My favorite shade of lip color is one that's hard to pin down. It's halfway between a taupe and a mauve, kind of gray, kind of lavender, with just a touch of brown. The color itself isn't all that dramatic, but when worn on the lips, it can read as such, especially when you have fairer skin like me. Drama or not, I happen to think it's flattering and complimentary on all skin tones.
It's pretty. It's grungy. It's the perfect in-between, a color that can't really make up its mind. It will work well with whatever you wear with it and is basically a new neutral (although I'm the same guy that will tell you that cheetah print is a neutral — it is! — so maybe approach with caution).
It's a really good "Tynan Color," but it is hard to land, and I find myself using the hell out of the one I've had for a while. The last couple of months have brought three new ones into my life, so I figured I'd round them all up for you (me) and see if you can vibe out with me.
Let's first touch on each end of the spectrum and then meet in the middle.
On the grayer side of things:
The new Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipsticks in Chill Zone
If a gray lip intimidates you, don't let it. They can be as elegant and understated as they can be a statement. It all depends on who's wearing it and how. That's a good rule of thumb for everything by the way (and you're right, I am a genius).
Chill Zone is a silky, deep, rich gray, as much as grays can be rich. Some grays can have tinges of green or blues in them, but this one is a gray with just a touch of brown tones.
It's deep enough that it's not going to wash you out or bring out any redness on your face. I read somewhere last week that you shouldn't wear liquid lips without a full face of makeup and that, my friends, is some bullshit. I see the logic behind it for some instances I guess, and I myself have thought the same thing at times, but don't take that as a general rule because those don't exist. Just do whatever you want.
I've been cranky about it since last week because obviously I can't let anything go.
Anyway, begrudgingly moving on. The Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipsticks are new and in terms of formula, they're bangers. I love them. They're not knocking my favorite liquid formulas off of their pedestals, but they are very good. The liquid is pillowy soft, not thin, but not moussey like some, either. They dry down matte with no transfer, they're comfortable to wear, and they stay where you put them. A good liquid formula is getting easier to come by, and I couldn't be more thrilled.
In terms of other gray liquids, here it is up against some of my other favorites, so you can see how different it is from the others.
As you can see, when Chill Zone is placed next to other grays, the touch of brown really stands out. The NYX Liquid Suede in Stone Fox has strong blue tones, while ColourPop's Ultra Satin Lip in Petit Four is a lighter gray with less blue. Now, to the lavender side of things:
Jeffree's liquid lipstick formula is one of, if not my absolute, very favorite. It goes on thin but incredibly opaque so you can do your full lips without dipping back into the tube. It dries down and feels like you aren't wearing anything, and it does. not. budge. You know that infuriating lip line you get after a couple hours of wear? You don't get that with these, and you don't have to sacrifice comfort, either, because they don't dry you out. In terms of stay power, his are the absolute best. Colors, too. No one has better colors than he does.
I gasped when I saw Scorpio because it's the exact color I'd been waiting for. It's a lavender-meets-gray shade, but it still leans more lavender.
Lavender is a big part of my #brand, but it's pretty hard for a lot of people to pull off on their lips. I'm not saying it can't be done — it certainly can! It just can't be done by me. But, when mixed gray, it creates a gorgeous hue that anyone can pull off, and I have been doing so frequently.
For the shade that leans the most brown:
There's a reason that the Liquid Suedes are hard to get your hands on: They're real fucking good. The formula and price point make them one of the most quality and affordable liquid lipsticks you can get, and they fact that you can land them at your local Ulta or drugstore makes them even more appealing.
NYX just launched 12 new shades that are all beautiful, but as soon as I saw Brooklyn Thorn, I knew it was over.
It's a grayed-sable brown with heavy purple tones mixed in.
Brooklyn Thorn is the most brown of the four, but it's not warm or red enough to to seem '90s.
The final one is the boss shade, the one that's been my OG since it was released, and inspired this entire article. It meets right in the middle, creating just the right shade that swirls up everything for the perfect mix of a mauve and taupe.
The first time I applied Kapow, I just knew. I liked it in the tube, sure, but when it dried down on the lips, the gray-lavender vibes really came to the front, and I knew that this was my color.
It's a really successful three-way of lavender, gray, and brown. It's cool-toned, it's murdered out, it's mysterious, and it always gets a second glance.
It's almost equally gray, purple, and brown, but the lavender vibes are what come out just a little bit more, making it a little witchy and taking it to the next level.
It's dark — the darkest of the four just by a hair — but it's not a black lip. It doesn't even come off as a dark purple. It's got this muted, deadened vibe to it that doesn't demand attention, but always gets it. It looks great with whatever you wear with it, whether it's complementing what you're wearing, or the star of the show. I love it so much that I always make it the focal point of my look.
Here are all four colors swatches side by side.
Are you guys on board with me? What is this color even called? What is your absolute favorite lip color? Tell me and SHOW ME in the comments!
Tynan is wearing lipstick on Twitter @TynanBuck.