The equinox came and went, so it’s official: Actual weather notwithstanding, spring has finally sprung. Call us overeager, but it’s been a long winter, and we’re all but ready to shed… well, everything having to do with the past several months. Seriously. We’ve had enough.
As much as we love our sultry winter plum and holiday red lip colors, it’s high time for us to shove them aside until next November and make room for some bold, bright, fun-in-the-sun shades. Watch out, red, pink, coral, orange (!)—we’re coming for you.
Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Clementine ($24, sephora.com)
The bright flavors and colors of citrus fruits are synonymous with warm weather—lemonade, sunshine, a wedge of lime in your poolside libation. (Similarly, bottle blondes should take care to assure that their color doesn’t turn lime green.) Vivid yellows and greens hardly have any place on the lips, but a vibrant orange, on the other hand? This shade leans red, so it’s easier to wear than a true yellow-orange, but no less eye-catching. It’s miraculously flattering on all skin tones, and while we do recommend wearing it rather than eating it, the gluten-free formula consists only of food-grade ingredients. (If you’re Pantone Color of the Year-happy, we also recommend this product in Grape.)
Marc Jacobs LOVEMARC Matte Lip Gel in Shout ($30, marcjacobs.com)
This warm, slightly sheer hot pink is a dream for lipstick beginners: It goes on smooth and hydrating like a balm, but it isn’t slippery or sticky, thanks to its matte formula and natural replenishing butters of kokum and murumuru. Shout is a gorgeous, super-flattering flamingo pink that can be layered for opacity, so whether you want a sheer wash of bright color or a bold matte statement lip, the choice is yours. We also love the packaging—a magnetic closure not only gives a satisfying click when first shut, but it also means that you’ll never find your other belongings covered in lipstick after you toss it into your bag.
Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge in 16 Fuchsia ($24, sephora.com)
Before you apply this shade, make sure you really, really love it. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t, of course, but be forewarned: It’s practically permanent, so commitment-phobes beware, but for those who are serious about rocking a bright fuchsia lip all day and all night, the Aqua Rouge formula will. Not. Quit. It’s waterproof, smudge-proof, kiss-proof, dinner-proof, drinks-proof, and every-other-thing-that-we-can’t-think-of-right-now-proof. It’s an absolute godsend for the lipstick lover, until you want to take it off and find that the lofty claims were not a joke or a marketing ploy. Don’t panic—an oil cleanser or oil-based makeup remover will remove every last trace, and you’ll be right back to singing the praises of this wonder formula.
Revlon Color Burst Lacquer Balm in Provocateur ($8.99, ulta.com)
Matte may seem to be the finish du jour for lip color, but some of us still prefer a traditional high-shine finish. Revlon’s Lacquer Balms deliver on that promise, with glossy, wet-look sheers that go on like a minty, moisturizing balm. Provocateur is a strawberry red that lacks the drama of a deeper shade, so it’s perfect for those who love their rich reds but can’t quite segue them into something suitable for daytime. This lightweight product is also wildly affordable despite its high quality (the texture is amazing), so you can stock up on a color for every occasion.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar Matte in Trollop ($18, sephora.com):
Lip Tars are another product that you’ll need elbow grease, oil cleanser, and a prayer to remove—which is a good thing, especially when it’s hot out, when anything not bolted down will sweat off your face in seconds. Despite its scandalous name, Trollop is a soft, pretty, utterly wearable pinkish coral that looks beautiful on warm skin tones across the spectrum. Each Lip Tar comes with a carrying case and the mini lip brush you’ll need to apply the unique, insanely pigmented formula (which, it’s worth noting, is 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free). Deposit a tiny (the tiniest!) bead onto the brush and be sure to apply the color with care. This isn’t your average swipe-and-go lipstick, but the results are totally worth it.
Read more: You’re Doing it Wrong: Wearing Lipstick