In this world of lipgloss fanatics, lipstick doesn’t get enough love. I am a lipstick girl, through and through. While I enjoy dramatic eyes from time to time, I prefer emphasis on the lips when I’m in a hurry, but still want to look done up for a night out. Lips are also really easy to touch up, while eyes require more maintenance in the summer heat. Bold lips require high impact lipstick.

From left to right: NARS Scarlett Empress, MAC Crimzone, MAC Impassioned, MAC Pink PoodleBelow: MAC Burgundy lip pencil, E.L.F concealer brush (used as a lip brush)

What are you favorite high impact lip colors? See four of my favorites after the jump!
All of these looks have the same exact face and eye makeup – the only change is the lip color.

A dark wine lip is a nice alternative to the classic red. Darker lipsticks like this absolutely require liner and a lip brush. I used MAC Burgundy lip pencil to line and fill in my lips, blending it with a lip brush. I then applied NARS Scarlett Empress with a lip brush, blotted, and applied again. MAC Dubonnet is comparable (I actually prefer it), but most drug store brands have great wine lipsticks available.

Bright purple is made wearable with a sheer finish. Sheer lipsticks can often be applied straight out of the tube, as they are a little more forgiving. MAC Crimzone is a really unique lipstick – does anyone have alternative suggestions for this one?

Coral is a popular shade for summer, but I prefer the pinkish corals to the reddish hues. This is a highly pigmented lipstick, and should be applied with a lip brush for the best results.

My all time favorite bright lipstick – MAC Pink Poodle. It’s a blue based hot pink, which is oddly flattering even on warmer skin tones. This one is much more opaque and pink than Crimzone, which is a little more sheer and purple. I like to apply Pink Poodle straight out of the tube, and then refine the lines with a lip brush. This lipstick has unfortunately been discontinued, but MAC Girl About Town is a great alternative.

If you’re wondering why I am so fond about MAC lipsticks, there are a few reasons:
– They are great quality, long lasting and highly pigmented
– I am not allergic to them (I’m sensitive to a lot of products)
– MAC’s Back to MAC program supplies me with free lipsticks. For every six empty MAC products you turn in for recycling, they give you a free lipstick!

Love love,
Keiko Lynn

  1. Amber Rose says: August 3, 20104:10 am

    I absolutely love this look, especially with the darker lip color.

    Amber Rose

  2. Helena from BrooklynBlonde says: August 3, 20104:11 am

    OOH i love this! LOVE! My favorite is MAC "Show Orchid" but i'm definitely going to check out the colors you're wearing.


  3. Archives says: August 3, 20104:14 am

    hmmm..i'm a gloss gal but you may have convinced me to try the stick!!! i can't get a nice, bright red from gloss…think i have to make the switch!

  4. Amber Rose says: August 3, 20104:14 am

    I have a question for you– I have a cupid's bow as well, and I can't for the life of me prevent my lipstick from smudging all around that area when I unintentionally smack my lips or whatnot. How on earth do you keep the lipstick from bleeding into that area?

  5. Keiko Lynn says: August 3, 20104:15 am

    Thanks, Amber Rose!

    Helena: I don't have Show Orchid, but after looking it up, I think I'll have to get it.

  6. Lulu says: August 3, 20104:16 am

    ohh i love lipstick! and i adore NARS, too. i haven't really tried out all that much MAC, but i have at least $90 invested in NARS lipsticks…which is only actually three tubes (a sheer dark plum, a bright matte and pretty dark red, and a super hot pink), but i'm obsessed with them all. unfortunately, i've been wearing a lot of gloss and chapstick lately because lippy tends to dry out my lips =/

  7. Keiko Lynn says: August 3, 20104:17 am

    My favorite true red lipstick is MAC Russian Red, though I'm always searching for more great reds. Clinique Red Drama is also great.

    Amber Rose: Lip liner does wonders. Also, the whole blotting and then reapplying thing seems to give it more of a base to adhere to, keeping it from slipping. But this is the exact reason I prefer matte or less slippery lipsticks! They don't move around.

  8. Keiko Lynn says: August 3, 20104:18 am

    Lulu: I actually borrowed this NARS lipstick from Kim (actually, three out of the four are Kim's, hehe), but I like it. I think I prefer MAC Dubonnet, though. In order to keep my lips from drying, I make sure to prep them with lip balm. I'm also addicted to burt's bees!

  9. libys11 says: August 3, 20104:22 am

    i wish i had such shapely lips like yours. with yours, everything looks wonderful!! plus, you can totally rock the bright shades because of your flawless skin.. loved this post, keiko! 😀

    Animated Confessions

  10. says: August 3, 20104:22 am

    I love these lipsticks! You look so good in the first, I'm dying to try the deep wine colour but as a student I'm not sure I really have a place to wear it… still, it's so gorgeous especially for fall. Hmmm…

    Have you tried the Revlon Matte collection? In The Red is my favourite daytime red, it's a lovely brick red that layers really prettily with MAC Russian Red!


  11. Keiko Lynn says: August 3, 20104:32 am

    libys11: It's a little bit of smoke and mirrors! My skin has its issues sometimes. Right now, for instance, I am thanking my lucky stars for concealer and smashbox photo finish. But thank you:)

    <3: Thank you! If you're afraid of the intensity, try applying it and blotting it, to make it less pigmented. I haven't tried Revlon Matte! I'll have to check it out. Though I don't like the lipstick smell that my Revlon lipstick has…do they have that too?

  12. kelly ann says: August 3, 20104:37 am

    keiko, you're so gorgeous!

  13. Rio says: August 3, 20104:40 am

    I am a chapstick girl, but sometimes I wish that I had the guts to wear a bold lip color! Your makeup always looks beautiful! :)

  14. Erica Leigh says: August 3, 20104:51 am

    these are all so great! i especially love the wine and coral shades.

    i would LOVE to get a dramatic lip color…i haven't been brave enough to try any yet, but this is inspiring me to play around at sephora next time.

    how often do you typically have to reapply mac lipsticks?


  15. What Ner is saying says: August 3, 20105:12 am

    I am really appreciating your Make up Mondays!…and while I am generally a lip gloss girl, you are making me want to experiment with some lipstick!

  16. KcomeKarolina says: August 3, 20106:18 am

    i adore mac products! 😀

  17. Kathyrine says: August 3, 20106:24 am

    I love the coral color, though I'm not sure it'd look so good against my skin tone, haha.
    I like how you kept the rest of your makeup simple, letting the lipstick, pun not really intended, shine! :)

  18. MADNESSmeForfashion says: August 3, 20107:16 am

    beautiful and gorgeous!

  19. Ashley says: August 3, 20108:04 am

    The Crimezone looks great on you! Honestly, for me, you can't really go wrong with a true blue-based red. Drama+ white(er) looking teeth= win.


  20. Velvet says: August 3, 20109:07 am

    I love the Scarlett Empress look. I agree with you, MAC lipsticks are high quality, NARS ones are my favourite though.

  21. Alice says: August 3, 20109:29 am

    I like your make up ^^

  22. Ms K says: August 3, 20109:32 am

    I love this post.totally awesome!
    thanks for the tutorial on lipstick=)


  23. Jonna says: August 3, 201011:18 am

    Amazing lipsticks. I adore the second one! x

  24. agnes says: August 3, 201011:23 am

    très jolie….

  25. roxy says: August 3, 201011:56 am

    stunning! they all look amazing on you – my favorite is the coral and pink poodle. very very pretty


  26. Yasmeen Buttons says: August 3, 20101:50 pm

    Your face is so flawless. I can't seem to keep my skin that even. I've been using this Aveeno face wash that claim to even skin tone…I'm not sure its actually working v_v Help?


  27. Josephine says: August 3, 20103:49 pm

    Beautiful! that's all I can say!

  28. FASHION ICE says: August 3, 20104:05 pm

    usually dont use mac but this color is great!

  29. Yourz Truly Jess says: August 3, 20104:25 pm



  30. WendyB says: August 3, 20105:31 pm

    I've been looking for a bright purple but nothing seems purple enough to me — it always looks too pink, and if not too pink, too dark. I want kind of an electrifying lavender.

  31. Jen says: August 3, 20105:35 pm

    These colors all look incredible on you! Love them!

  32. Mae Lu says: August 3, 20105:39 pm

    That's great, Keiko. Thanks!

    I haven't been able to do neon lipstick, because my skin is so dark, but you have truly inspired me.

    I'm going to do Beauty Tuesday (play off "Ruby Tuesday"( with the occasional RUBY TUESDAY makeup post based on my love of red lipstick.

    Mae Lu, thereafterish.

  33. Manja says: August 3, 20106:38 pm

    I really love MAC Hollywood Nights which is a bright Satin Finish Pink which was released with the Heatherette Collection and I love MAC Chignon, a dark plum-ish color!

  34. Elisa says: August 3, 20108:02 pm

    Does that one lip liner really work with all the different shades? I have always thought that one has to line the lips with the exact shade of the lipstick. (And thus abandoned the idea of actually wearing lipstick prettily…) And, also – do you think that bright-coloured lipstick could work well on a very small mouth with thin lips? How can one increase the size of the mouth and lips?

    I'm such a bore, coming here and just asking questions about me me me. Thank you for a lovely post and gorgeus pictures of a gorgeus Keiko! And lots of luv from Finland :)

  35. Skye says: August 3, 20108:21 pm

    I *love* the bright pink one!

    I also use lipstick more than lip gloss.
    I don't think lip gloss looks that great on me, so I stick to lipstick :]

  36. Skyler says: August 3, 20108:28 pm

    I absolutely agree on your opinion that lipsticks, pretty much, rule, haha. That NARS color is fabulous, I tend to creep towards darker colors, I haven't purchased too many "higher" brand products but revlon makes so many great colors.

  37. newyorkaccent says: August 3, 20108:55 pm

    I love the first lip color, it's beautiful.

  38. Courtney says: August 3, 20109:01 pm

    Keiko- The 2nd color and the pink poodle look just like Max Factor's Ms Understood #16.

    Hopefully that link works but I have the lipstick and it looks just like yours!

  39. Lust Sin Deceit ~ Karen-Yen says: August 3, 20109:33 pm

    I've been a silent follower for a while and I love your makeup posts!!.. I agree that lipstick is kind of underrated, I recently got into wearing more lipsticks and they're definitely a lot of fun. I love the colors that you have on here.

  40. Gina says: August 3, 20109:41 pm

    i never wear lipstick but that color looks so pretty on you, i may want to give it a try

  41. hillary says: August 3, 201010:23 pm

    I went to MAC today because I HAD to have pink poodle and they said pink poodle isn't a lipstick just a gloss (is yours recent?)
    And that they'd never heard of crimezone.
    Did you buy them recently? I really wanted to copy you. I'm working on coming out of my shy stage and lipstick is a fun baby step!

  42. Anonymous says: August 4, 20102:37 am

    Hi ! I am a lipstick addict, so I can appreciate this post.. I absolutely love Dubonnet and Russian Red but I too have a problem with them bleeding. I use Ruby Woo by MAC which is the perfect red but it also doesn't move.Then I'll put some red color from Maybelline's new color sensational over it. (or Russian Red or Dubonnet over it) but seriously, Ruby Woo is definitely the color to czech out.

    – Lola

  43. The Little Dust Princess says: August 4, 20103:31 am

    Wow, that red is beautiful! I could never pull off those other colours, but you pull them off really really well!!

  44. Keiko Lynn says: August 4, 20103:47 am

    Unfortunately Pink Poodle has been discontinued, and I think Crimezone was a limited edition color. That's why I was hoping someone would recommend an alternative. MAC has a lot of limited edition products that end up going for a fortune on ebay. It sucks when you get attached to something and they discontinue it!

    Girl about town is a good alternative to pink poodle, though it's not the same. It's just close. And as far as crime zone, MAC Up the Amp is a really awesome purple, but it's not a lustre (so it's not sheer). But you could layer some gloss and it would be close. Did you go to a counter or a store? I feel like most MUAs would remember that Pink Poodle was also a lipstick. The lipglass is not the same! Bummer.

  45. Keiko Lynn says: August 4, 20103:51 am


    I only used that liner with the darker (scarlett empress) lipstick. I usually use lip liner with the more opaque lipsticks, not the sheer ones (like crimezone). I just didn't have any matching liners on hand, so I just used my lipbrush for a more refined line.

    As for brighter lipsticks on thin lips, I see no problem with that. To give your lips a little more dimension, put a lighter color lipstick in the center and blend outward. You can also put a little bit of a light shimmer on your cupid's bow.

  46. Keiko Lynn says: August 4, 20103:57 am

    Erica Leigh,
    MAC lipsticks come in several finishes. Matte lipsticks barely ever have to be reapplied. They come in matte, amplified creme, satin, cremesheen, lustre, glaze, frost, amplified, and dazzle. The only one I have no experience with is the dazzle finish. The ones that have the least staying power (because they're slick) are the glaze and lustres…but one of my favorites is a luster (Hug me).

  47. Keiko Lynn says: August 4, 20103:59 am

    Unfortunately, everyone's skin is totally different and reacts differently to products. What works for me might not work for you (it doesn't even always work for me!)

    I use cetaphil face wash, exfoliate with either salt and honey or baking soda, and do egg white masks:)

  48. Keiko Lynn says: August 4, 20104:00 am

    Wendy: Try MAC Up the Amp!

  49. Keiko Lynn says: August 4, 20104:01 am

    Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone!

  50. Anonymous says: August 4, 20104:42 am

    Oooooh, lovin' the 2nd from the bottom (Mac Impassioned?) Gorgeous, as usual!

    xx Sammie

  51. hillary says: August 4, 20103:19 pm

    keiko I went to a store. I ended up getting girl about town and it's awesome! Thank you.

  52. Alex says: August 5, 20102:15 am

    Keiko, I recently picked up Revlon ColorBurst in fuchsia, and it reminds me of Crimezone. May not be a dupe, but in the same family and I'm pretty happy with it!

  53. Michelle says: August 5, 20104:16 pm

    The MAC Pink Poodle looks fabulous on you!
    I personally love MAC Russian Red but where I'm from MAC is way too overpriced. (About US$20 if converted)
    I have Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red. It's a pretty good dupe, at half the price too. :)

  54. Anna says: August 5, 20106:00 pm

    MAC Impassioned is absolutely fabulous! I love it :)

  55. Fashion-rocks says: August 5, 20107:52 pm

    Such a great post and interesting to read! I agree it is better to wear bright lips than dramatic eyes in hot weather.

  56. monster® says: August 6, 201011:05 pm

    Great colors. They're truly flattering. Just wanted to pass along time-tested advice given to me years ago by a makeup artist.
    Tip #1: When wearing bright lip colors, forego dark eyeshadow. A naked eye or nearly-naked eye looks best with bright and/or dramatic lips (precisely the way Keiko's rockin' it). Conversely, the same is true — smokey eyes look best with sheer or pale lips.
    Tip #2: This really applies to lip color in general. Try to keep your lip color and cheek color in the same temperature family. Blue-based lipsticks and glosses = cool. Thus, you'd wear a cheek color with the same temperature. Red- or peach-based lipsticks and glosses = warm. You see where I'm going with this? When cheeks and lips are the same temp, the entire look is that much more complementary.

  57. Leah says: August 8, 20105:26 am

    I love MAC's "So Chaud" lipstick- a perfect matte bright orange-red.

  58. sofia says: August 9, 20109:43 pm

    I think it's so hard with lipsticks.. for me, it always ends up with a really sharp line round the lips (not outside the liparea), but where i filled the lips in it tends to go away in notime, and that looks really silly! Well, I haven't tried out any lipsticks from mac or a bit more expensive brands.. mabey that's why? I've also tried to, before applying the colour, take som concealer on the lips and I've tried to dust some powder over the colours too, but it just won't work! Got any tips?

  59. sofia says: August 9, 20109:55 pm

    Oh, and I'd wish you'd had a channel on youtube to share your makeup knowledge :)

    (and I'm sorry for my terrible english..)

  60. sofia says: August 10, 201012:52 pm

    I just saw a rewiew at L'oreals infallible lipsticks, have you tried them? :)

    And I'm sorry for spamming.. ^^

  61. MorganRose says: August 10, 20107:15 pm

    Fun Fun Fun!! Lately I LOVE lipsticks! And I'm totally a NARS gal! In the fall/winter I love going red with Dragon Girl velvet matte lip pencil. One Halloween I picked up Schnap lipstick (for my Rainbow Bright) costume, and now love wearing it on rainy days! I can't say enough good things about NARS lipsticks and their lip pencils. They almost feel like glosses but with the strong color of lipsticks. Perfection!

  62. La Marble$/ Marb$ says: August 13, 20107:52 am

    How do you keep all of that from smearing? You look amazing.