I’m not sure when lipstick became a cosmetic necessity in my life. From the time I ventured into the world of makeup in middle school until I became immersed in the YouTube makeup guru culture in college, I never really considered lipstick an essential part of my arsenal. During that in-between time when I thought wearing a foundation that was three shades too dark was the key to making me look more tan than I actually was, my lips were usually bare (and crusty – ick) or coated in a combination of this mauve CoverGirl lip stain and Burt’s Bee’s lip balm. Thankfully, the world of makeup has shown me that lipstick is not, in fact, exclusively reserved for old ladies going to church and can actually have a tremendous impact on your head-to-toe look.
One look at my Bitmoji (follow me on Snapchat if you don’t know what I’m talking about – @kitkatkaiti) and you can probably guess what my go-to shade is…. there’s something about that vibrant berry tone that makes me feel like I can do anything. But that doesn’t mean I’m not fond of other shades as well.
That’s why I decided to share with you my all-time top 11 favorite lipsticks. All of these sticks are at the top of my list when it comes to formula, color, and wearability and I know that if I lost every other piece of my lipstick collection, I would be perfectly fine if I just had these.
Milani Color Statement Lipstick in 45 Catwalk Pink (Cream) – $4.25, amazon.com
I wore this shade for my graduation and I absolutely love how it looked in pictures. Sometimes bright pink shades have the tendency to make my teeth look yellowish and that’s not really a good look on me, so to say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. Even better, this formula is creamy so it keeps my kisser hydrated even when I need to wear it for 12+ hours at a time!
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in ZZ (Cream) – $17, Sephora.com
Next up in the pink category is this creamy, satin-finish pink from Urban Decay. It’s more of a subdued pinkish purple, which is nice for those days when you want some color but you don’t want the color of your lips to be the focus of your ensemble. I think it is flattering on just about any skin tone and would go well with a variety of eye looks!
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Venom (Cream) – $17, Sephora.com
Another one of my favorite shades is this vibrant bright fuchsia that is surprisingly easy to wear. When I want to go for a sassy look, I tone down my eye makeup and wear neutral-colored clothes so that my lipstick becomes the statement piece. One time I wore this lipstick out to the bars and I remember getting quite a few compliments on my lipstick alone!
Milani Color Statement Lipstick in 70 Fearless (Matte) – $4.29, amazon.com
I don’t think there is a Milani product I’ve ever tried that I’ve disliked. They make high-quality cosmetics at drug store prices, but there is even more to love than just that. The packaging feels luxe and their products never feel gimmick-y or over-priced, which I feel is how a lot of drug store brands try to stay relevant. This shade is less berry and more straight up purple, which makes it all the more unique! Perfect for when you want to do something a little different. Best of all, the formula incredible – it’s matte, but not drying; it’s vibrant, but not patchy; it’s smooth to apply, but stays in its place. And for the price, there aren’t many true berry colors I would put in its place!
Kat Von D Beauty Studded Kiss Lipstick in Vampira (Matte) – $21, sephora.com
A true cult favorite, Kat Von D’s Vampira is a modern classic. There’s something that feels so edgy about the studded packaging and the bold blood-reddish burgundy color. This is truly one of my non-stop wears during fall and winter when the dying leaves make feel like spicing up my makeup look a bit and going for something dramatic. You might remember this guy from my #ootd post from last November when I went to my sorority’s Ultraviolet Gala. I almost always get compliments when I wear this shade, which makes me feel drawn to it even more!
Kat Von D Beauty Studded Kiss Lipstick in Slayer (Matte) – $21, Sephora.com
Speaking of dramatic, this pitch black shade is perfect for me when I want to express just how dead I am inside. (Kidding… Sort of.) In all honesty, I haven’t had many occasions on which a solid black lip is warranted, but when the occasion arises, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as knowing you have the perfect lipstick to meet it. I wore this for our sorority Bid Day celebration last year (it was jungle-themed… I dressed up as a cheetah, of course) and it was the perfect complement to my cat-eye look!
Maybelline New York ColorSensational Lipcolor in 645 Red Revival (Cream)- $5.50, amazon.com
This was the very first actual lipstick (as opposed to the aforementioned lip stain) I ever bought, which probably dates back to my senior year of high school. (When I was also into a super dramatic Cupid’s bow and ironic patriotism, apparently.) I wanted a true red – not a warm-toned orange-y red or a purple-y plum red or a dark pink. I wanted red. Classic red.
I remember feeling so gratified when I swiped this bad boy on for the first time to find exactly what I was looking for. Admittedly, this is probably not the most hygienic makeup practice, but there’s something sentimental to me about the first lipstick that ever made me feel truly excited about makeup. I might decide it’s time to throw it out someday, but for now this will always be a favorite in my collection.
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Bad Blood – $17, Sephora.com
The true, classic red I consistently wear now is this guy from Urban Decay’s pre-Vice collection. (I can’t remember what it was actually called and I can’t find it anywhere now… If you know what this collection was named, please leave a comment below!)
In case you couldn’t tell, I am an Urban Decay devotee and with good reason. In my opinion, Urban Decay lipsticks are the best of the best – High pigment? Check. Smooth formula? Check. Relatively low price point? Check. Cruelty-free? Check. What more could a girl ask for?
I suppose I should make a more concerted effort to expand my solid lipstick horizons like I have with my liquid lipsticks, but I’ve always wondered why anyone would mess with a good thing. I’m obviously always willing to try something new at least once, but so far the majority of my tried-and-true favorites have fallen with Urban Decay. Especially with reds.
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Ravenswood (Cream) – $17, Sephora.com
I bought this lipstick last summer and didn’t re-discover it in my collection until the nipple test started trending earlier this year. Yep – this dusty rose shade is a near-exact match to my nips and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m not sure how much real science is behind the nipple test, but (as I mentioned above) I’m not one to argue with a good thing. This shade is flattering for sure, which almost makes me think I bought it for that very reason to begin with! Plus, like I’ve said of the other Urban Decay lippies on this list, the creamy formula is super hydrating and easy to re-apply, which makes it perfect for 22nd birthday dinners out.
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Naked (Cream) – $17, Sephora.com
For some reason, these pictures make Naked and Ravenswood look almost identical. Although they are somewhat similar, the color payoff on my skin tone makes them look quite different. Where Ravenswood has more of a reddish undertone, Naked has a (logically) more pinkish undertone. Ironically, Naked does not, in fact, match my nips, so the pinkier vibe seems a bit more natural and subtle. It’s definitely my go-to for a fresh-faced springtime look.
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Oblivion (Matte) – $17, Sephora.com
Much like KVD’s Vampira, Oblivion is a color uniquely Urban Decay. I’m not sure what prompted someone to create such a grayish mauve, but I am certainly glad they did. I like Oblivion because it fills the gap between vibrant and subdued, between bold and subtle, and between bright and toned-down. (Those might be synonymous to the non-makeup junkie, but to me each of those distinctions definitely has a different meaning!)
What are some of your favorite solid lipsticks? Do any of mine match your list? Would you like to see a similar list of my favorite liquid lipsticks? Leave a comment and let me know!
Note: I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from some of the links in this post. I understand that might make some people uncomfy, but just know all of my opinions always have been and always will be my very own. Like the fact that I think mustard is a government conspiracy to thwart the condiment industry and I AM NOT AMUSED.