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7 Lipstick Shades Every Woman Needs in Her Makeup Bag

Updated: Feb. 14, 2023

Pucker up! With only a handful of staple lipsticks, you can create the perfect look for any occasion.

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Warm weather calls for coral

If there’s one lipstick shade that will last you throughout summer and spring, it’s a gorgeous coral. With its blend of pink and orange pigments, coral is the best lipstick color to complement a healthy glow and white, linen clothing. We love the Clinique Long Last Lipstick in ‘Runway Coral‘, as it has enough pop to draw attention to your smile, but isn’t aggressively neon like your granny’s signature hue. To complete the look, wear no makeup aside from highlighter, peachy blush, and light mascara. Try these tips for melt-proof makeup to beat summer’s heat. The shade pictured here is Hype Girl by Colour Pop.

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Cold weather calls for burgundy

Autumn is the ideal time to transition from your bright, summer lipsticks over to a deep burgundy. A rich maroon is one of the best lipstick shades for fall, as it pairs perfectly with the changing leaves and a darker wardrobe. E.l.f.’s Studio Moisturizing Lipstick in ‘Wine Tour’ looks stunning on any skin tone, and will likely become a go-to shade in your collection. For best results, wear copper eye shadow and minimal bronzer. Be sure to read these other fall and winter beauty dos and don’ts. The shade pictured here is Victory Red by Besame¬†Cosmetics.

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Nothing outshines a classic red

Every woman should have a classic red in her lipstick collection. This shade is timeless, powerful, and always makes a statement. Finding your perfect classic red requires some experimentation, but we suggest starting with the Milani Color Statement Lipstick in ‘Matte Passion or the Lancome Color Design Lipstick in ‘190 Red Addiction’. Once you’ve found the red that suits your skin tone and hair color, we guarantee you there’s no turning back. It’s simply one of the best lipstick shades of all time. Because classic reds are so dominant, it’s best keep the rest of your face bare, save for black mascara and optional eyeliner. Red lipsticks add instant glamour to any hairstyle, so you can sport anything from a ponytail, to bombshell curls, or a low bun. The shade pictured here is Trust Me by Colour Pop.

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Sometimes, you’ve got to go nude

The best lipstick shades don’t necessarily have to add a bold statement to your look. Case in point: nudes. Sometimes we want to wear lipstick for its velvet finish, illusion of plumpness, and even tone, but without being overpowered by an eye-catching, bright or bold color. The perfect nude lipstick will, of course, vary per person, but Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lipstick is sheer enough to suit most people. Having a nude in your lipstick collection is imperative, as it’s the one color you’ll never have to think twice about wearing on a daily basis. The shade pictured here is Coffee and Cream by Catrice Cosmetics.

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Nothing is sweeter than strawberry pink

Every woman’s lipstick collection needs to include a strawberry pink, if only for the sake of familiarity. This color was likely the first one you stole from your mom’s makeup bag to try on (i.e. draw all over your face). Little girls idolize strawberry pink lipstick as a rite of passage to womanhood. This color is firmly in your comfort zone, and therefore is always worth having on hand, plus it’s a shortcut to shaving five years off your appearance. The Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in ‘HD Temptation‘, in particular, looks fantastic with every skin tone and hair color. Learn other makeup artists’ tricks to look younger.¬†The shade pictured here is Hibiskiss-Proof by Catrice Cosmetics.

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Go dark with a vampy plum

In the same way every woman needs a strawberry pink to show off her feminine side, so too should she own a dark, edgy lipstick to portray her mysterious side. Lipstick shades in a vampy plum are perfect for a night out, and they pair seamlessly with any black dress. If you’re worried about applying it directly to your lips and looking like a scary Halloween costume, simply use your fingers to dab it onto your lips, and slowly build up the color to a level you’re comfortable with. If you aren’t sure where to start, we can’t get enough of the Maybelline New York ColorSensational Lipcolor in ‘Plum Perfect.’ The shade pictured here is Noir Red by Besame Cosmetics.

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Warm up to a shade of brown

While bright pinks, striking reds, and dark maroons are super fun, it’s also nice to have a warm option to turn to. Whether you lean towards a soft beige or dark chocolate, it’s essential to have one shade of brown in your lipstick collection. If you’re worried about looking like you’ve smeared chocolate frosting all over your mouth (we get it), start with the L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipcolour in ‘Toasted Almond.’ This subtle brown allows your lips’ natural, pink undertones to come through, so the tan doesn’t appear too intense. The shade pictured here is Chocolate Kiss by Catrice Cosmetics.