I've been doing my own makeup for a very long time but was never much of a lipstick wearer. I was always more interested in eyeshadows, mascaras, and eyeliner. The shades that I tried before weren't very flattering so I mostly stuck with lip balm or lightly tinted lip gloss since I already have pretty pigmented lips. One weekend during college, I was visiting my then-boyfriend-now-husband and went to the local Rite Aid. I vividly remember that Maybelline was having 40% off and there was a $1 off coupon. I thought that was a pretty good deal so I bought a pinky brown shade from their ColorSensational line called Blushing Brunette that looked pretty in the tube and left the store. I applied it later that day and I swear, it was like magic. The lipstick brought a beautiful color to my face and everything looked so harmonious. I hadn't fully understood undertones and that sort of thing yet so I was pretty blown away. That moment started the love affair I now have with lipsticks. I was actually enjoying wearing them--imagine that!
I was nearing about halfway done with Blushing Brunette when I went out to look for a second tube. The first store I went to didn't have the slot for Blushing Brunette in their Maybelline section. I went to a couple other stores after that and saw that none of them had Blushing Brunette either. I searched online later and found out that it had been discontinued! I started rationing this lippie. At this time, I didn't know that I could search for dupes online. I tried finding my own dupes with different brands but couldn't find a good match. I wound up with a bunch of spice-toned lippies that couldn't replace my beloved Blushing Brunette. I gave up looking in stores and I ended up finding three new tubes of it on eBay for $9.99. Pretty good!
For those of you that just recently found your perfect MLBB, I highly recommend you look for a dupe right away in case it ever gets discontinued. If you don't already know, a dupe is another product that is extremely similar if not exactly the same as your original. If there is no dupe, go ahead and get a couple more tubes! Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and Ulta always have some kind of Buy 1 Get 1 50% off or 40% off deal. Make sure you use those coupons for extra savings :).
I found out much later that Christine at Temptalia has an amazing dupe list. The dupe for Maybelline Blushing Brunette was MAC Creme in Your Coffee. I haven't purchased this as I have difficulty justifying paying more than $10 for a lipstick. I'm fine with drugstore options so I'm still on the prowl. If I hadn't found those new tubes on eBay, I would've gotten a few MAC Creme in Your Coffees already.
There are so many resources out there with beauty bloggers and vloggers. Once you've figured out your skin tone and undertones (that's another task in and of itself), look up people who have similar ones to you and see what shades they love. I highly recommend starting out that way so you don't throw money away while buying the wrong shades. If you get really confused trying to figure out your colors, you can always go to Ulta or Sephora to get color matched. For example, I would search for, "lipsticks for NC20," and find a small list of recommendations to work off of. It's so hard to pin down this skin tone thing definitively because there are still little nuances between me and other people who are NC20. I think I have a teeny tiny bit of olive in my skin tone and that adds a whole other level of difficulty in finding colors that go well with me. I had already done most of the grunt work myself by the time I discovered the online beauty community. I've been told that drugstores should accept your makeup returns without any hassles. I've only tried this at Ulta and didn't have a problem.
I present to you my collection of MLBBs and nudes! I have 10 to share with you. I built up this collection mostly from trying to find a dupe for my beloved Blushing Brunette. I was finding out along the way that most of these have been discontinued. This is another example of why looking for a dupe in advance is a good idea :).
I was debating between arm swatches, lip swatches, or photos of my entire face with the tube of lipstick next to me. I thought the full-face shots may be more useful for especially those who are NC20 or close to it. My apologies for some inconsistency in lighting but that's just what happens when photographing with natural light. This is a pretty comprehensive post and it's the first time I've done anything like it. Please , let me know your feedback :).
The one that started all: Maybelline ColorSensational in Blushing Brunette!
|Maybelline ColorSensational 245 Blushing Brunette (discontinued)|
The dupe, MAC Creme in Your Coffee can be purchased here.
CoverGirl NatureLuxe 270 Spice
Did anyone else get to try out CoverGirl's line of NatureLuxe Gloss Balms before they were discontinued? I remember those were really popular especially with Taylor Swift being the ambassador.
|CoverGirl NatureLuxe 270 Spice (discontinued)|
This shade in Spice is a very comfortable to wear sheer lip color. Since my lips are very pigmented, this is definitely true to the balm descriptor. It's a coppery shade with a bit of golden shimmer. It doesn't look garish at all and I think it's a great transition color from Summer to Autumn if you're looking for something very subtle to wear.
Neutrogena Moisture Shine 240 Nude Blush
Neutrogena Moisture Shine 240 Nude Blush is more of a medium brown nudey pink shade. Bonus: It has SPF 20 and the packaging looks really cool. This has great coverage and is very comfortable on the lips. I think this is still a little too dark to be an ideal nude for me but it still works great as an everyday shade.
|Neutrogena Moisture Shine 240 Nude Blush (discontinued)|
L'Oreal Infallible 832 Unending Amber
L'Oreal Infallible 832 Unending Amber is a full coverage and long lasting lipstick. I think I can get away with just reapplying once during the day. I like how the cap is really secure on the tube. I've had lipstick caps come off while in my purse many times and it's not a great moment. The color is a beautiful warm brown pink. Compared with the rest of my MLBBs, I think this one resembles Maybelline's Blushing Brunette the most.
|L'Oreal Infallible 832 Unending Amber (discontinued)|
I guess L'Oreal revamped this line of lipsticks not too long after I bought Unending Amber. The available shades can be found here.
CoverGirl Continuous Color 025 Warm Brick
CoverGirl Continuous Color 025 Warm Brick is a brighter MLBB than the rest I have here. I do like this shade but I think there's a just the tiniest bit of orange that has the potential to make things look a little off. Coverage is very creamy and the color is true to the tube. I have to reapply every few hours like with most regular lipsticks.
|CoverGirl Continuous Color 025 Warm Brick|
CoverGirl Lip Perfection 260 Heavenly
CoverGirl Lip Perfection 260 Heavenly surprised me. I picked this one up the last time I went to Big Lots. They were having 20% off everything so this lippie only set me back $2! I'm so glad I got this because it is the perfect Springtime pink for me. It's warm and has a little bit of brown in it so that it works with my coloring. In the tube, it looked like such a gorgeous pink. I did a little Googling for swatches while I was in the store and decided that it shall be mine! Had this been a few years earlier, I would've never thought I could wear a pink like this. You just have the find the right one for you.
|CoverGirl Lip Perfection 260 Heavenly|
Maybelline Color Whisper 15 Some Like it Taupe
I picked up Maybelline's Color Whisper in Some Like it Taupe at a 99 Cents Only store after the line had been discontinued. I didn't want to pay full price for something with such sheer coverage but it's hard to pass up a 99 cent price tag!
|Maybelline Color Whisper 15 Some Like it Taupe|
Clinique Different Lipstick Tenderheart
I received Clinique's Tenderheart in a gift with purchase one time. These will always come in a green tube. The regular ones are in a silver casing. Speaking of which, Macy's is having a Clinique gift with purchse promotion with a $27+ purchase and they have free shipping. Remember to go through Ebates for cash back :) (My referral link is in the sidebar).
|Clinique Different Lipstick Tenderheart|
Essence Long Lasting 11 Nude Love
I'm currently on the quest to find the perfect nude lipstick for me. Essence has an entire line of nude colors but I think I was a bit off in my selection this time around. Nude Love is a light nude with pink undertones. This one may have been too light or too blue-pink for me because I am looking a little unwell in this picture! I thought maybe I could go a little lighter, but maybe not! I look a bit orange here, haha. I am really noticing my under eye circles here. I still wanted to post this here so you can see how big of an impact the right and wrong undertones can have on your face!
|Essence Long Lasting 11 Nude Love|
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain 001 Honey
Last but not least, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain 001 Honey, is one of my current go-to colors. I wound up loving this one way more than I originally thought. I've used it so much that none of the silver lettering is on the tube anymore! There's a light minty scent that dissipates shortly after application. This color is a great MLBB and I think it would suit many skin tones. It's a sheer warm pink that glides on like a balm. The formula is amazing. It leaves a light stain on your lips but still manages to keep your face looking put together. I ended up buying more in different shades.
|Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain 001 Honey|
Side note: I highly recommend using your own lipstick for your wedding even if you're having your makeup done professionally because you don't know if you can even take a minute to do a little touching up. If you can take some time to find what color and formula works nicely for you ahead of time, you don't have to worry about it during the wedding. Use it during a work day, running errands, or going to class and you can see how it performs before the big day.
It goes to show you that this is a constant learning experience so please don't get discouraged if you didn't pick the right color! It can be really discouraging and I was even starting to think that maybe my skin tone just wasn't made for US lipstick. So many bloggers and vloggers out there helped me along the way in finding colors that work well with my skin tone. They all do amazing work! This is my way of paying it forward and I hope even one person can find these pictures and musings useful. Ultimately, you've got to be the one to go out there and try things out or you'll never know!
Have you found your perfect MLBB yet? Do you like this kind of post format? Let me know in the comments!