Hot Holiday Lip Colors

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Posted by Staci Lehman on Dec. 2, 2018, midnight

There are at least two major winter holiday traditions that revolve around kissing – kissing under the mistletoe and kissing at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve – and probably several more obscure ones. If you think either of these traditions might be in your future, don’t forget your lips when you dress to impress this holiday season.

Along with holiday party staples of a sparkly dress and up-swept hairdo, don’t forget to dress your lips up too.  That means lush, colored lips.

While red is the traditional color of holiday lips and nails, not everyone is comfortable wearing it.

“The berry tones are always very popular and a little less intimidating than bright red,” said makeup artist Evelyn Mauro, owner of Makeup by Evelyn Mauro. “More people feel comfortable in these colors and they work with almost every skin tone.”

Man holding mistletoe and kissing a woman's cheek

Berry tones include plum, cranberry (a little more blue than classic red), orangish burgundy, and raspberry (a pinkish red).

The first step to wearing any color is to have the proper canvas.

“You have to start with an exfoliated lip,” Mauro said. “Color is always going to last a lot longer on an exfoliated lip, especially in the Pacific Northwest where it gets so dry.”

To keep your lips moist year-round, Mauro recommends drinking a lot of water and using a lip conditioner. While a lot of makeup lines offer conditioners, her favorite is Beautycounter’s Lip Conditioner in Calendula ($22, 0.4 oz.).

“I love the Beautycounter brand,” Mauro said. “It’s a non-toxic, fragrance-free line … and being that we literally eat a pound of lipstick a year, I like to use a brand with no parabens.”

Yes, you read that correctly: one pound. And since it is safe, Mauro says she is liberal with the lip conditioner, using it outside the lips as well to help reduce fine lines around them.

After that, she blots lips with foundation or concealer, powders the lips along with the rest of the face, and uses lip liner to keep color from bleeding or feathering.

Fading is another issue. To keep color looking fresh and vibrant as long as possible, Mauro recommends Beautycounter’s line of Color Intense Lipstick.

“The Intense line is more of a rich color,” she said. “The sheer line is less color.”

If, like many people, you have a problem keeping your lip color on throughout the day, using lipstick rather than lip gloss is generally your best bet for a longer wear.

“Lipstick is going to stay on longer and provide more color,” said Mauro. “That’s definitely due to the consistency and what it’s made of.”

Lipsticks are mostly made up of waxes like beeswax, candelilla or carnauba wax, along with various oils and heavy pigmentation that provides ample color, which stays on longer. In contrast, lip glosses are generally made of lanolin, petroleum or shea butter, typically with less pigment for a more sheet but less long-lasting finish.

If you are not sure which might be right for you, or which color, Mauro can help.

“I help customers choose their colors, determine what would go best with their skin tones and show them how to apply it.”

For a fun holiday look, Mauro suggests using a base layer of lipstick under a top layer of gloss. This effect not only lasts longer than lip gloss would on its own with a smoother finish than lipstick alone.

If you prefer a more subtle look, stick to one or the other. And traditionally, if you prefer subtle to dazzling, the rule is to play up one feature or the other. For instance, if you plan to wear dark, smoky eye makeup, generally you would downplay the lips. And vice versa. But Mauro says there are exceptions to every rule.

“I think that’s applicable for day but if you’re doing an evening look – dressing up for the holidays – it’s OK  to be dramatic and do both.”

And speaking of drama, you can create plenty of it with colors other than hot rod red these days.

“Red is always fun, but is sometimes more intimidating … I think if you stay within those berry tones, they tend to look good on any skin tone. Berry tones and rosy tones are really pretty,” Mauro said.