Given the number of lipstick brands in the universe and the sea of colors from which you can choose, which range from shell pink to midnight black and every hue in between, it makes sense that some lipsticks have risen above the fray to achieve cult status. These lipstick shades are either so universally flattering that millions of women agree they offer a no-fail solution to looking their best no matter what disaster has just happened at work--or, conversely, they're unique enough to make us stop dead in our tracks and think: can I actually get away with wearing that?
The next time you make your lipstick bucket list (which I've done, oh, about 306 times already), be sure to include these 9 cult lipstick colors, which are worth all the hype and then some.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey
Try Black Honey because it's the most perfect cross between deep raisin and bright berry you've ever seen. Try it because it's so sheer and fool-proof you can apply it while driving and not looking into a mirror (which is totally dangerous, btw). But, most of all, try Black Honey because it's every '90s girl's favorite staple lipstick and no other shade will ever complement flannel this well.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($17)
MAC Ruby Woo
Everyone needs a red lipstick they can trust will have their backs when they suddenly decide at 10 p.m. on a Friday to leave the house and have nothing to wear. MAC's Ruby Woo is a best-seller because it makes no bones about being the reddest of the blue-reds (with not a trace of pink to subdue its wild personality), but it's also long-lasting, matte, and looks amazing on a variety of skin types.
MAC Ruby Woo ($17)
Lipstick Queen in Medieval
For those times when you want to pay homage to red lipstick, but in a more subtle, quieter way, Lipstick Queen's Medieval shade provides a sheer and sexy red stain that looks great on everyone. This best-seller is infused with vitamin E and provides a hydrating alternative to ordinary matte lipsticks.
Lipstick Queen in Medieval ($24)
ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble
If you manage to find ColourPop Bumble when it isn't sold out, consider yourself lucky--then quickly stock up on it because few ultra matte warm terracottas come close to this shade. A quick glance at the Instagram hash tag dedicated to this hue proves it is earthy enough to suit all occasions and suits so many skin types you'll realize you've just found the perfect holiday gift for every special woman in your life.
ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble ($6)
NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Schiap
If red and pink held a contest to see which shade is the sexier of the two and NARS Schiap walked through the door, her grand entrance would put an immediate end to the debate. This cult classic is a true hot pink with a slightly neon finish, one that makes the same impact as a bright red, but is more forgiving on pale skin types. Plus, it's a favorite hue for both Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian, so you know you can count on it to add a little va-va-va-voom to your jeans and white T-shirt.
NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Schiap ($28)
Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick in Fire & Ice
You needn't refinance your house to create an amazing lipstick collection. Revlon's Fire and Ice has held its iconic cult status since the 1950s, when Dorian Leigh (one of the world's first supermodels) was photographed by Richard Avedon wearing the cool blue-red shade. Fans of the shade say it easily compares to more expensive brands and works on many different skin types.
Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick in Fire & Ice ($7.99)
YSL Rouge Pur Couture Satin Radiance Lipstick in Fuchsia
Fans of Yves Saint Laurent love this shade for sentimental reasons (it was the first created in his name way back in 1979). But their love goes deeper than that: it's also one of the most vibrant, but wearable, slightly-more-purple-than-pink hues on the market. Its buildable formula allows you to take things slowly at first with a violet wash until you're ready to increase the volume and go all-out purple--which you'll eventually do, I guarantee.
YSL Rouge Pur Couture Satin Radiance Lipstick in Fuchsia ($37)
MAC Lipstick in Angel
True to it's name, MAC Angel is the lightest pink with just a hint of ethereal frost to make you feel like a snow queen. About 50 seconds after Kim Kardashian proclaimed it her favorite shade, it sold out and continues to be a difficult tube to pin down. But it's so worth it--especially on those nights when you need a lipstick to play off your bold winged eyeliner.
MAC Lipstick in Angel ($17)
Marc Jacobs Sheer Gel Lipstick in Strange Magic
Those four words natural beauties can recite in their sleep--your lips, but better--has never looked so good. Strange Magic, a warm nude pink with a sheer and shiny finish, is part of Marc Jacobs' New Nudes collection, each of which is inspired by an actress from one of Jacobs' favorite films. While some nudes are too brown, pink, or coral to truly claim their name, this one is as neutral as it gets, long-lasting, moisturizing, and a bestseller.
Marc Jacobs Sheer Gel Lipstick in Strange Magic ($30)