Daily Grind: Best Lip Colors for Work

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I was planning to do my summer picks for lips and nails first, but as some of you may know, I just got a new job! Since I’m still in my first few weeks at the new office, I thought it’d be more relevant to share my work-appropriate lip picks instead.

For those of you that have a more casual dress code or otherwise not-customer-facing position, you can probably get away with rocking the brightest bright colors. Since my new position is patient-facing (I’m in health administration “in real life”), I’m expected to be a bit more toned-down with my looks. I absolutely love playing with makeup, and I really wanted some fun options that were appropriate for work without the soul-sucking repetition of a sheer lipstick like Chanel Boy every day (don’t get me wrong, it’s a great product, it’s just not enough personality for me). So here are my top 12 lip picks for the “conservative business casual” office.

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These are of course just shade suggestions and specific products that work for me. If the colors I’ve listed aren’t quite right for you, consider checking out other shades from the same product line to find what suits you best in a formula I can vouch for.

All of the products mentioned in this post are cruelty-free. Except for NARS Audacious lipstick in Anna, all other products mentioned in this post are vegan.

Kat Von D Everlasting liquid lipstick (Sephora, $20.00/0.22oz) – Easily my favorite formula of the “mainstream” liquid lipstick lot, the price is great for the amount of product you get too. I love the sleek packaging, and these opaque mattes are comfortable to wear for long periods of time without any cracking or crumbling. I think I own eight of these now, but these are my top three for the daytime professional:

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Jeffree / Mother / Lovesick

Lovesick – One of my current favorites overall, this pale mauve-nude is just cool enough to mesh perfectly with my undertones. I love to pair it with pastel pinks and purples like Makeup Geek’s Cupcake and Unexpected, but it’s close enough to my natural lip shade that I think it could work with almost any daytime eye look. A slightly elevated MLBB (my lips but better), there are a few more of those in this list.

Jeffree – Whether or not this slightly muted “hot pink” is work appropriate for you will depend heavily on the natural pigmentation of your lips. On me, it pulls a pinky coral that just teeters on the edge of brightness for a perfectly work appropriate pop of color that can definitely go from day to night (or weekday to weekend) with minimal effort.

Mother – This dusty mauve was my go-to before I picked up Lovesick and I think it’s the perfect neutral pink for every day wear. It’s simple enough for the work day, but with an extra coat of mascara and a foundation touch up, it’s just as good for happy hour or dinner in the city.

Jeffree Star Velour liquid lipstick ($18.00/0.19oz) – I’m a little hesitant to mention this shade as Jeffree Star Cosmetics is a brand I’ve chosen not to support any longer (I’ll happily answer any questions, but Stephanie Nicole did a pretty good job of explaining everything in this video). With a formula that can be inconsistent across the brand’s shade range (some are pretty patchy), I actually really like this one and think it’s a great option for interesting shades that can squeeze by conservative. As a bonus, the shape of the applicator is one of the best I’ve ever seen for liquid lipsticks.

Doll Parts – This soft cool-toned pink is honestly one of my favorite liquid lipstick shades period, not just for work. It’s almost identical to Kat Von D’s Mother, but just a smidge lighter which might make it the better pick for the first half of the work week. I think it pairs with almost any eye look too so it’s one of the more versatile shades in my collection.

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Lime Crime Velvetines Matte lipstick ($20.00/0.088oz) – Another ultra controversial pick, I’ll happily discuss why I’ve decided to shop from the brand, but for this post I’m just going to focus on the shades and formula (which is amazing, for the record). These are so comfortable to wear, I keep forgetting I have lipstick on, and they easily last 6-8 hours before any dryness really starts to set in (they will easily last longer if that sensation doesn’t bother you). I’d definitely recommend exfoliating before using these to prevent any gunky buildup on the inner rim of your mouth – though I’d recommend exfoliating for all liquid lipsticks. Note: I had great wear time from the more “nudie” shades I’ve tried so I ordered a few more to see if the brighter colors hold up just as well. I’ll make a separate post dedicated to Lime Crime in the future.

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Cashmere / Cupid

Cashmere – I get it. I completely understand what all the fuss was about with this neutral-cool “greige” shade (easily the brand’s most popular). It’s just…it’s perfect. It’s not too brown, too pink, or too nude, it’s got the right balance of all three for a little edge that’s still completely work appropriate.

Cupid – This petal pink shade is absolutely gorgeous, but still subtle enough to pair with business casual attire. It makes me feel super girly and cute, I’d call it a slightly more amplified MLBB.

Dose of Colors matte liquid lipstick ($18.00/0.16oz) – The brand’s information on restocks is inconsistent at best, but their’s is one of my favorite liquid lipstick formulas of all time. They are very comfortable to wear and apply with an almost mousse-like texture. Kind of reminds me of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, but these fully dry down and won’t smudge all over.

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Bare With Me / Stone

Stone – This cool-leaning pinky greige is one of very few in the “grey-pink-brown-beige” family that doesn’t pull straight brown on me (looking at you, Lolita). I like this one because it’s not too deep of a shade, so it looks quite natural in the midst of being “so trendy”.

Bare With Me – I’m surprised by how much I enjoy this peachy nude and how good it looks on me considering how warm it is. It is the perfect just-nude-enough shade for work or play and I reach for it constantly. I especially love how it looks paired with the Dark Matter eyeshadow stack from Melt Cosmetics which is my go-to for work appropriate eyeshadow looks (tutorial on this coming soon-ish).

Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Tatin ($24.00/0.05oz) – In line with Jeffree (described above), this twist up lipstick crayon from Bite is in the same family of just-bright-enough pinks without the “dry down matte” formula. This style of lipstick is perfect to throw in your handbag to touch up after lunch (or before happy hour), plus it’s comfortable to wear and will last hours on its own.

ColourPop Lumiere / Bite Tatin
ColourPop Lumiere / Bite Tatin
ColourPop Lippie Stix in Lumière ($5.00/0.0352) – A collab with KathleenLights, this dusty mauve pink is so gorgeous – I get compliments every time I wear it, and it’s even better when you remember how paycheck-friendly it is. A matte finish that’s not too drying, you may need to reapply after eating, but it should otherwise last right up until you clock out at 4:30.

NARS Audacious lipstick in Anna ($32.00/0.14oz) – This gorgeous smoky rose shade was a luxury splurge for me last year and I have loved it since. As we’ve already established, it’s darker on my lips than it looks in the bullet, but clearly I don’t seem to mind. The formula is creamy and smooth, but long-wearing enough that you can get through most of the work day without a touch up (this may not hold through lunch, but as a general statement it does last a long time).

Melt  Cosmetics Lipstick Sext ($19.00/0.11oz) – This neutral pinky-nude is absolutely my favorite shade from Melt’s entire line of matte shades. I absolutely love to wear it layered with MAC’s Edge to Edge lip liner to give my lips a little added definition.

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NARS Anna / Melt Sext
I sorted my top choices by brand, but thought it would make more sense to swatch them together based on color. I’ve also included a chart at the end showing the full cost and size breakdown for each brand/product. Please note that swatches on my arm (taken in natural daylight) are not necessarily an accurate reflection of how these shades will look on your lips. Everyone’s natural lip color is a little bit different.)

Smoked Pinks: NARS Anna / ColourPop Lumiere

MLBB+ Pinks: KVD Mother / JS Doll Parts / Lime Crime Cupid / KVD Lovesick

Borderline Bright: KVD Jeffree / Bite Tatin

Nudies: Melt Sext / DOC Bare With Me

Greige Love: Lime Crime Cashmere / DOC Stone

Screenshot 2016-06-26 11.16.18
Price & Size Breakdown

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. No products were sent to me and no brands asked me to include their products in this post. All products mentioned were purchased by me.


One thought on “Daily Grind: Best Lip Colors for Work

  1. The lime crime griege looks like a cool color. I’ve been looking for a good purplish-grey for a while. If only they carried it at Sephora so I didn’t have to deal with $hipping.


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