Ask MBB: Fall Lipsticks for Lighter Lovelies

Published in: Beauty Tips, Makeup Tips/How To


Haaay, gurl! HAAAY!

Hi Karen!

I’m a huge fan of your blog, sooo I hoped you could help me out. I’m a pale gal (NC 15) with dark brown hair, and the lipsticks I own are mostly in variations of pale pink.

But I think these aren’t very appropriate for fall, so I hoped you maybe had some recommendations for me? The only good fall colours I own are MAC Red, Viva Glam V and my newest one, MAC Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Lush Life, but a girl needs more than three options, right?

Much love from Germany,


P.S. I LOVE your new hairstyle.

Hi Julia,

Much love right back at ya from Novato, California (about 25 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, to be exact). 🙂


I’m so glad you asked this question because I’ve been watching this video by Lorde…

…and I just can’t stop thinking about the dark lip look she’s wearing and how striking and lovely it looks against her pale skin.

KILLER! — and so epic for fall.

I’m feelin’ it, but I realize that it might be a little artsy-fartsy for some people…

For something a little more wearable, how about Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Shame? It’s what I’m wearing in that pic at the top.

Smooth with a creamy finish, deep berry Shame looks amaze-balls on light skin.

Scratch that — all skin tones, really. I’ve never seen Shame look anything other than great, and it’s probably my overall favorite fall berry lipstick right now.

But if Shame seems too intense for you, you could opt for a less opaque plum/berry. That way, you still get the same vibe, but in less dramatic fashion.

If that sounds good, MAC released a really beautiful sheer glossy plum lipstick with the Indulge collection called Sweet Succulence ($15).

Might be something to consider if you can track it down… It’s limited edition, and it sold out pretty quickly on the U.S. MAC website. I’m not sure if it’s available out there, but I think it’s worth trying to track down. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

MAC Sweet Succulence on the left and Urban Decay Shame on the right

MAC Glamour Feast Cremeblend Blush

MAC Sweet Succulence on my lips


And then there’s Clinique. If you can, look for their Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($15). At a glance, it looks like a deep blackened raisin, but it applies like a soft stain.

My roommate in college, who had lovely light blonde hair and pale skin, introduced me to it. She wore it pretty much every day and always looked phenomenal.

SIDE NOTE: All of these shades should look great with light or dark skin tones. 🙂

Good lipstick luck to ya, and let me know how it goes!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 26 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Laure says:

    Julia, if you don’t mind lipstains, maybe you can try the Catrice lipstain in Are You Red-y? In fact, Catrice also has some awesome lipsticks and I heard good things about the new Essence lipsticks. 😉
    Laure recently posted … Personal | Edinburgh: Royal McGreggor

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laure,

      That line’s new to me. I’ll have to look into it! Thanks for the rec.

      • Laure says:

        No problem!
        They’re german drugstore brands that are available across Europe. Though I don’t know where you can get them in the US. I don’t think any of their products retail for more than 5 euro, and they’re cruelty free, which is always a big plus in my book. 🙂 I prefer Catrice over Essence, but they’re both owned by the same company.

  2. Danielle says:

    I have super pale skin and I love just owning a deep, dark lip. One of my favorites is MAC Dubonnet. I also love MAC Rebel, if you want a more berry shade. My biggest tip is making sure your eye makeup isn’t completely lost against the lipstick.
    Danielle recently posted … Eye Shadow Ideas for Fall 2013

  3. Alison M says:

    Another one to try is Tarte Moody. I’ve been thinking about picking it up for my “lighter vampy” days. Since it is one of their Lip Tints it can be worn sheer or built up a bit. I adore the UD ads with the fair skinned model in Shame. Sooo striking!
    Alison M recently posted … Heading to The Makeup Show Orlando 2013

  4. Natalie says:

    I love MAC Dark Side for a dark lip (Im a NC 20). I need to try Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, it looks amazing!

    PS- Karen, you look gorgeous with those dark lips!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Natalie,

      You’ll like Black Honey. It is such an easy color to wear (believe it or not!) and it looks really beautiful across a wide range of skin tones.

      Hmm, I don’t think I have Dark Side! Must investigate, because I love the Amplified Creams. Do you usually wear it with a lip liner?

      • Natalie says:

        Hi Karen,

        I don’t usually wear it with a lip liner, but that could be entirely due to the fact that I am lazy with lip liners. I don’t find that Dark Side feathers on me though! I love the formula, I find it applies more evenly and smoothly than Rebel.

  5. Agata says:

    Do you think any of these would look good with my blonde hair? I feel like I need some fall appropriate lip color.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Agata,

      You could totally do any of these, but I think if you’re going to wear a dark lip color, might as well go all in, so my vote is for Shame. 🙂

      Also, it’ll probably be easier for you to find UD Shame and Clinique Black Honey, since the MAC one might be sold out at the counter.

  6. Chris25 says:

    Mauve is also a good option for pale skin. Revlon makes a few nice ones: Mauvy Night, Sassy Mauve. I think Sleek Stiletto Red would be a good one as well.
    Chris25 recently posted … Current Favorites: Beauty and Life Vol. 1

  7. hanna says:

    Your suggestion is so nice looking.
    hanna recently posted … First of Big Hair’s School Concerts

  8. meghan says:

    Shame blots down so so well! So while it’s a deep, rich berry at full blast, a little bit looks absolutely lovely and completely wearable.
    meghan recently posted … Girliest Girly nails ever!

  9. Erin says:

    I recently picked up Mauve Mania from the Maybelline lipstick “purples” section, which is labeled as a new shade, and I really like it. It’s a very fall appropriate color that leans a little cool, but it isn’t dark so it’s very easy to wear during the day.
    Erin recently posted … Guerlain Tenue de Perfection Foundation SPF 20

  10. My pick would be MAC Rebel! I love that shade and it looks gorgeous on all skin tones.
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … The Body Shop Vineyard Peach range is back!

  11. Advah says:

    LOVE this post! I’m pale with brown hair too, and find that most products I love are either too warm for me, or SO cool-toned they work best on Celtic complexions. (and I sadly don’t have that Irish, china-like skintone)

    For drugstore options, I love Maybelline’s Ruby Star ( most accurate swatch I could find) – I usually dab it on with my finger over some lipbalm, or just apply directly from the tube if I’m going out. Always get compliments on it!

    I’ve also been meaning to pick up Revlon’s Bordeaux lipgloss for ages, it’d probably suit you as well. Have you also checked Lipstick Queen’s Medieval? It’s meant to look great on cooler skintones – LQueen does fab colours for that time of year!

  12. Julia says:

    Thanks so much to Karen and all the commenters, you totally made my day ! (and this after I got all four wisdom teeth surgerically removed today)

  13. Lorraine says:

    I have the exact same coloring, and I would say us fair skinned brunettes have many options available- I tend to go for more color instead of less, since nude lips tend to wash me out. I second the suggestion of Clinique Black HOney. I would add Clinique Spiced Apple, Plum Brandy and Merlot. Revlon does great lippies in the SuperLustrous line. I just picked up Raisin Rage and was surprised at how easy that one is for me to wear. If you can find Elizabeth Arden Exceptional Lipstick in Beauty, this one looks great, is easy to wear and will transition into or out of Fall. Also try Estee Lauder Pure Color in Berry Truffle. Every single one I list here is a swipe and go- (I often apply them without a mirror)they are that easy to wear. Have fun shopping! Nothing transforms your look faster than a new lippie, so they say.

  14. Katherine says:

    My colouring’s very similar and I absolutely love MAC’s Girl About Town. It’s a not a vampy lipstick, but it’s a really vibrant fuchsia. Milan Mode is a sheerer take on the same kind of colour. I also second Dark Side for a vampier colour. I just bought it last weekend, and I’m so glad I did.

  15. buckycatt says:

    I just bought ’em both. I’ll you know what the cat’s and I think soon. Had to get Sweet Succulence from ebay for a price!

  16. Anna says:

    I can’t believe no one has suggested NARS Lipstick in Damage, it’s a great plum for us fair ladies, not overly dark or shocking, but a nice change from the summer coral’s and pinks. I usually shy away from darker lip shades (I’m also NC15) but after trying this on, I was IN LOVE!

  17. Judith says:

    Ladies, a lot of brands are not available in Europe. Tarte is one of them. They don’t even want to ship I’ve beg them on their facebook page! I’m still upset about that since I’m Canadian and I’m used to more brands.

    MAC are good options. I’m also pale and I also own viva glam V I agree it’s a great option. I’m really into purple right now. Berry is also great for most complexions. I think anything with plum, mauve, brown is great. The trick with fair skin and dark color is either use them as a stain, or buy muted options.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge