Dinner’s wrapping up, and as a waiter tidies the dishes, your friend whips a lipstick bullet out of her bag to reapply what she had so daintily dabbed off in the beginning of the meal. It’s such a cool shade. One you never would have picked out on your own. And when you inquire about its provenance (department store? online DTC?) your friend starts gushing. This, she insists as she rolls the tube down-table to you for inspection, is the best lipstick you didn’t know you needed. Could she be right? You write down its name and the next day, go buy one yourself.
All the best beauty discoveries are made that way, right? But now, imagine if your friend was four-time Grammy winner Kelly Rowland. That’s the beauty of The Top Shelf! You end up with something tried and true by people who make it their business to try it all. So if you’re looking for a new lip color to try this season, take it from the celebrities, industry gurus, and homegrown experts who’ve let us into their makeup bags. Your new fall shade is somewhere below.
A Warm, Dusty Rose: Nars Walkyrie
Recommendation c/o singer Kelly Rowland
“I love a lip—right now I have on Walkyrie by Nars. It’s my go-to... If I get off a plane wherever, I'll put this on, and I feel like it looks really good on chocolate skin. I’m always really conscious about cause sometimes nudes look a little pale and make you look like you’re sick, you know what I mean? But Walkyrie is perfect. And I always put a chocolate lip liner around it, or else I look a little off.”
A Sheer Chocolate: Sephora Blackberry
Recommendation c/o actor Zazie Beetz
"I love a wash of ‘70s brown. I like things that take down the pink in my lips and make them more monochromatically brown. There’s a brown Sephora lip gloss that I use. If I’m wearing a lip, it’s usually very neutral—I kind of can’t stand lipstick.
An Ultra Classic Red: MAC Ruby Woo
Recommendation c/o dancer & choreographer Parris Goebel
“All that you really need to know is that MAC Ruby Woo is the most important lip color and it's the color of life. I like that it’s a little dry, I love that it’s not gonna move or be glossy or anything like that. And the shade of it is also really nice. I think it suits any tone and I’ve tried a lot of reds, but this is still my favorite. If I’m trying to be precise, I just line with MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Kiss Me Quick and then fill it in.”
A Multichrome Shimmer: MAC Rose Pigment
Recommendation c/o makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench
“MAC makes amazing pigments and I've started enjoying mixing them for color, because a lot of them make these really beautiful jewel tones. For a lip, it looks really nice. MAC also makes lipmixes you can use, but you can use regular lip gloss—tonight I'm using Glossier's Lip Gloss. If you're really hardcore, you can do it with alcohol. It doesn't move! But don't do that.”
An Unexpected Tangerine: Etude House Orangeade + Glossier Fête
Recommendation c/o model & ecologist Zinnia Kumar
“if you're South Asian and sometimes find your lips turning a cool, dark purplish color after a bit of sun or cold exposure, Etude House’s Dear Darling Water Tint in Orangeade is excellent at neutralizing that. It stains all day and can be worn alone or under lipstick to prevent ashy tones from coming through. I use it with Glossier’s Ultralip in Fête on top—it’s moisturizing, and a little goes a long way.”
A Berry Slick With '90s Style: Charlotte Tilbury Foxy Brown + Tower 28 Fearless
Recommendation c/o Naked Beauty host Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli
“I am a lip gloss queen—I love lip gloss plus lip liner. I love the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Foxy Brown or the Pat McGrath Permagel Lip Liner, and then I'll go in with a lip gloss on top. I really like the Tower 28 Lip Jelly in Fearless. Thrive also makes an amazing lip gloss called Ruth. And Fenty’s Universal Gloss Bomb—love. I don't know anyone who doesn't like it.”
Photos via ITG