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Five Great: Products for a Party Polished Neutral Lip Under $10 | Manolo for the Big Girl

Five Great: Products for a Party Polished Neutral Lip Under $10

Fashion, like every curse, is cyclical, and makeup is no exception. We’ve been having a serious smudgy-eyes, slap of lipgloss moment for a little long while now. That’s great, but as the winter party season is getting into full swing, I’ve noticed the fine art of the polished neutral lip has eluded many, many women who really ought to know better and it’s leaving otherwise perfect party looks a bit haphazard and undone. Have we forgotten how to do an evening neutral?

A nude or neutral lip takes just as much effort as a bright. It’s the colors, not the technique, that changes. Here are the five products I use for my evening-appropriate neutral lip.


N.Y.C. Automatic Lip Pencil in Naughty Nude

I think I’ve already sung the praises of N.Y.C.’s Big Apple cream blush stick as a total game changer and the only blush I’ll ever love, so I shouldn’t have been so surprised when this historically inexpensive drugstore brand produced what is essentially a duplicate of Chanel’s “Roux” lipliner with all the payoff at one-tenth of the price.

Naughty Nude is a warm toasted brown, a little darker than you might think you’d want for a neutral lip, but it translates to depth and richness, not darkness once you put it on.

I know it’s been the fashion to line your lips and then fill in with a pencil, but for this application I truly just line the outside and then fill in only the corners of my lips, smudging inward to create a more three-dimensional pout. This is especially handy if you’ve got flat or large lips like your pal Plummy. A bit of depth helps them from visually taking over your (my) face.


Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in Rosy Nude

Is it just me, or has Revlon really been bringing their A game to the lip color scene recently?

I honestly can’t tell you the last time I’ve worn straight outta-the-tube lipstick on a regular basis. Probably not since Chanel reformulated my beloved “Energy” but Revlon might just change that.

Rosy Nude reminds me of nothing so much as the sort of lipstick models wear in commercials where they’re not supposed to be wearing any makeup and of course they just happen to look fresh and dewy and flawless because when you’re a model, you just roll out of bed looking camera ready (I, on the other hand, look like a tearful rhinoceros doing her best Winston Churchill impersonation…in a fright wig).

I also appreciate it’s fragrance-free.

It’s not that I really ever minded a little scent in my lipstick, and I know folks of a certain generation love the smell of old school lipstick, explaining the success of the pretty but surprisingly proletarian “Lipstick Rose” scent for Frederic Malle, but it’s nice to be able to pick a lipcolor without worrying whether it’s going to affect your sense of smell, taste or bother anyone you might be smooching.

Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in Soft Nude

Don’t trust the Amazon image, which is much more lavender than the actual product. I’ve posted the image with the closest color reproduction I could find.

Muchas gracias to the original photographer.

On me, Soft Nude is considerably paler than my natural lip color, so it’s not a shade I’d wear all over unless I was going for a very nude lip, like this Edie Sedgwick look from the always brilliant Samantha Chapman (tutorial here). Actually, I don’t think Sam is even using a lipcolor at all here. If I remember correctly I think she used concealer on her lips. You could do that, of course, but a pale nude is much more wearable.

What I use it for is as a lip highlighter.

For my evening look, I line my lips with Naughty Nude, filling in the outer corners a bit as I’d mentioned, then I apply Rosy Nude all over the lip.

The Soft Nude goes on the middle of the upper and bottom lips in the center half to bring the center of my lips visually forward, a trick Brigitte Bardot used to great effect, enhancing her already perfect pout.

If you’re a perfectionist you could blend it with a lip brush, but I’m not so I either buff it with my ring finger or make a few gentle kissyfaces.

Next comes the lipgloss.

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Perfect Peony

Again, the Amazon image on my screen is too blue like it seems to be with all the Revlon images, but it really is a perfect neutral peony.

I apply this in a thin layer all over the lip when I know I’m going to be eating or drinking, or if touch-ups won’t be practical, it’s sheer enough to let the other colors play through but adds longevity to the look.

Admittedly it dries a little sticky, so I wouldn’t wear it without a slicker, more moisturizing gloss on top.

The color is amazing, doesn’t peel or kiss off, but for me this is not a standalone product. It’s great as part of this look an I’d wear it for a regular day look topped with (lots) of hydrating lip gloss, but if you’re looking for one lippie to toss in your bag and be done with it, you’ve got better bets elsewhere.

Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Rosegold

Now THIS is what I’m talkin’ about!

I swear this is a spot-on dupe of MAC’s Lychee Luxe Lipglass and just about the prettiest gloss I’ve come across in a month of ice cream sundaes. It’s shimmery without being glittery, shiny without being goopy and incredibly easy to wear.

The shape of the sponge applicator is new and takes some getting used to for those of us used to the traditional doe foot, but I like it and gives excellent one-pass coverage.

For my evening look I just top everything off with a slick of this gloss but if I wanted to do a low-key everyday neutral, I could easily see myself wearing the Rosegold over the Rosy Nude without thinking twice.

Do you have favorite products for a neutral evening lip? Requests for other product recommendations or reviews? Put it in the comments and have a fantastic weekend!

12 Responses to “Five Great: Products for a Party Polished Neutral Lip Under $10”

  1. Monica H. December 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    I need to learn how you do that eye makeup plskthx.

  2. Rubygirl December 10, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    Plumcake, I am TOTALLY feeling you on all the Revlon love. I think I have 3 of the 4 Revlon products you list. I just love their lipsticks and their nail polish also works for me. And I like their colors the best.

  3. beth December 10, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    How about a tutorial on that EYE, gorgeous! DANG, WOMAN!

  4. Miss Plumcake December 10, 2011 at 3:16 am #

    @Beth and Monica H: There’s a link to the whole look where it says “tutorial here” in the post. This was one of her earlier looks, so if you’re interested in makeup artistry, Pixiwoo is a great resource.

  5. Rebekka December 10, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    Are these for someone with yellow or blue undertones? Cause I am not a Someone who can do beigey stuff. Also I suck at picking lipcolor.

  6. Andrea December 10, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Yes, Revlon is kicking some serious a$$ with lipsticks lately, but you will have to pry my red lipstick from my cold, dead hands!

  7. Thea December 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    would adore a product review on red lipsticks. I was at Sephora recently asking for one and the sales person did not know what I was talking about when I said I needed a red/orange NOT blue/red. Literally did not know. Shouldn’t that be on the Sephora staff application form?

  8. SarahDances December 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Thea – Sephora hires a massive amount of people on for the holiday season, who often have no real makeup experience (I was one of them, once!). They have a fancy training program for their employees, but they don’t bother with the holiday hires.

  9. Thea December 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    @SarahDances, true enough, I’ve been a holiday hire in my past, but unfortunately I’ve seen this woman in my local Sephora for over a year so I know she’s a regular employee. Now I have to dodge her when I shop there :-(

  10. Katharine December 12, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Thea, if you are looking for a neutral red, try NARS. I’m yellow, and most reds are far too blue/pink for me, but I’ve had success with many NARS shades (I now own four).

    As for the rest of it, I am in awe of anyone who will use five products on one mouth for one occasion… I am one of those lazy chicks who smears a tube of something on and calls it done. Haphazard and undone is rather a trademark of mine. Mind you, the Neutral Lip, in any variation, one product or ten, makes me look like a jaundiced zombie anyhow.

  11. Thea December 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    @Katharine — oooooh thanks for the tip! I’ll check out Nars and I love that someone else believes in ‘neutral red lipstick’

  12. Sara Darling December 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    I’m pretty fond of Laura Mercier lip-something-or-other (it looks like lipstick but is very moisturizing) in “Maple.” It’s a pinky-brown and a bit darker than most nude (when nude is skin-tone-adjacent for caucasians) lip stuff. If I’m doing skin-tone nude lips, I feel like I have to go all out on the eye makeup. If I just want to look put together but not super made-up (minimal eye makeup), this is just a shade browner/darker than my natural lip color.