I’ve always had a strange aversion to lipstick. Maybe it’s because I’m far too impatient to line my lips first and apply it properly, or because so many of my partners have hated when I get lipstick marks on their faces. Maybe it’s because my mom always wore the brightest shades of magenta and Barbie pink that MAC could provide, or because my lips always seem to dry out when I put anything on them that isn’t a balm. Maybe I was just scared of people calling me a "lipstick lesbian" when I first came out, and the aversion stuck even as my identity developed into “queer femme princess unicorn who loves pretty much everyone.”
All reasoning aside though, I’ve never really worn it; in fact, the only lipstick I bought in a span of probably 10 years was a perfect red Chanel color, and I still have almost the entire tube sitting in my makeup case. I've started to crave more colour, though. I wanted new blush, new hair colours, and most surprisingly, more lipsticks. I bought my first ever lip brush and lip liner, and started piling on the colours.
Though my current hair colour makes the hunt for lipsticks a little bit harder (peachy pink and orange are tough to work with--I feel you, redheads!), I’ve put together a roster of cruelty-free shades that complement my current hair flavour of the week.
NYX Black Label Lipstick in India
This lip colour is the perfect washed-out, milky salmon-pink shade, and I can’t get enough of it. To get a really solid colour, you need to apply a few layers, as with one layer it’s a bit sheer and looks more milky, less salmon.
This colour reminds me of melon and old beach motels on the coast of California. This product also gets bonus points for matching my hair, even though I think it would also look great with non-matching hair as well.
Ilia Lipstick in Perfect Day
A natural and organic product line with almost no animal ingredients (only beeswax), Ilia has totally exceeded my expectations in almost every way (their mascara is my new must-have), and their lipstick is no exception.
My newest favourite is Perfect Day, a sweet cherry red with an orange base and a matte finish. I usually shy away from reds because I find them a bit too intense, and they look horrible when my lips get dry, but this formula is infused with cocoa butter, jojoba seed oil, and plenty of other hydrating ingredients, so it leaves my lips cashmere soft.
OCC Matte Lip Tar in Kimber
OK, so technically this isn’t really a lipstick, but it’s vegan and so awesome I just couldn’t bring myself to leave it out. By far the brightest lip colour in my collection, Kimber is a neon coral with a matte finish. OCC is known for their bright, pigmented colours, and Kimber most definitely fits the bill.
All I want to do when I wear this shade is sit on a patio in huge sunglasses sipping fresh lime margaritas. Plus, it shares its name with my favourite Nip/Tuck character, which obviously earns bonus points.
Ardency Inn MODSTER Long Play Supercharged Lip Color in Cult
Ardency Inn’s line is pretty small, but I’ve really liked the few products I’ve tried so far. Lately I’m really into Cult, a hot pink lip colour with hints of red, and blue undertones. The website describes it as a tropical pink, but I would say it’s more of a classic red-pink (if that’s even a thing.)
The formula itself is soft and has great coverage even with just one coat, though the smell reminds me of the first lipstick I ever wore when I did dance performances as a kid. I’m loving this colour for lunch dates and casual parties.
Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Coral Blossom
This lipstick is total tropical perfection. Packaged in a cute, eco-friendly paper tube, it’s quite sheer, and has a slight hint of shimmer that most of the other colours here lack.
The formula is rich (if it were a cheese, it would be double cream brie), hydrating, and it has a sweet mint scent that puffs up your lips, which is my absolute favourite lip product feature. This colour is the best one on my list for everyday wear and beach vacations, as it looks pretty natural.
NYX Lipstick in Baby Pink
This NYX lipstick is totally different from the first one on this list, and by far my most shimmery, magical, non-ordinary pick colour wise.
A dusty, glittering lilac with hints of baby pink, this lipstick is pastel in the most perfect way, and gives great coverage despite the light hue. I love this lipstick for going out at night, especially when I pair it with a hint of cheek glitter and smoky eyeshadow.
Did I miss any great cruelty free lipsticks?