathering. Also, this might be a look better kept for a night out rather than a 12-hour summer day.
Green lipstick is as awesome and as gross as it sounds. If not for the flawless style guidance of Rihanna (by way of Scary Spice, of course), I can say with certainty that I would never have attempted a green lip.
To get the dark green I wanted, I blended the hell out of Manic Panic’s Lethal Lipsticks in Green Envy and After Midnight, and it looked pretty damn good if I do say so myself.
The major downside to green lipstick, though, is that it’s super-gross to eat and drink with. There was just something about the green lip prints on my sandwich that bordered on the grotesque in a way that plain old red just doesn’t.
Another downside is that green lip color doesn’t fade as gracefully as a rosy pink or peachy nude, making it high-maintenance as hell. I was a little mortified when I looked in the rearview mirror after running some errands to find that I was rocking a pale green lip with a ring of dark emerald around my lip line. Not cute.
Green was by far my favorite color to take photos in, though, and I’ll definitely wear it again for parties and fun photoshoots.
Palest Pastel Pink
I was actually less comfortable with the idea of wearing pastel pink lipstick than I was painting my mouth green. Using a nude lip pencil and Face Stockholm lipstick in Matte Ginger, I gave it a shot, but I just wasn’t digging the color on its own. It was OCC to the rescue with a topcoat of Stained Glass in Hedonist.
Just like a good red lip, the trick with pink pastels is to find one with the right balance of warm and cool tones. My complexion has yellow undertones, so I used a slightly cool pink gloss to balance things out.
Out and about, this lipstick actually got the most attention. Maybe there’s something about cotton candy pink that just seems more approachable than a gothy purple or wacky green lip. Plus, it gave me a unicorn mojo and prompted a guy at Buffalo Exchange to show me the greatest carousel horse-patterned Lolita dress, which I immediately bought and wore to a bachelorette party.
Pastel pink is definitely the way to go if you’re feeling upbeat and friendly. I was genuinely surprised how much more approachable people found me than when I go out with my usual dark red lip.
All in all, weird custom-blended lipstick shades are fun, but until someone develops some stains that stay put, I think I’ll reserve them for evenings only.
Do you ever blend unusual lipstick colors? Tell me your favorite combinations in the comments.
Melissa is a contributing editor at Blufashion, where she previously served as beauty director. She's been writing and editing with a focus on beauty, serving as editor at Blufashion.