What’s The Best Summer Lip Color?

We got a great question from a reader who loves dark, atmospheric lipsticks and wants something similarly dramatic (but lighter!) for summer. She doesn't like bright pink, coral, or nude, so we were thinking... purple? The smoky pastel option would be a greige-shade like YSL Volupté Sheer Candy in Iced Plum or, if she prefers matte, OCC Crème Colour Concentrate in Miriam.

On the bright end of the spectrum, a highly pigment violet feels cool but distinctly not wintry. For example, Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Violet is the kind of color so vivid it telegraphs from across the pool (and also works really well in beach vacation photos). If "statement" is a dirty word for you though, Ilia Lipstick in Jump is a similar hue that's not quite so much.

You could also always mix your pastel purple in on top of a light layer of your usual deep lipstick for a faded-out 90s take on the look.

What're your thoughts? Which color is the ultimate summer shade for you?

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  • Lindsay

    I'm currently obsessed with BITE's Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Strangefruit. They describe it as a sheer magenta violet and it's the perfect summer shade, especially if you don't like (or are tired of!) bright fuschias and pinks.

  • Charlotte

    If you're looking for something purpley, Wet n' Wild's 'Mauve Outa Here' is a great option. It's a matte lavenderish pink very similar to Pantone's radiant orchid. 2 bucks and lasts like no other!

  • lucinda veen

    Maybelline Brazen Berry is my favorite summery purple! It's a very bright, happy pinky purple.

  • Marisol

    For me it's MAC's Vegas Volt, a somehow not-too-over-the-top orangey-coral.

  • Jade

    As a person who hates lipgloss and usually sticks to tinted balms, I'm currently obsessed with YSL's Volupte Sheer Candy in Mouthwatering Berry because it gives you the perfect amount of coverage without any sticky residue. Plus it smells super yummy!

  • Emila
  • Dru

    I like my brights so I default to hot pink for summer, usually something like MAC's Impassioned or YSL Rouge Pur Couture No. 7. But on subdued days, it's a softer red (summer red is totally doable - I either get one of the Revlon balm stains or MAC's Ladybug)

  • grumblemama

    The best summer shade I've found is Fresh's Lip Sugar in Coral. It has SPF, goes on like a balm, isn't sticky or heavy, and is a fantastic sheer-but-bright reddish coral. I LOVE it, and it looks fantastic against a tan.

    • ITGLacey

      hahahaha—amazing avatar pic & name, grumblemama

  • Lana

    Revlon Just Bitten Kissable stain in Crush!

  • Christina

    Nars Heat Wave!

  • Moooo

    Surely this depends on her colouring? Mac Ladybug is always a good one to go for...

  • Alexa Johnson

    I'm currently loving light pale pinks. Not only does it bring out my skin tone, it looks great when I compliment it with bright skirts and blouses.

  • Nina

    I just found an Almay liquid lip balm that I'm obsessed with in the color 'Cantaloupe.' The perfect peachy lip!

  • Lindsay B.

    Currently loving some of the pinks from M.A.C's Proenza Schouler collection. Have been doing a matte pink lip lined and filled in with the Dynamo Pro Longwear Lip Pencil and lightly dusting Neo-Orange Pigment Color Powder on top for a unique high-fashion look.

  • Neelam

    I'm loving Mac's All Fired Up. It's a wonderful hot pinky red. Looks great on olive skin!

  • Jalouse

    Nars Niagara just reminds me of summer every time I put it on

  • viktoria viva

    Lipstick queen stoked

  • burstingbrain

    I'd go with Tarte Lipsurgence lip tint in Moody. It's like Lorde at a summer pool party

  • Teckie

    Usually I try to stay away from full-on lip pencil + lipstick combos in the summer to prevent a sweaty, smear-y mess. I like YSL Volupte Sheer Candy glossy balm crystal color in Dewy Papaya.

  • Erica Basha

    Nars Heat Wave and YU

  • Haley

    I just "discovered" Revlon's lip butters; Candy Apple is perfect for summer, it's a sheer red that makes my lips look like I just had a popsicle. And it's cheap!

  • Andrea

    NARS Matte Multiple in Exumas! It's pinkish orange hue perfectly compliments a summer glow

  • artesia

    RMS Lip Shine in Sacred, MAC Casual Colour in Hi Jinks!, MAC Mangrove, MAC See Sheer.

  • Abby Kidwell

    Nars Matte Multiple in Siam. LOVE!!!

  • rachel

    Chanel Mademoiselle and YSL Glossy Stain in 05 Rouge Vintage are gorgeous for a my-lips-but-better rosey lip with my fair skin. M.A.C's Retro Matte in Flat Out Fabulous is the best bright fuchsia I've ever found, topped with clear gloss or Aquaphor to combat the drying-out factor

  • Gigi R

    Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square. That stuff lasts through a night of mojitos

  • Moni

    Nars Heatwave all the way. Perfect orange-red. I've gotten compliments at events about it looking striking and classic.

  • bunzy

    MAC just came out with a new lip glass called Lots of Laughs... it is so gorgeous!! like the perfect pink/coral .... I am going to stock up haha

  • Hannah Kessel

    Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is my ish

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I like Revlon's balm stain in Crush. You can make it intense or sheer. It's also great layered with Black Honey for summer evenings.

  • Anna

    Clarins gloss prodige candy 04 <3

  • Sam

    My favorite lip color of all time is hands down Anna Sui Lip Rouge V Vivid N. 460. My friend bought me a tube from Japan and now I can't find it anywhere else! It had the most beautiful consistency and was the perfect pinky red.

  • Kristin Sekora

    Chanel's La Favorite. It is the perfect orange and I wear it with their coral blush, Frivole.

  • Bobbi J

    recently picked up Paint Wash from Laura Mercier…love my color in Vermillion Red..went to pick up another one for my sister in law…and they were sold out…must be a hot color for spring!!...