Fashion How To: Bold Lips as an Accessory

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Dare to wear bold and bright lipstick this Spring!

A woman wearing a bright lipstickphotos: dana for we heart this

Lately, my favorite beauty accessory to any outfit has been the perfect bold shade of lipstick. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting more mature (I am 32) and my style is more defined – getting bolder every year. Perhaps it’s because sometimes I think of lip gloss as being something so young, especially when so many of them are so glittery nowadays.

Don’t get me wrong, I still slick on some gloss, but the colors are more opaque and saturated with less shimmer and glitter. What I strive to perfect is the look of old Hollywood glamour lips, like in black and white movies. The kind of lips that if I was in a black and white film, my lips would still make a huge impact, without you even being able to tell exactly what shade of lipstick I was wearing.

And of course because I’m a beauty junkie, I don’t have just one color that I’m dedicated to, I have an entire lipstick wardrobe to fit my mood and contrast or compliment any outfit. Besides, if Honeysuckle is the color for 2011, you should definitely play around with bold colors in your beauty routine too.

Collage image of MAC’s Ruby Woo and Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Red Revival

Red: This is the boldest and scariest color of all time and everyone I talk to is afraid of rocking a red lip. But fear not, wht readers! I believe every woman should have a perfect red lipstick in her beauty arsenal and that everyone woman CAN rock a red lip with confidence. Why? How? Because without much effort (or other makeup needed), red lipstick makes an impact like no other color out there. It says you’re bold, sexy, sultry, and that you mean business, all in one little tube. And when going red, I suggest going more matte than glossy because glossy red lips can spiral down the line of cheap and tacky very quickly.

I went on a quest for the perfect matte red and have found that MAC’s Ruby Woo (above left) looks amazing on a range of skin tones. From fair to dark, this color is worth a try and the investment. Need a drugstore red that’s just as vivid, but not as matte? Try Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Red Revival (above right), it’s a winner. When or what should you wear your red lips with? EVERYTHING! From a white t-shirt and jeans to a full on ball gown, this color will give you a boost of confidence and a spring in your step. Just make sure to pare down the rest of your beauty routine. Think clean makeup, minimal blush and just mascara on the eyes to really let your red lips be a show stopper.

Paula Dorf Lipcolor in Bosa Nova

Pink: Pantone really stirred something up in me with their color of the year and I’ve seen hot pink lips on the runaways and on the streets and I love it. Hot pinks lips are a little less intimidating than red but still just as vivid, fun and fresh!

For a touch of Honeysuckle, try the Paula Dorf Lipcolor in Bosa Nova (left). Plus, you’re not limited to just bright pink! I’ve seen a range of pinks hitting the shelves – from baby pinks with a touch of purple and pale pinks with lots of frost to full on hot pink pouts – you have an unlimited selection.

Tip: I like pairing my pink lipstick with gray shadows and smoky eyes to play with the sultry and sweet in my beauty routine and to compliment my wardrobe.

A woman wearing lipstick

Orange: I think this is going to be a big color as the weather gets warmer and everyone gets a bit more tan (even me). Pairing a bold orange lip like CoverGirl Lip Perfection in Flame with turquoise eyeliner is a fun warm weather look that will go beautifully with fashion’s color blocking that I’m seeing (and loving) everywhere! Orange is also a great contrast against green and can really be a unique choice against jewel toned clothing.

For me when accessorizing my wardrobe, considering my beauty options is just as of a big consideration as a great pair of earrings or a pop of color in a bag. So what’s your favorite lipstick color to accessorize with?

DWJ is an accessories and beauty blogger for The Art of Accessories and is also sharing her love of cooking on Crumbs & Creativity.



  1. I’m slowly edging into the world of bright lipstick, so this post couldn’t have come at a better time; I need the encouragement! I’m finding that orange or orange/red lipsticks have been my go-to for bold color lately. I’m loving Revlon’s Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick in “Siren” right now. It’s a great deep coral/orange and I think it will help me ease into wearing red like a big girl, hah!

    What color/brand are you wearing in the first picture? I love it!

    1. I’m wearing Ruby Woo in the picture, love it. Oh and you should try CoverGirl’s In the Flame, it’s a gorgeous red orange shade that I’ve become obsessed with in the last week.

  2. This is such a great post, @dwj1 , and I have to say, you are adorable! I second @mandaleem ‘s question: what color are you wearing in the first pic?

    I literally feel like a different person when I wear red lipstick. It’s like a secret weapon for becoming bolder on the inside, too. MAC’s Russian Red is my go-to matte favorite. And while I agree with you about glossy red lips, hey, sometimes cheap and tacky is a good thing!

  3. Lipstick as an accessory is my favorite! I especially like very neon pink and magenta colors like MAC’s Petals and Peacocks, MAC’s Madly Magenta and Revlon’s Wild Orchid.

    I also love reds and have a million of them, but my favorites are MAC’s Classic Dame Mattene, Russian Red and DuWop’s Private Red.

    I usually match my lipstick with neutrals or only incorporate one color into the crease with neutral otherwise.

  4. Great post, @dwj1- I agree, lipsticks are great for many reasons. One of the best things about wearing them is that they stay put for longer periods of time and can brighten up your face in an instant. It’s just fun finding colors that work for you too. Dana, your lip color looks gorgeous!

  5. @dwj1, you look amazing in those bright lipsticks!

    My favorite bold lipstick is MAC’s Viva Glam Cyndi. It looks good on warm or cool toned skin, and seems to be a different shade of red on different people. It can be applied fairly sheer or layered on for a more intense look. I’m not brave enough to wear it all the time, but it’s my go-to bold lippie :)

  6. You ladies are so brave! I’ve yet to venture into the world of bold lips; it’s like my one last hurdle on the path to exciting makeup. I LOVE posts like this because it gives me options to go look and try. And we also get pictures of the lovely @dwj1 rockin’ sexy lips! :-)
    Great post, Dana AND WHT!

    1. Me too! I really want to wear a bold, bright lip, But am too scared. Mostly because I look ridiculous with dark lipstick – even @stef laughed at me the last time I tested one of the super bold MAC lipsticks. (She wasn’t mean – she’s always all “just try it” when I shy away from bold color. SO when I finally did, she was all “yea, that’s not a look for you” hee)

      Someday, I need to go there counter and just try on every single one – there has to be one somewhere that works!

  7. I totally agree with you @dwj1! Right now I looooove my Tarte natural lipstain in Lively. It’s a bright matte hot pink-verging-on-fuschia that stays put forever. When I wear it with pink cheeks and neutral eyes and a slash of black eyeliner on top and mascara I totally feel like Debbie Reynolds in Tammy–50’s movie star perfect. You don’t need much more than that makeup face to make a fashion statement!
    I also love my red lip tar for a stay-put 40’s meets 50’s movie idol face.

  8. Great post @dwj1 –I love using bold lipsticks to accessorize my outfits, but I typically only do this in the Spring and Summer. I’m not sure why–I tend to gravitate towards berries and deeper hues through the cooler months. Lately, I’ve been loving Revlon lipsticks–their re-issue of Fire & Ice in vintage packaging has brought me a lot of joy–it’s a bright orange red that looks amazing with pale skin and dark hair. Cherries in the Snow is the perfect bold, bright pink, and Cha Cha Cherry is a less intensely pigmented but still lovely coral shade. There’s something about a bright lipstick that just brightens your whole face :)

    1. Cherries in the Snow was my very first bright lipstick! And I had no idea Fire & Ice was re-issued. Thanks for the info– I’m going to try to track it down!

    2. OMG, I totally had Cherries in the Snow – and I was able to pull it off! Or just braver in my 20’s?

  9. When I was in my twenties I rocked the red lips EVERY day! I almost never do now that I’m a 36-year-old mom – and that’s ridiculous! Your post is inspiring me to vamp things up again, Dana. My all-time favorite go to red is Lancome’s Code Red, but I’m also crazy about a couple of the reds we’ve reviewed on this site, namely Julie Hewett’s Rouge Noir and Ellis Faas’ L101. My other long-time bold color is a bright pink, almost fuscia with some purple sheen Lancome color called Fascination – just stunning!

  10. I love wearing bold lips, but they’re so high-maintenance! I’m not a high-maintenance person, so normally my bold lips tend to be reserved for when I see my family and for concerts (which both are rare!). I should do them more often.

    My Go-to’s are:

    Concerts: Jemma Kid Siren (Blue-toned Red. It’s my perfect red.)

    Bright: Revlon Creme Gloss in Fiercely Fuchsia (super shiny opaque fuchsia lipgloss). I usually wear it over the Revlon limited edition fuchsia lipstick to make the wear time longer, but I’m blanking on the name.

    Berry: Benefit Nice Knickers. It can be bold on me if I apply three layers (I of the extremely pigmented lips) because I’m so pale.

    P.S. Oh God, bad memories of Cherries in the Snow. I had to wear layers of that color when I performed in The Nutcracker when I was little. I retaliated by wiping the color on the inside of the left sleeve of my light grey mouse costume. I HATED that color. It tasted bad!

  11. I did red lips for a long time and LOVED it! But that’s when I kept my hair darker. Now that I’m going the more natural route I’ve been trying a hot pink lip, and really loving it. There is a lot less maintenance involved with it as well. This is a great post, reminded me to dig around a little in my lipstick drawer and not settle for something safe.

  12. I like bold lips too! They really can transform a face. For a quick fix, I use Tarte’s lip stains in Enchanted and Lust which is a berry and red…because they are essentially lipsticks to me. I also like MAC’s Toxic Tale from the Disney Villains line. I feel like I look a bit more approachable and more together when I have a bold lip but it’s true, they are hard to maintain but worth it :)

  13. @tyna, haha, when I tried out OCC’s red liptar (at home, to get my courage up before I ventured outside), my mom saw me and went “um, what’s on your lips? That’s really RED.”

  14. On Sunday I picked up Milani Mandarian from CVS. It was cheaper online (plus it was a newly opened CVS) but I really wanted it so I purchased the tube. It looked good although I need a better liner to prevent featering and smearing. Suggestions?

    1. Kerissa I really like Maybelline’s lip liner, they have an invisible lip liner that they sell with the Color Sensational line and I pretty much use it when I’m wearing any bright color. Hope that helps!

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