by Beth Hammarlund
When it comes to summer makeup, the general consensus seems to be less is more. Trade in your dark matte lipstick for a sheer gloss. Ditch that cakey foundation for a tinted moisturizer. That’s all fair and good, and usually it’s what I prefer this time of year, but let’s be honest: More is more. If you feel less like playing the wallflower and more like “pay attention to meeee!” then makeup is a great way to get you the validation that you’re craving.
Instead of paring down your regular beauty routine or shelving your bright makeup for winter experimentation, why not celebrate the season of outdoor drinking and hot late night parties with some serious color? My favorite lipsticks for the season are the trifecta of brights: red, orange and hot pink.
Red: The perfect red is the holy grail of lipstick, and unlike in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the flashiest grail wins! (But remember, the wrong shade can age you, just like that Nazi guy.) Though I’ve found warmer shades of red to be most flattering on my complexion, I love seeing a woman rock the blue-toned shade, like the slightly pinkish Revlon Super Lustrous Creme in “Cherries in the Snow.” But a true fire engine red will work on anyone. MAC Lipstick in “Russian Red” and “Ruby Woo” are long-time cult favorites, as is Lipstick Queen’s “Rouge Sinner.”
Orange: A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my love of orange lipstick while waxing poetic about the orange lipliner in Beth Ditto’s collection for MAC. (It’s still in stock! Go get it now before it’s gone forever!) And of all the brights, it’s certainly my favorite. More free-spirited than red and more badass than hot pink, orange lipstick is a fairly uncommon, thus unexpected, choice. My two favorites happen to be MAC products as well. Once is extremely pigmented and matte, while the other is slightly sheer. “So Chaud” is the truest orange lipstick I’ve ever owned – not too pink, not too red, just orange. It’s seriously pigmented, which is awesome, but some people might feel more comfortable wearing it after they’ve blotted once or twice. The other is the tragically no longer available “Eager,” a slightly pinkier orange with a wet finish that lets a little bit of what’s underneath show through. If I’m feeling seriously high maintenance, sometimes I’ll layer “Eager” over “So Chaud.” I may feel silly carrying around two lipsticks for bathroom reapplications, but rest assured, when you’re wearing this combination, people halfway around the world will be like, “Whoa, look at that chick’s lipstick.” Hope you don’t mind being noticed.
If you’re not on the MAC train, try L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in “Volcanic.” I picked it up at Walgreens after walking past a display of supermodel Doutzen Kroes wearing the shade and a pair of dark-rimmed glasses. Pensive and sexy! (See? Advertising works. At least on me.) It’s not as true of an orange as “Eager” and “So Chaud,” as it has a heavy dose of red in it (heavier than what the advertisement photos imply), but if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative or a more subtle introduction to the world of the orange, it’s a great buy.
Hot Pink: I find that anyone of any tone or shade can wear red or orange lipstick. Though I think that’s true of hot pink as well, finding the color that best suits you can be a bit more of a challenge. So many of them have extremely cool undertones, so if your skin is warmer or more olive, it’ll probably take some experimenting until you find your lipstick soulmate. For example, my favorite hot pink lipstick is “Moxie,” a sadly discontinued shade from MAC. But it has a qualifier: It’s my favorite hot pink lipstick as long as I layer a warmer gloss over it. On its own it looks weirdly blue against my skin, like it’s in a fight to the death with my freckles and strawberry blonde hair. So I have to make it my own.
Two great bets are Dior Addict Lipstick in “Dior Kiss” and Nars Lipstick in “Schiap.” (I’ve always assumed the title is a nod to legendary designer and lip-lover Elsa Schiaparelli.) Though they’re still true bright pinks, their undertones are more forgiving to a wide variety of skin tones than “Moxie.”
If you’re feeling a little avant-garde or over-the-top, try painting your top lip one color and your bottom lip another. I’ve only tried this once, and though it was awesome, it’s pretty high maintenance. Because, you know, your lips touch each other and all. I’d have to make occasional trips to the ladies’ to blot and re-apply. But any combination of red, orange and hot pink will work for this effect.
Go ahead and embrace the bright on hot summer nights. Now your mouth can literally and figuratively scream, “Look at me!!”