At any given time, I have approximately six lipsticks in my purse. That fact would probably come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, because it's not like I'm walking around rocking bold red lips on a daily basis. It's just that I'm slightly addicted to having the *perfect* barely there color on at all times. In fact, it's become sort of an obsession of mine — which has led me on a quest to find the best subtle lip colors that provide just enough color to leave people guessing about whether or not there's anything on my lips at all.
And it's probably not a surprise that that search led me to a cult favorite. I tried Glossier's Generation G lipstick when it first launched, and it was essentially love at first swipe. The "Like" shade is my go-to on days when I'm not wearing much makeup to give my face a hint of color that's basically undetectable, but I also love to wear the other colors when I'm looking for something more bold. The fact that the brand introduced a new version in 2018 that's bigger, doesn't break, and provides more color only solidified its status as my holy-grail product.
But my obsession with barely-there lip colors goes further back than that. In fact, it started in my high school days thanks to my introduction to another cult favorite — Clinique's Almost Lipstick in "Black Honey." And no, I'm not the only one to wax poetic about this product — it has more than 2,200 5-star ratings on Sephora's website alone — but I can personally attest to the perfect amount of color it provides and its surprisingly good moisturizing powers.
But a true lipstick lover can't live on two products alone — which is why, naturally, I have a long list of shades I call my favorites. Ahead, 10 of the best subtle lipsticks I've found (and how to use them to get the right effect) for when barely there color is all you really need.
This little compact was my introduction to this slightly under-the-radar brand, and I'm now completely obsessed. Though the product is a little dry, I've found that blending it with a tiny bit of lip balm makes it the perfect consistency, and its color is stunning. I use it on days I want a subtly moody lip.
I searched high and low for a lipstick that would give my lips color without being obviously there on my wedding day, and this won out over everything I tried. My trick is to build up the color by swiping a little bit on at a time, blending with my fingers, and then blotting any excess with a tissue to make it look even more natural.
Even when I wear red lipstick, I still like for it to look subtle — and this unusual lip mousse always does the trick. To use it, I start by swiping a tiny bit of balm on my lips (if you're dry, you'll have a hard time getting this to blend) and then I paint a tiny bit on with my fingers. The result is a natural-looking red.