Like many women I know, I've tried my fair share of red lipsticks, and with mixed results. Burgundy lipsticks, which look so cool on some blondes, make my lips look conspicuously thin (maybe I should watch this tutorial); true reds are better, but sometimes too overwhelming. (For context, I look like this.)
About two years ago, after trying to find the name of the lip color used in J.Crew's September 2012 catalog, I discovered Nars's matte lip pencil in "red square" (h/t Lauren Sherman, then writing for Luckymag.com). This lipstick isn't bright so much as brightening -- the effect I'd hoped for every time I ever put on a red lipstick. It's more interesting than a true red, too, which is why I noticed it in the J.Crew catalog. I'll wear it with just about everything, but it looks extra good with a crisp white oxford or an aqua-colored sweater. As a bonus, the pencil is so chubby and easy to apply you don't need lip liner.
Nars velvet matte lip pencil in red square, $25, available at Nordstrom.
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