Go Figure: Red Isn't the Most Popular Lipstick Shade After All

Updated 05/03/18
best pink lipstick: woman with light pink lipstick
H&M

I don't know why, but I always assumed red was the most popular lipstick shade. I'd probably simply fallen victim to the stereotypes my industry puts out in the world—red is the colour of choice amongst Old Hollywood starlets and Parisian It girls; it must be the shade we all hold dearest. I had a hunch that if I were to ask a cross section of makeup wearers, they'd either respond with a firm "red" or wax lyrical about their favourite nude.

But I was wrong. According to Net-a-Porter's latest beauty trends forecast, the colour on most British women's lips is in fact, pink. I know, right? Pink? Granted, it's a slice of a shade spectrum that shouldn't be overlooked but I just didn't see it coming. When faced with a rainbow of shades, who knew that most women would reach for a cerise, a fuchsia or a tea rose?

When you drill down to it, it makes sense. Pink isn't as shouty as a pillar-box red, nor is it as "nothing-y" as a nude. It's that perfect Goldilocks-style middle ground. In fact, the right shade of pink will perk up the complexion just as well as a pop of blush. According to Net-a-Porter's stats, it's not just the UK that's keen on the shade. In 2016, red lipstick was the favourite in France, but even they've made the switch to buying more pinky hues in the past year.

The only cities that have not yet clocked onto its power are Los Angeles, New York and Singapore, where a rich red is still king—but for how long, I wonder? Whether you're already one of these pink lipstick–wearing wonders, or are yet to join the rebellion against red, I've listed some of the best pink lipstick shades I've ever tried below.

best pink lipstick: NARS Limited Edition Erdem Colour Collection Lipstick in Moon Orchid
NARS Limited Edition Erdem Colour Collection Lipstick in Moon Orchid $22
Shop

Every single element of the new NARS x Erdem collection is heavenly, but particularly this buttery lipstick. It's like a dirty Barbie pink—fresh and pretty but without being too sweet.

best pink lipstick: 3ina Chubby Lipstick in 104
3ina Chubby Lipstick in 104 $8
Shop

Requiring little to no precision to apply, 3ina's chubby crayons are the most low-maintenance form of lipstick going.

best pink lipstick: YSL Beauty Tatouage Couture Liquid Lipstick in Rose Illicite
YSL Beauty Tatouage Couture Liquid Lipstick in Rose Illicite $27
Shop

Prefer your lipsticks liquid? YSL's feel no heavier than a water colour paint but have the pigment payoff of a gouache. And this tea-rose shade looks dreamy buffed into the cheeks and across the eyelids too.

best pink lipstick: Laura Mercier Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick in Fab
Laura Mercier Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick in Fab $22
Shop

Matte without that tight friction, Laura Mercier's lipstick sticks are super vibrant, showing up on dark skin without a hitch, especially this magenta. I've already written about why I love them so much over here.

best pink lipstick: Rodin Luxury Lipstick in Winks
Rodin Luxury Lipstick in Winks $28
Shop

The brightest cerise going, Rodin's lipstick is formulated with apricot and argan oils, so won't dry lips out in the slightest.

best pink lipstick: MAC Amplified Creme Lipstick in Saint Germain
MAC Amplified Creme Lipstick in Saint Germain $18
Shop

A bubblegum-pink shade that looks great set against a bare face and tonnes of mascara. Ever wondered what the most popular MAC lipstick shades are? We know. 

best pink lipstick: Dior Dior Addict Lacquer Pump Lipstick in After Party
Dior Dior Addict Lacquer Pump Lipstick in After Party $26
Shop

Dior's new liquid lipsticks give off bands of brilliant gloss without going sticky. This fuchsia is just a few shades away from a tomato—the perfect comfort zone if you're used to wearing reds. ■

That'll teach me to be wary of beauty stereotypes, won't it?

Related Stories