The Best Bright and Dark Lip Colors


My post on the best nude and soft pink lip colors can be found here.

I am the first to admit that I’m not quite the aficionada with dark/bright lip colors that I am with lighter ones. Nude and soft pink lip colors? I’m your woman, look no further, there should be a Guinness World Record Book title for me, etc. Darker and/or brighter colors? Eh, I know enough to get by. This is probably due to the fact that my day-to-day grind doesn’t really call for loud colors on my mouth. I mean, I’m not usually rocking the uber-bright fuchsia while working out or grocery shopping or at my son’s soccer practice, ya know?

Still, I think it’s very important to have a great red, a playful fuchsia, a creamy bright pink, and a sophisticated wine for when the mood strikes. Here are my top 8.

NARS Lipstick in Flamenco

This is the perfect red. It’s sheer and strawberry-hued, and seems to work on a variety of skin tones. I love it because it’s so easy to work with – one quick swipe and you have a nice stain, but you can build it up to a full-fledged dramatic lip. I’ve written about it here and here.

Burberry Natural Lip Gloss in Tea Rose

This is a truly pigmented coral pink gloss. It’s the most perfect shade for spring, and it’s what I wore in the Pantene commercial.

NARS Lipstick in Shrinagar

If you are looking for a lipstick with a berry/wine vibe, this would be perfect. It has enough depth to add dimension to your overall look, but isn’t overbearing at all. A great color for the office.

Sally Hansen Diamond 12 Hr Lip Treatment in Baguette

I wouldn’t really call this shade too bright or too dark, but once again, it’s a gloss that is truly buildable. A sheer hot pink, it makes you look like you just ate a cherry popsicle.

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick in Eternal #350

Hold on to your hats, ladies! This super bright fuchsia is so fun, and I feel like a completely different person when I wear it. Word to the wise, though. This particular shade is called “eternal” for a reason…it doesn’t budge once on. (By the way, thanks to my Facebook peeps for helping me avoid a potential lip crisis a couple weeks ago. Great tips!)

Korres Lip Butter Glaze in Quince

Drumroll, please. If I had to pick one lip product out of all of my lip colors (nudes and soft pinks included), this would be my winner hands down. I am in love with everything about this lip glaze. The applicator, the color, the taste, the shine, the consistency…LOVE. It’s like the perfect combination of a gloss and a lipstick, and none of the Ps. (Parabens, Petrochemicals, Phthalates.) It comes in five shades, so get thee to a Sephora immediately.

DiorAddict Lipstick in DiorKiss #578

Love this sweet, slightly punchy pink. Dior Addict lipsticks have the best consistency too – smooth, blendable, and lovely.

NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita

This is a good darker nude for lighter-skinned gals. It’s called a “sheer, dusty rose,” and would be perfect for the office. Plus, I’ve heard it works as a beautiful nude shade for darker skin tones.

Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite bright and dark lip colors?



  1. Love all the colors! What kind of eyeliner do you use? I have a hard time getting a think line with a pencil. I have pretty good luck with pot gel liners and am afraid of liquid eyeliner!

  2. You have great llips for lipstick! I’m a huge NARS fan as well, my favorites are Sex Machine (a light pink) and Cruella (a beautiful true red).
    laura @ hollywood housewife recently posted…hot young thing

  3. Don’t hate me for saying this but my eyes went straight to the photo of you wearing the bright fucshia lipstick a) Because you look genuinely happy with it on and b) Because the ladies of a certain RH franchise have been sporting it and I know it could be a fun look with darker skin.

    • Thanks, HB! And get thee to a drugstore pronto – I am willing to bet that color would look gorgeous on you.

  4. I love these posts! Some of my favourite lipsticks and glosses have been tips from you, eg Nars Dolce Vita and Chanel glossimer in Spark. It is interesting seeing the shades on you though as I did not appreciate how much skin tone and lip pigmentation influence the appearance – I also have dark brown hair and eyes but my skin is slightly olive. Dolce Vita is definitely a light pinky nude on me, and Shrinagar a light glossy berry that almost runs a bit purple. Off to find the Korres glaze – is this different from the butter in a pot?

    • I’m not sure if the Korres tube formulation is different than the pot, but it’s so much easier to apply in the tube. Plus, pots make me a little icky.

  5. We have similar coloring, though I’m a bit more olive but I have dark hair and eyes and medium skin. Since I’m having a lipstick/gloss crisis because my favorites are all discontinued. I fell in love with Vincent Longo Kiss about 5 years ago and can’t find it anymore. And my favorite Nutregena lip glosses are gone too and their new stuff doesn’t offer the same or similar colors or coverage. I hope the stuff that looks good on you will be a good starting place for me. Thanks for sharing Sarah!

  6. I’m a Nars junkie too; the three lipsticks I carry with me in my purse are your abovementioned Flamenco and Dolce Vita, and I have the berry pink one called Gipsy. For a light gloss I love Nars in Giza (kind of a coral-y pink that’s great for summer) and for a colored balm I love Clinique Superbalm in Black Honey. (I have a lipstick sickness. I’m ok with that.)
    narmalie recently posted…For Your Children

  7. I’m not much of a lip-color girl, but I got Korres lip butter in quince for my wedding (almost two years ago!) and it’s still my favorite! Natural and pretty. I’m sort of pale with blond hair, so it works well on fairer gals, too!
    Julie recently posted…Northampton, MA

  8. Ah… Flamenco! It’s what you wore to the Emmy’s, right? Ever since you had written about it, I’ve been moved to find a red for me. Thank you for this post.

  9. Nars Carthage & MAC Ruby Woo! Tied for first. The only downside is both matte and kind of drying, but their staying power is incredible, without staining. MAC Rebel also. More moisturizing, but it does stain (which I don’t mind, usually). There isn’t a lot to say about Carthage or Ruby Woo because they are basically just BRIGHT PINK and BRIGHT RED but I feel Rebel is kind of an unsung hero. You can buff it in as a stain but it is super build-able and lasts like crazy.

  10. *both are matte

  11. Ooo! Oooh! I have a beauty comment! It’s a first. I’ve been a MAC user for years, and for years, it has been Del Rio. I’m 1/2 Indian (olive skin) so it looks like a medium cool shade on me, looks like a darker mauve/plum on those with lighter-toned skin. I wear it practically every day, and it always looks good.
    Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks} recently posted…Parenthackers’ best Easter tips

    • You know, I have noticed your pretty lipstick when we’ve chatted in the past. Now I know what it is!

  12. Ok, I am OBSESSED with that hot pink number in the middle on you. OBSESSED. And second of all, I understand what you’re saying about being the queen of neutral lip glosses because I automatically gravitate towards those colors, too. It’s hard for me to break out of my shell a little bit. I recently picked up Nars HeatWave and it’s a really orangey red. At first I didn’t know if I was going to love it because it was SO much bolder than normal. But now it’s the one I reach for every day.
    Rachel recently posted…Getting ready for Easter

    • I definitely am looking for an orangey-red…need to try Heat Wave. Thanks, Rachel!

  13. love your saucy smile with the hot pink lipstick! you’re totally rocking it! i love nude and sheer lip colors as well, but i might just have to buy one of these gorgeous colors. thanks!

  14. my favourite dark shade is Chanels velvet – L’Exquise

    i LOVE the last one you posted! definitely be picking up one of those, thank you. ps. your hair is beautiful!
    chloe recently posted…i love shelves

  15. MauraLessa says:

    I loved both of these posts! I’m definitely going to pick up some of the pink/nudes. I have Nars Dolce Vita lip gloss. It’s a staple!

    Could you tell me what blush you are wearing in both posts? I love the natural glow it gives you.

  16. Flamenco Mom says:

    That Korres lip gloss looks gorgeous…I must try it! Lately, I’ve been loving on Jouer’s lipgloss in Birchbox Pink. It looks rather soft on me, but I suspect it would look brighter on someone with complexion similar to yours. I find it’s moisturizing and not sticky.

  17. Love those color. I have the same hair and skin color as you, so I think I will try a few.
    Seriously Sassy Mama recently posted…Lazy Day

  18. tinafreysd says:

    I really love you post you looks very stunning in here..I’m definitely going to pick up some of the pink/nudes. I have Nars Dolce Vita lip gloss. It’s a staple!
    tinafreysd recently posted…Understanding the Symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder

  19. i was just looking at this post and birdie runs over, looks at the screen, looks at me, looks at the screen and says “mama. awwwww mama.” haha! great compliment little bird. :)
    miss james recently posted…BITS + PIECES OF AUSTIN.


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