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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Penn chapter.

Lipstick can be a bold choice, and if you aren’t used to wearing it, it can feel intimidating to start in the deep end. Whether you’ve been wearing lipstick every day or are just starting out, these are the colors that are both versatile and comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying drugstore or high end; these are the shades you’ll need in your makeup bag.

Natural Pinks

Depending on your skin tone, the natural pink shade that works for you may range from a light peach to a deep mauve. This is the kind of color I wear on days when I want something subtle but still want a little more pop than a bare lip. 

When choosing which pink is best for you, the first rule is to pick a shade that you like on its own. If you don’t like rosy pinks, don’t pick one—you won’t find yourself wearing it. Instead, pick a color that’s close to your natural lip color. That will be an option that looks and feels like you, just with a little something extra. 


When starting out with lipstick, most people tend to go safe; lip colors can really change your appearance, especially if you aren’t used to them. If you’re nervous, pick a nude tone similar to whatever pink shade you chose. If you feel like your lips are a fairly light, cool–toned pink, go with a brown shade that feels like its nude counterpart: something soft and caramel. If you feel bolder, pick a shade closer to chocolate or espresso.

These shades are so varied that you can feel like you’re wearing nothing or like you’re ready for a night out. If you start out with a “safe” choice, you can work up to something darker.


I know red lip color sometimes has a reputation for being scandalous or scary because it seems so bold. However, in actuality, red is a color that looks amazing on everyone. It can transform a simple outfit to something eye–catching. There are many different kinds of red shades; some are orange–leaning, others are almost pink, and still others are deep shades of oxblood. I love them all, but I think everyone needs a classic red. 

One of my favorite reds is “Certainly Red” by Revlon. If you want an assortment of shades to test on your skin tone, I recommend their “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel collection. This will get you a true red, a fiery coral, and a bright rose shade. I know some say the ultimate red is by Dior, but you don’t need high–end products to look fabulous. 

If you’re nervous, try wearing red around the house or just during that one Zoom meeting. There are also certain shades that are less pigmented and more sheer and can act as a good jumping–off point. Think glosses instead of matte lipsticks.

When it comes to lipstick, I say be bold. If you like a color, wear it! If you’ve ever seen someone wearing a particularly bold choice of lip color and thought, “How did they pull that off?”, the answer is simple. They wore it with confidence. The key to making any unique choice work is to believe it’s working. At the end of the day, all that matters is your own opinion. And usually, that’s the thing that pulls an entire look together: how you wear it. So smile! Whether that smile is bare, lip–glossed, or bright blue, do it with confidence.

Christina is a senior at UPenn studying English. When she isn't reading books, quoting Gatsby, or singing show tunes, wishing she could hit those highs like Patti LuPone, she is definitely annoying people by correcting their grammar.