If you're a lipstick lover who also happens to be a person of color, then I don't need to tell you that locating the perfect shade can be a hassle. Almost every brown and black woman has had the unfortunate experience of staring at the mirror in horror while applying a shade that looked amazing in the tube but turned out ashy or clownish on her skin. It's the worst.
Unlike shopping for skincare or even hair products, it takes a lot more than just reading a product description to know if a lip color will suit our skin. Now that brands have started offering more vast shade ranges that include colors that actually complement darker skin tones, the world of lipstick has expanded profoundly for gals of all backgrounds who just want to have a a little fun with their makeup. No more mixing four different shades to get the perfect one!
From one brown girl to another, I'm honored to gift you with this go-to guide to the lipsticks shades that will look so chic on your brown skin. We deserve. Ahead, check out 25 of the best choices on the market right now, for every budget.
If you want to spend $10 or less, try…
It's no secret that the shades accepted as universal nudes across the beauty industry just don't take black or brown women into consideration. Maybelline got it right with this range of nudes, and I'm an especially big fan of this one.
This orange-tinged brown shade by ColourPop is perfectly earthy and especially complementary to skin with red undertones.
This chocolaty-brown matte lip is so beautiful. The color payoff is shockingly good for a drugstore brand.
Here's another red-berry hybrid that's subtle enough for everyday wear but pops right off our glorious brown skin.
Have a little fun with your lip color with this fuchsia lip by Nyx. It's a soft, matte formula that dries down perfectly even across the pout. If the pink is a touch too bright for your taste, you can easily tone it down a bit with a light outline of chocolate brown or deep purple lip liner.
If you want to spend $20 or less, try…
Owning this OG matte red is practically a rite of passage for brown girls everywhere. There's a good chance it's your mom's favorite, your best friend's favorite, and your favorite, too.
A matte nude is difficult to come by, but especially for us deeper-toned ladies. Well, I'm happy to report that this one by Kat Von D is a solid option. It doesn't look ashy, and it has some serious staying power.
If you found yourself researching how to mask dark under-eye circles and happened upon a video showing how to do it with red lipstick a few years ago, there's a good chance you learned about the hack from Live Tinted founder Deepica Mutyala. In fact, her viral video was the impetus for this line of buildable, demi-matte lip color and skin corrector sticks.
Lime Crime has been making vivid liquid lips that serve women of color just as well as our fair-skinned counterparts since before it was trendy to do so. It's not surprising that there are literally dozens of suitable shades available, but I'm especially into this one that a makeup artist friend recommended recently.
This lightweight liquid lipstick by Flesh is the kind of product you apply and forget it's even there. (Except when you look in the mirror, of course.)
No one knows how to formulate a nude lip for women of color quite like women of color. That's why KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson's range of nudes is so spot-on.
Another line known for its vast shade range, Anastasia Beverly Hills has loads of shades that perfectly complement black and brown skin tones. This dusty rose-colored liquid lip is one of them. If you find it sits a little too prominently on your lips, you can neutralize it by applying a lip liner that closely matches your skin, and blending it out for a smoother transition into the mauve color.
It's so easy for brown girls to get stuck in a never-ending rotation of red, berry, and brown lippies. This metallic bronze from The Lip Bar is a good reminder that our complexions are capable of supporting some seriously fun shades.
A deep berry is a tried-and-true colorway for us girls with deep skin tones. This one by Covergirl is stunning and affordable.
If you want to spend $30 or less, try…
Here's another solid nude shade that's actually nude on women with darker skin tones. Rihanna would never lead us astray!
The beauty of this deep berry shade extends far beyond the color itself. It's also a totally clean formula—a category in which shades for women of color are not often available. After you swipe this hydrating color across your lips, you can take the stick to your cheeks to add a natural flush there, too.
There's no shortage of shade-inclusive nudes on this list, but hey, it's only been a few years since women of color could easily access a shade that even remotely qualified as nude, so we won't be apologizing for our enthusiasm. This is another winner by Uoma.
Who What Wear's editor in chief has been a big fan of this Los Angeles–based clean beauty brand for some time now, and while I've only recently made its acquaintance, I am head over heels, too. Clean formulas that not only show up on brown skin but totally show out? Sold.
This goof-proof red lip crayon is like a liner and lipstick in one, and it's so easy to use. It's a fiery red that really pops on brown skin, too.
If you want to spend $40 or less, try…
This rich, shiny red has a bit of shimmer in the formula, so the finish has an almost wet look.
A solid everyday berry lip is a must for any woman, and this shade from Bobbi Brown is one brown girls can rely on. It's a deep hue with a soft satin finish that can be worn more sheer or layered for more intense color and coverage.
This is the lipstick to reach for when a DNA test reveals that you're 100% that bitch.
Mindy Kaling is a fan of this terra-cotta flesh tone from Mother.
There are quite a few reds on this list, and they all offer something a little different that solidifies their spot. This matte liquid red is bright and fun, plus it won't dry out your lips. Even the name is a vibe.
If you want to spend $50 or less, try…
My love for this vinyl lip lacquer runs so deep. Not only is the color vibrant and eye-catching, but the high shine factor is truly out of this world. It's my power color, for sure. I wore this shade to my first job interview at Who What Wear, and—spoiler alert—I got the job.
Up next, these are the best red lipsticks for deep skin tones.
This article was published at an earlier date and has been updated.