Summer has finally arrived in Toronto. And all I want to do is coat my lips in rich coral and orange lipsticks, glosses, and balms. After a winter of deep burgundy shades, it’s time for pigments of vibrant tangerine and cantaloupe.
But guess what? Many women shy away from citrus hues, and as a result, orange lippies aren’t available in as wide of an array of colors as one would hope. It’s pure madness! Thus, I decided to search a couple of stores for pigments that made me giddy.
After covering my arm in mandarin and coral swatches, I walked away with 10 new lipsticks to test and review. I also messaged a couple of friends who were kind enough to donate their pout for the gorgeous visuals and color compare/contrast.
Maybelline Baby Lips Electro Lip Balm in Oh! Orange! can do no wrong--even with that strange name… The six neon pigments in its Electro Lip Balm range are super hydrating, long lasting, pleasant smelling, and inexpensive, so you can buy more than one color at a time. Oh! Orange! was my choice, but it only yielded a hint of color. I guess it’d be great as a tinted lip balm or for someone who’s hesitant about rocking orange.
BITE Beauty isn’t kidding with its High Pigment Pencil in Zinfandel. Described as an “electric coral,” the Zinfandel color ranges from blood orange to vibrant red when applied. The formula is ideal for creaminess, holding power, and coverage, and the pigment works on both warm and cool skin tones. It’s also made with organic ingredients, including five milligrams of resveratrol, which, according to the packaging, is “the antioxidant equivalent of five glasses of red wine.” I’d much rather drink that than apply it, but whatever.
The pigment and intensity of Kat Von D Painted Love Lipstick in A-Go-Go is everything. The brand calls it a “reddish-coral,” but I’d call it orange with red undertones. The application is creamy, smooth, and not overly drying. Still, I could stand for a little more moisture. I recommend using a lip balm underneath, which also helps with longevity. The intensity does fade a little, but there wasn’t any bleeding throughout the day and the application is so perfect that a lip liner seems unnecessary.
The buttery texture of MAC Amplified Crème Lipstick in Morange is absurdly rich. It goes on smooth and you only need one coat. Morange is not a color for the faint of heart. Kelli has cool undertones, so the pigment applies more red on her, but it’s practically glowing neon on the rest of us. The biggest takeaway is just how moisturizing the amplified crème lipsticks are. It’s like body butter for your lips! If I could avoid getting it all over my sheets, I’d apply Morange before bed instead of Chap Stick.
For the low price, Rimmel Lasting Finish Matte by Kate Moss Rossetto 109 seemed like a strong contender. The pigment of Rossetto 109, an orange-coral, shows up red-orange for cooler tones and more coral for warmer tones. The lipstick applies velvety but finishes as a matte after a few minutes. Now for the shortcomings: The smell is overpowering and the moisture fades quickly. I advise a lip balm underneath and a liner to prevent bleeding. The pigment is nice but the maintenance is tedious.
Maybelline Color Elixir by Color Sensational in Mandarin Rapture is exactly what a lip-gloss should be; the texture is smooth and thick yet doesn’t glue your lips together (I’m looking at you, MAC Lipglass). I was disappointed in the applicator, though. It doesn’t give an even finish so it takes a few coats, alternating between gliding and blotting, to the get the full intensity of this Mandarin Rapture shade. But once set, the color and shine adds dimension to the lips. The staying power isn’t the greatest during a meal or over drinks, but the price and color consistency make this a good buy.
This may be a pencil, but it’s a total sexpot. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square has a strong orange base that brightens the face and makes lips appear fuller and teeth appear whiter. Just make sure to exfoliate and moisturize before applying or else the color cakes on. You'll definitely need makeup remover to get it off. So there’s some maintenance--and the price is worth side eyeing for a couple minutes--but the easy application, stay-put color, and multi-use liner capabilities make this a hard product to walk away from.
Revlon Super Lustrous Matte in Smoked Peach comes in first place--for being the least versatile! Where to even begin? The Smoked Peach is a matte coral that compliments no one. It dries your lips in less than 30 seconds and defines every last line. There’s also shimmer in the formula. SHIMMER. The application is sheer and leaves streaks; adding another coat makes it even worse. While the pigment frosts my lips and washes Kelli and Anna out, it is a beautiful orange on Laura. This lipstick is truly bizarre. It’s too orange to be a nude but too flat to be an orange. Make up your mind!
Maybe it’s not for everyday, but Sephora Rouge “Escape To Rio” Rouge Cream Lipstick in Neon Rouge Samba makes for a lasting impression on a night out. I say this because the pigment is 100 percent neon against my skin color and thus borderline clownish. However, the rich and intense color does brighten you right up. So there’s that. Exfoliating and moisturizing beforehand is essential, even though the cream lipstick is billed as “enriched with black currant seed oil and olive oil.” It settles into cracks and dries quickly, which shortens the lifespan of the the color.
There are times when spending $34 on a lipstick is insane. And then there are times when it makes perfect sense. Case in point: YSL Rouge Volupté Shine. The gold, sleek packaging is enough for me to resign my bank account forever. Plus, the ultra-smooth and moisturizing finish makes lips feel like satin. The pigment is sheer, but the lipstick applies smoothly and only requires a couple of coats for full intensity. How long does it last? A few hours at best. And the color does not translate the same on everyone. See where it looks like Laura and I are wearing completely different shades?
For longevity, pigment, and application, the clear winners are BITE Beauty, NARS, Kat Von D, and MAC Amplified. Have you tried any of these brands/colors before? Let me know what you thought of them and which one is your favorite.
What summer lip color should I try next?