Coral! My sin, my soul, my most problematic lipstick shade. To the best of my knowledge, I have dark winter coloring with a slight olive undertone that leans gray instead of green. This means that I can wear almost any cool, saturated color, but corals and oranges will always present a challenge. The problem is, I love corals and oranges, whether in vintage illustrations...
|Earl Christy for American magazine, May 1923 (source).|
...or modern editorials featuring k-pop stars (same color scheme, oddly):
|Hani of EXID for 1st Look magazine (source).|
In the six-ish years since I fell in love with lipstick, I've been hunting for my perfect coral (I've given up on true orange). A few coral lipsticks have worked for me, but they're so different from each other and so similar to corals that don't work that I've had a hard time determining what kind of coral I need. Pink-, red-, or orange-leaning? Pale or dark? I can rattle off a list of coral and salmon lipsticks that have failed me over the years: MAC Vegas Volt and Relentlessly Red; Revlon Pink in the Afternoon; Maybelline Shocking Coral; NARS Greta; Marc Jacobs So Sofia; Bite Pickled Ginger and, come to think of it, every other coral in the Amuse Bouche line. I feel like I've swatched half the coral lipsticks on the market.
However, there was one category I hadn't explored until recently: brown-tinged corals and peaches. After my success with Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Coral Sunset, I began searching for a lighter brownish coral, something that verged on neutral but still delivered a hit of retro warm pink. After a few weeks of swatch-hunting and contemplation (turns out dirty coral/peach is a rapidly expanding category), I picked up Naked Coral at my local Wegmans, where I also encountered psychedelically beautiful Svedka bottles that presaged the unicorn-frappuccino trend.
The Inti-Matte Nude lipsticks come in a silver tube with a translucent rose-gold cap. This is my favorite iteration of Maybelline's lipstick packaging, though I wish they'd introduce safety seals: I feel like a jerk opening a lipstick to check whether it's been swatched. (In my defense, I open it only if I'm sure I want it.)
Naked Coral is a pale dusty peach, less strident than most other corals and peaches I've tried.
L-R: Milani Matte Naked, Glossier Cake (3 passes), Naked Coral, Urban Decay Streak (just realized I omitted at least one shade from this comparison; I'll redo the swatches tomorrow):
I''ve heard great things about the Maybelline matte formula for years, and Naked Coral hasn't let me down. It's pigmented in one swipe, it glides smoothly onto the lips and feels comfortable for the duration of wear, and it lasts a few hours. My one caveat is that when it wears off in the middle of my lower lip and I apply a new layer, it can look a little cakey. But I'm really nitpicking here. Whether the color will flatter you depends on your skintone and personal taste, but I've been surprised and delighted by the formula, and I'd definitely consider buying another Maybelline matte lipstick in the future (though, as always, I'll look to cruelty-free brands first).
In recent weeks, my daily makeup has taken a turn for the dull: brown pencil eyeliner, a neutral cheek, and a more or less bold lip. I've been spending less time on makeup experimentation and more time on questions like "wtf am I doing with my life" and "how will I make money next year"; sorry 'bout it, as Kimberly Clark would say. So here's a representative, if glazed-eyed, FOTD with Naked Coral:
And here's the makeup I used. I've been enjoying layering Milani Coral Cove blush over Illamasqua Zygomatic (check out that pan!) to tone down the brightness. On my eyes, I used the "browbone" shade from the Wet n Wild Plaid to the Bone trio and Urban Decay Whiskey eyeliner (not shown).
Same cheek combo, but with Kiko stick eyeshadow in Golden Mauve (so perfect for spring, I can't even) and UD Demolition eyeliner. Yeah, I have damp hair in all these selfies. Sorry 'bout that, too.
Naked Coral looks slightly brighter on me than it does in the tube, but it still sits firmly in the neutral category, making it a good choice for professional events (like the conference I couldn't afford to attend this week, lol). I see it as a warm-toned version of Urban Decay Backtalk: dusty and muted but well outside MLBB territory. I've been tracking my lipstick usage since January, and these neutral-but-not shades have been my overwhelming favorites in 2017. I have a feeling that Naked Coral will see a lot of use in the coming months!