You’ve heard and seen the ubiquity of millennial pink. But has there been an effect on lipstick? Last year, the NPD Group reported that sales of pink surpassed red as the best-selling lipstick color. When M.A.C Cosmetics got ten beauty influencers to create a dream lipstick shade of their choosing, no one gravitated toward creating a green, orange, or blueberry shade. Instead, all but one chose a variation of pink. There’s even a new lipstick created by a college student to protest Trump, which after community voting, was chosen to be a pink shade. Kylie Jenner, the person single-handedly responsible for a surge in lip-injection Google searches, also made the first shade of her burgeoning cosmetics empire, Candy K, a warm nude pink.
“Pink is the more spirited, less serious color to red,” says Troy Surratt, makeup artist and founder of Surratt Beauty (one of the Cut’s favorite beauty lines), explaining pink lipstick’s popularity. “There’s a playfulness, flirtation, and girlishness to pink that makes it fun, accessible, and less intimidating.” It’s also a more accessible color than red, which traditionally has connoted everything from maturity to glamour to attention. Amal Clooney wears shades of pink lipstick to court to demand that ISIS be tried, but puts on red for restaurant dates and those boring red-carpet events her husband drags her to.
Surratt explains that pink is also the largest color category in lipstick. “It can include everything from bright neon pinks into magentas and roses and nude pinks, and then all the pastels. You have the most range and creative license in creating pinks.” This also means you have a greater likelihood of finding many, many pink shades that suit your skin tone — and they don’t have to be millennial in hue.
Here’s how to find the best shade of pink lipstick that suits your skin tone. First, determine whether you’re more warm- or cool-toned. Cool-toned people are generally those who are fairer, whose veins appear blue under their skin. Warmer-toned people’s veins appear more greenish blue. The same rule of thumb for picking red lipstick applies to pinks, in that blue-toned pinks tend to look better against cool tones, while warmer shades can go into orange pinks all the way into coral.
But as we’ve seen with everything in beauty, there are no rules anymore and you can make everything your own. Look at Lupita Nyong’o who illustrates this with her gameness for all lipstick shades. Her deep skin tone acts as a “neutral,” so it creates a beautiful contrast with any bold lip colors and pink, from magenta to fuchsia. If you do this, choose a formula with a great payoff and opacity so that is has more of an impact, Surratt advises. See some of our favorite pink lipsticks below and click through the slideshow for more people such as Kerry Washington, Brigitte Bardot, Emma Watson, and Marilyn Monroe, who look great when they’re tickled pink (including us).
Surratt calls this color “a classic.” It’s an almost neon-pink, made to replicate the same signature “shocking pink” of Elsa Schiaparelli.
NARS Cosmetics, Schiap $28, Sephora
I discovered this perfect cool-toned hot-pink via Jen Brill at Into the Gloss. She calls it a “flamingo-pinkish violet” and a color that makes everyone smile.
Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet, La Diva $37, Chanel.com
Less blue-toned than Chanel’s La Diva — it suits more medium tones — the brightness of this fuchsia is like a jolt of energy and verve to your face and mood.
Tom Ford Lip Color, Electric Pink $53, Nordstrom
A blend of red, pink, and violet, this cerise goes on matte and comes with a tiny lip wand so you can easily paint it on from lip corner to lip corner.
Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lip Color, Fuchsia Ecstasy $7.99, Ulta.com
Surratt calls this pink “a perfect pink. It’s not too bright or pastel-y.” The texture is also like a pigmented lip balm with a touch of shine so that it looks really fresh and dewy on the lips.
Surratt Beauty Lipslique Lipstick, Perfectioniste $34, Sephora
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