Lipstick Challenge: Week One

Top row: BITE Moscato, Revlon Orange Flip
Bottom row: Laura Mercier Healthy Lips, Bare Minerals Lead the Way, MAC Ruby Woo

My new editor Caroline loves lipsticks and wears a different one pretty much each day. So for the month of May, we challenged her to try out a different shade every work day. Here’s her diary so far…

1. BITE Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Moscato
Confession: This hot pink matte lipstick made me feel much cooler than I am. While not a marathon formula (i.e. it will wear off if you eat a sandwich), it only required minimal touch-ups throughout the day. Plus, I love that this brand uses natural and organic ingredients.

2. Revlon Moon Drops in Orange Flip
This is the color I’d be least likely to wear in my everyday life. Orange lipstick looks pretty on other people, but makes me feel washed out. Yet amazingly, this is the shade I got the most compliments on. (Not just from Joanna and my boyfriend, but strangers, too!) I guess it goes to show, it pays to experiment. I liked the moisturizing formula—and the drugstore price tag.

3. Laura Mercier Sheer Lip Color in Healthy Lips
Bold statement: If I could wear only one lipstick for the rest of my life, this is what I’d choose. It’s lightweight, hydrating and a very flattering shade of pink. It even works as blush! (Is that gross? I’m not sure, but it looks nice.) My boyfriend repeatedly remarked that I looked “really pretty,” but I could tell he had no idea I was wearing make-up. Bonus for busy ladies: It’s such a natural color, you can apply it without a mirror.

4. Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick in Lead the Way
I was the most excited to try this gorgeous purple shade. But then the guy at the coffee shop greeted me with a quizzical look, along with every other human I encountered for the rest of the day. Perhaps the color is too vampy to wear in broad daylight? I loved the lipstick’s subtle vanilla-mint scent, but the glossy formula wound up all over my teeth (and my cup and my straw and even parts of my face…) and made it look like I’d been glugging red wine. Two words of advice: Blot often.

5. MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo
Ruby Woo is a classic red with incredible longevity. (Seriously, it lasted me through an entire spaghetti dinner. With bread.) As soon as I put this on, I felt like I was wearing armor—as if everything I said had weight and importance simply because the words were coming from lips THIS RED. The boyfriend said, “Wow. Your lips are really red.” Hmm, not quite a compliment, but I’ll take it. ;) Beware, though, the ultra-matte formula is drying, so keep a balm handy. Bonus: It makes your teeth look super white.

Stay tuned for next week, when I’ll be test driving five more shades…Do you have any requests? Or any favorites you’d recommend?

P.S. Spring nails, and cool sunglasses.

  1. Desiree says...

    You should try Kat Von D. I love her lipsticks! Can be a little drying, though!

  2. Tacita says...

    I love you for doing this. My colouring is similar to yours and I’m such a mouse with my lipstick, I’ve only got one that I feel confident in! I’m feeling inspired to experiment already!

  3. Holy flashback! Orange Flip was one of my mom’s two go-to Revlon shades when I was growing up. Crazy! The other was “Wine with Everything.” I think you need to try that one too. Plus ca change…

  4. Holy flashback! Orange Flip was one of my mom’s two go-to Revlon shades when I was growing up. Crazy! The other was “Wine with Everything.” I think you need to try that one too. Plus ca change…

  5. try out Sugar Rose by Fresh Cosmetics. its an awesome versatile lip color that I love wearing every time i put it on!

  6. Caroline, you pull off all of them! A post pitch for another week: TELL US YOUR BROW ROUTINE. Your brows are to die for glam!

  7. nice, but i’m interested to know, how do i prevent the flakiness of my lips appearing after wearing lipstick for some time?

    Im not sure how to describe it, it’s like patches of “skin” of my lips will appear


  8. What a great breakdown! Loving to hear about her experiences with them!

  9. I love this idea because I have so many and some I never wear. I think that MAC Heroine would be a good one to try because it is purple and I think it could work with your skin color.

  10. This totally inspired me – I want to do my own lipstick challenge! It would be a great way to rediscover some of my lipsticks in my collection. :)

  11. Great colors! Thanks for the suggestion! I recently bought orange lipstick and although it looks really good with my skin tone, I’m definitely more reserved when it comes to bright colors. I suggest wearing bright oranges with light nude lipgloss on top to play down to color.

  12. I am also crazy about lipstick. My favorite formula’s are the tarte amazonian clay 12 hour lipsticks, revlon matte moisture tints, and laqa & co lip pencils. I always tell my friends who get bummed about not being able to pull off bright lipsticks that they just have to get used to seeing themselves with it on! It is hard to get used to a drastic change in your appearance.

  13. Try the Dior Addict Lip Glow!!

  14. The Laura Mercier shade was my favourite, but reading the post, I’m liking Ruby Woo too.

  15. I love lipstick and think this challenge is fabulous! I do have a question for you… How do you keep your lips smooth and hydrated when you wear lipstick so often? I find I need to give my lips a break, especially when I use highly pigmented colours. I’d love to hear your tips – you could always include them in your feedback at the end of the challenge?

  16. I love this and I can’t wait for the rest of the series! Caroline, your reviews and analyses are great!

  17. I love the orange one! I have a bright orange that I am obsessed with.

    My favorite shade ever is Nars Manhunt–just a slightly coral-y red. If you put it on lightly, it makes your lips look just a bit red, very healthy and beautiful. If you put on more, it’s more of a statement. I love it so much that I thought I would buy another Nars shade. I went to Sephora and ended up picking up the same shade–I had forgotten the name, and somehow in the store it looked a bit different? Anyway, I am clearly drawn to it.

  18. Me says...

    Try Nars Heat Wave! It’s an orangey-red that looks incredible on everyone. It’s my go-to, and I’ve converted at least 12 friends into lifelong fans.

  19. A request! – Laura Mericer’s Healthy Lips is my all time fave as well. (I also use the same formula in Baby Lips.) My lips are very sensitive and dry/peel easily, so I’m lucky to have found Laura because it’s the ONLY one I’ve used that hasn’t ruined my lips. So I’d be very grateful for any other success stories you’ve run across for extra sensitive lips… I love these 2 gold mines but wish I had more options to choose from!

  20. MAC’s Ruby Woo and Relentlessly Red (which is more pink than red) are by far my favourite lipsticks, and totally worth the money too. I have worn them ALL day long and they have survived my frequent snacking, lunch, dinner and several cups of coffee!

    Alice x

  21. This is a super great post!
    Thanks :)

  22. I love this series! I love experimenting with lipsticks but never know what to splurge on, so this is a great way to gauge before making the purchase :) I was wondering about the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, have you tried any of those yet? I’d love to hear what you think :) I’ve got a MAC lipstick as well and it’s the absolute best, stays on for ages. thanks again for sharing, Caroline xx

  23. Oh PS- if Caroline’s looking for a darker shade, try Bite’s “Port”. I tried it last fall for a fun dark shade and while it feels vampy at first it’s a gorgeous shade.

  24. NARS matte lipsticks are my fave for date night (Heat Wave is perfect for summer), but for everyday wear I like Laura Mercier. Plumberry and Truly Red are two of my favorite shades they make. The company used to carry something called HydraTint, which is a really great tinted lip moisturizer, but it has since been discontinued. :(

  25. I love this feature! I’ve always been kind of afraid of lipstick. Since I have super similar coloring, I feel like Caroline test drove these just for me! ;)
    I would love to hear tips about application, etc!

  26. I love lipstick too, and have many different colours/shades. It’s a new thing for me. I love MAC for the longevity and the boldness. It once lasted me all day at work without a touch-up. I love Bare Minerals but like you say, it winds up everywhere. My trick is I put it on pretty thick and leave it like that for a couple of minutes. Then I blot the daylights out of it and I’m left with perfectly stained lips. This stained-lips look lasts and lasts.

  27. LOVE this series! The Laura Mercier one is definitely going on my wishlist. My version of the every day, put it on without a mirror, subtle lip enhancement is Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede in It Girl. I keep thinking I need to buy a bunch of backup in case they stop making it… and I’m on my 3rd tube in a year already

  28. xA says...

    I love the first one on you! Try MAC cremesheen cross wires- I have a theory it works on everyone :)

  29. lipstick is my favorite accessory! nars manhunter is a favorite. i also like vincent longo lipstain in americana.

  30. I wish I had a MAC store near me. Their lipsticks aren’t even that expensive. I really want to try the Laura Mercier now. I’ve tried a lot of Revlon lipsticks, but never the Moon Drops. I’ll have to add that one to my list!


  31. I loved all of them except for the 1st. It’s just not my cup of tea. You’re lucky to have such beautiful facial features and you can obviously get through the day with blush, lipstick and mascara.

    The purple one is something I want to try for a while and that red looks fab!


  32. If the Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie was a bit too much, try Rebel by Mac! It’s got great longevity, and even though deeper purples are hard to pull off in summer I think Rebel is doable!

  33. BITE is the best! I love it! My favorites are Poppy and Pomegranate. Both bold reds—Poppy is an orange red, and Pomegranate is more blue.

  34. The orange seriously looks so good!

  35. This is a fun end to my week. Thanks for sharing, Caroline! I don’t often wear lipstick myself. I find it intimidating, not because of the pigment, but because it is the only make up that makes me totally paranoid about how it looks all the time. Everything else wears off more predictably. Maybe you have some tips to share…? I like when lipsticks fade away in a gradual, natural way.

  36. kat von d makes some highly pigmented, bright colors, my favorites are “orange-a-go-go” and “backstange bambi” which is an almost neon pink… LOVE them both.

  37. I’d be interested in seeing Caroline test-drive one shade of lipstick (or several) on women of different skin colors and finding out which is the most versatile in terms of flattering skin tone. Or having women of different skin colors as subjects for a lipstick shade tryout.

  38. MAC’s Craving is my go-to shade. It’s more of a pink, but can be layered for a more dramatic evening look. I prefer lighter lip gloss or stain in summer, but in the colder months, this is the only shade I ever wear.

  39. I have a request- a tutorial on how to apply lipstick! I just can’t get it right and it ends up everywhere it shouldn’t! Help me! :D

  40. The Laura Mercier lipstick that Joanna always recommends…Plumberry? I can’t find it anywhere! I definitely need a go-to lipstick.

  41. Ooh, I’m dying to try that Revlon one – it looks so amazing on you. I’m a total lipstick addict and also wear a different one every day. I love Ruby Woo but find it too drying – also Revlon’s Really Red is a great dupe and feels nicer on my dry lips. My favourites right now are Anarchy by Urban Decay, Nars Jungle Red, Intense Nude from the amazing Estee Lauder Color Envy range and Coral Tonic by Maybelline. So excited to read more of your choices, thanks Caroline!

  42. This is awesome, and inspiring to my lipstick-shy self. I’d LOVE a quick tutorial on how best to apply lipstick. I always feel like I’m doing it wrong!

  43. Ooh, I’m dying to try that Revlon one – it looks so amazing on you. I’m a total lipstick addict and also wear a different one every day. I love Ruby Woo but find it too drying – also Revlon’s Really Red is a great dupe and feels nicer on my dry lips. My favourites right now are Anarchy by Urban Decay, Nars Jungle Red, Intense Nude from the amazing Estee Lauder Color Envy range and Coral Tonic by Maybelline. So excited to read more of your choices, thanks Caroline!

  44. I love this post so much! Could you try a few more drug store brands? It’s so hard to know which brands/ colors to buy since you can’t try them on before purchasing. I’ve heard good things about Maybeline’s Coral Crush.

  45. I would love to see some ideas for pretty lipsticks/ balms that contain SPF! I love wearing bold colors, but I’m starting worry about not protecting my lips from the sun enough.

  46. I am not much of a make-up person but I am very tempted to get the Laura Mercier Sheer Lip Color. You look so pretty in it, Caroline !

  47. Love this post! Thanks for showing this lipstick lover some new colors to try. I love Christian Dior Dior Addict Extreme in Black Tie. Although it looks mighty scary in the tube its surprisingly sheer and pretty.

  48. I love the idea of wearing a different shade every day. And I really wanna try the Laura Mercier and MAC lipsticks.

  49. I’ve been looking into all natural lip colors (no chemicals). Would love to see you try a few and hear how they last through the day!

  50. Orange Flip!! my 97 year old grandmother has been wearing this and only this color for as long as I can remember. It looks beautiful on Caroline!

  51. She looks great in all of them. I love this—thanks for sharing! Also Caroline reminds me so much of Hailee Steinfeld. Does she get that a lot?

  52. On wearing lipstick for blush: I don’t own blush. I always use lipstick or lip stain or tinted lip balm, whatever I have on hand. I figure, if it’s ok to put near your mouth, it should be just fine for your cheeks – and convenient!

  53. I would *love* it if you did a week series on “natural” lipsticks. It can be hard to find pretty and natural cosmetics!

    Cosmetics are one of the least regulated product categories by the FDA. Many lipsticks contain neurotoxins and carcinogens like lead, formaldehyde, mineral oil, parabens, etc. We can’t assume because they say they’re natural that they are, either; Burt’s Bees lip shimmer was in the top 20 of 400 lipsticks containing lead reviewed by the FDA in 2012… ugh.

  54. Love this series! I have a deep, passionate love of lipstick and am so tempted to follow in your footsteps :)

    As for recommendations, I live and die by Stila liquid lipsticks — Tesoro and Carina are my favorite shades. Uber long-wearing and amazing color.

    Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  55. You need to test run Lipstick Queen anything! Their Saint collection is so perfect for summer sheers and I’m increasingly obsessed with the Liptropolis shades, inspired by old New York!

  56. I loved this post so much! Her comments on each colour are funny, and I was so amused by the “purple” one she tried getting all over the place. I can’t wait for the next one!

  57. Definitely no1 by ysl! Such a classic.

  58. Love seeing all the different shades on Caroline!
    Aside from Ruby Woo, I love NARS Schiap, a gorgeous matte bright pink, and NARS “velvet matte lip pencil”, that I have in Red Square, an orangy red that’s not too bright. It’s matte yet soft and velvety, and the pencil shape is awesome to apply.
    For a darker red that’s not too purple or brown (SO hard to find!), I love MAC’s Viva Glam #1.

  59. Say what you will. Think what you want, but there’s not a lipstick yet made that could make you look bad.

    You’re as pretty as can be.

  60. The lipsticks all look great, but let’s talk about those eyebrows. Fantastic!

  61. I’d love to see Schiap on you! I love my Schiap, though it’s a little too crazy-bright to wear TOO often.

  62. Great post! And she wears all of these shades so beautifully. Have a great day!

  63. revlon stormy pink is great on EVERYONE. i love how its great with one coat or four–for more color.

  64. revlon stormy pink is great on EVERYONE. i love how its great with one coat or four–for more color.

  65. LOVE! What a wonderful series – I’ve just recently gotten into wearing “adult” makeup (at 26…) and am in love with lipstick. I love the first hot pink and your second orange (and of course, who does’t look amazing with a red lip). Thank you for such a great series!

  66. i LOVED the orange flip even though caroline said she felt awkward in it. she looked gorgeous!!!! and i’ve also seen her wear it with a long gray dress—the gray and orange was a great color combination. thanks, caroline!! excited to see next week’s colors :)

  67. This post makes me want to leave work right now and go buy some Ruby Woo! I’ve been trying to get the perfect red but the ones I pick out always end up looking more orange. Caroline is so stinkin cute!

  68. This is awesome!! I love seeing how different shades of lipstick can change your whole look!! Could you write a post on how to figure out what colour of lipstick would look good on your skin tone etc?

    Love your reviews of each too!

  69. Mac hug-meis the one I would choose, if I could only wear one for the rest of my life… but I think I might give your favorite a go! For Red, try Mac Dubonet. It is life changing and me and my girlfriends are constantly sharing it when we are out, because it literally works on EVERY skin tone. Not kidding.

  70. I must say. I love this post. I totally resonate with your thought on “Orange Flip” I have a similar color and question why I wear it. “Marvelous Moxie” is so lovely! I’m surprised you got weird looks. I love it on you. Nicely done Caroline. :)

  71. i swear by ruby woo! been using it for years.

  72. Caroline, you are hilarious! And you look fresh and pretty in every shade. (I love most the one you love most, though. hehe d:)b)

  73. Bite had a tin of four mini lippy’s over christmas my cute BF put in my stocking; a nude, a neutral-ish mauve, a hot pink and a red. I love the finish, but wish they worse slightly better.

    I adore Revlon’s lipsticks! The ones you’ll have to pry from my cold dead hands are Fuchsia Fusion Plumalicious, and Kiss me Coral.

  74. Oh! I wish I wore lipsitck more. My husband HATES it. My boys don’t like it and ask me not to wear it…so I usually just wear lip balm. BUT, it looks so lovely on you. Maybe I can sneak in a few brighter colors this summer ;)

  75. Love this! At the end of the month it would be interesting to see side by side comparisons of similar shades– maybe in a save or splurge list.

  76. I laughed out loud at my desk at the part where your boyfriend said you looked pretty but had no idea you were wearing makeup. Ah men!

  77. Yes! Love this series already. Going to stop at my local beauty store and try that Laura Mercier sheer lipstick on my way home from work. Happy Friday, Joanna & Caroline!

  78. I LOVE Ruby Woo.
    Try Nars Dragon Girl. My favorite! Great for brunettes.

  79. Ah! I’ve been looking for a good, red lipstick. I’ve tried two in the last month and both have failed. One was Sephora and the other Rimmel from Target. I’ll guess I should give MAC’s a try! Great experiment. Thanks for sharing!

  80. You can carry them all off but my favourites are 1 and 5.

    I’m always a bit scared of a bold lip colour – I’m blonde and I worry I just look tarty rather than Gwen Stefani cool!

  81. My husband had the same reaction to Ruby Woo, but I loved it. That’s definitely my go to red color now, and I am amazed at how it looks good on almost everyone (I’m AA).

  82. Love the orange flip! It looks so good on Caroline. But I can see why it would be her least favorite… the thought of wearing orange lipstick terrifies me.

  83. I’d love to see Nars Schiap on you!

  84. i don’t have the balls for orange, but it’s so lovely on you. i think my fave is the laura mercier sheer lip, for the natural look.

    how about shades of brown lipstick soon?

  85. This comment has been removed by the author.

  86. This is so fun! Orange lipstick makes me wary, also, but I LOVE Stila’s Outrageous (over balm). My favorite red is Nars Dragon Girl (also over balm). Can’t wait to see next week’s picks!

  87. Haha, I love this!! It makes me want to go shopping even though I have at least 14 different lipsticks/glosses in the bottom of my purse.

    I use Clinique’s chubby sticks – would love to hear your thoughts!

  88. Love #1 and #4 on you. Have you tried NARS Niagara? Think it would also look great.

  89. Totally agree with Sherryyo – the most I’ll wear is Benetint lip/cheek stain and some coconut oil on top for shine. Lipstick always seems like it would be goopy and come off on my teeth. Or too noticeable. But when other people wear a bright red or pink, it often looks really great and not over the top at all.

  90. Thank you so much for the compliments and suggestions! I’m adding these to the list. You guys are the best!

  91. I love Laura Mercier’s products. Must try this color since I also have dark hair and light complexion.

    Wishing I looked as young and beautiful as Caroline!

  92. Any and all NARS but NYX makes some super saturated lip colors in different finishes and a million color options… and they’re super cheap. great for experimenting! Oh and those Revlon chubby crayons!

  93. This is such a fun post! I have always had the philosophy I should wear shades that look subtle on me, and have stuck with “tried and true” choices for years – but after seeing how gorgeous Caroline looks in so many different colors, I may decide to experiment! Looking forward to more colors next week!

  94. I LOVE this post. Such a great idea.

  95. Lipstick is totally my Everest, in terms of make-up. I will wear pretty much anything else, but I feel like lipstick is too bold for me, despite the fact that I love it on everyone who wears it. My friend says her thing is blush. Isn’t that funny how we all have something? Maybe this could be a future blog post on Cup of Jo! ;) Anyway, I really like this series, the pictures help to see the differences. I might try that Laura Mercier one…

  96. Haha, your boyfriend’s commentary is so cute :)

  97. Have you tried the Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks? I love the shades: “69”, “streak”, and “Manic”

  98. I’ve been wanting to try a hot pink one! I’ve been rocking NARS’s matte lip pencils but would love to know what you think in comparison to the other brands. It has longevity but some days I feel like it just doesn’t work…Dragon Girl is my person favorite!

  99. I’m such a Laura Mercier junkie, and now I’m going to have to try that lip color – love it!

  100. That Ruby Woo looks great on you and makes me want to buy it.

    Also, I totally think one can pull off a day vamp lip. I’d love to see you try a “Lorde style” color.

  101. MAC Lipstick’s DESIRE. Wore it for my wedding (with a red sari).

  102. I laughed, too! – ‘I could tell he had no idea I was wearing make up.’ My favorite was the first and last. Can’t wait for more!

  103. This post makes me want to go lipstick shopping today. Every color looks great on you!

  104. The orange one looks fabulous on you! I’ll have to try a similar shade:)

  105. Ruby Woo is going on my MUST TRY list i keep in my brain.

  106. Haha so interesting and made me laugh out loud! Welcome Caroline, I’m glad Joanna got you on board :)