Emily MacCulloch
Emily MacCulloch

I Wore Grey Lipstick For a Day—Here’s What Happened

Between Rihanna’s emerald lips (remember this?) and Kylie Jenner’s dark brown pout—not to mention beauty bloggers rocking wacky lip colours like blue, grey, you name it—unique lippy shades have been gaining popularity on the beauty scene for a while. While my go-to hues are usually a bit tamer—I typically reach for reds, purples and pinks—I’m definitely not opposed to trying something out of my comfort zone. Ever since NYX launched their Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks, I’ve fallen hard for Tea & Cookies (a soft pink) and Kitten Heels (a bright red) but what happened when I took their more unconventional shades out for a spin? I rocked four of the craziest colours from that collection over the span of a few days and here are my findings.

Shade: Vintage


I figured I’d start off with the shade closest to my comfort zone. I often wear berry lips and deep reds so this one wasn’t too far off from my typical picks. But the deep brown undertone is definitely not something I would normally gravitate towards (unlike Kylie who’s the poster child for brown lips, see: Kylie Lip Kits). For some reason this colour was trickier to apply (maybe due to its darker hue?) but I got it on after a few moments of concentration. I wore it out on a warm, sunny spring day so the deep hue raised a few eyebrows but overall not much of a reaction. An added bonus of this formula: there’s no need to wear it with a lip liner. While most dark lipsticks go hand-in-hand with liner, this one’s so pigmented and goes on so smoothly that it gets the job done solo.


Hot Tip: Let your lips do the talking. This colour’s pretty bold all on its own so I suggest wearing it with just mascara and a neutral eyeshadow (at least for day). But I think a bolder brow is key to balancing the stronger lip as it makes your face look more put together.

Shade: Sandstorm


I was strangely the most nervous to try this hue. It looks innocent enough, nude lips are all the rage—especially ’90s-esque browns like Gigi’s—but on my super fair skin this lip could make me look super washed out. Lo and behold, as soon as I applied it, I immediately knew this shade wasn’t for me. It just seemed to make me look….blah. BUT a friend of mine who has an olive complexion tried it and she looked like a sultry sex pot (think, Sophia Loren). So I think it just doesn’t play nice with my skin tone. When I wore it no one gave me a second glance (this shade is pretty much the norm now) and although the other hues are considerably wackier, this was the one I couldn’t wait to remove.


Hot Tip: Don’t be afraid to add a bit more blush when wearing an über nude lip. I find that rosy pink hues (rather than peach or purple tones) give a more natural flush to the skin and will complement your toffee lips.

Shade: Sway


This shade wasn’t too much of a stretch for me since I often wear purple lipstick, but the pastel undertone was definitely new for me. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wore lilac to Cannes this week and she had some serious haters on social media, but I think it looks fierce (she can pull off any look IMHO). As soon as I applied this hue, I immediately felt a little Corpse Bride-esque but after a few minutes I started really digging it. I test drove it at the coffee shop below my office and the lady behind me in line not only did a double take, but a triple take. But I was feeling my look so it didn’t faze me. Plus, these lips look A+ with pink sunnies.


Hot Tip: While Sandstorm looked better with a bit more cheek colour, I found that this shade benefited from the less is more approach. I normally wear a lot of blush—seriously I border on clown territory and I love it—so as soon as I applied this colour I actually buffed my blush down (there’s a first time for everything). This is with my skin tone though, each shade will look different on everyone, that’s part of the fun of playing with colour!

Shade: Stone Fox


Bloggers like Chrisspy and model Chanel Iman have been known to make grey lips look real good but it’s not something I thought I would ever try (it’s a little too bold, even for me). I have worn black lipstick before though so this felt like a softer, more wearable version of that look. To my surprise, when I wore this shade out on the streets of Toronto, there was zero reaction. Maybe grey lipstick is tamer than I thought? I mean, Joey from Friends did put the shade on the map. When I wore it around the office, my co-workers were full of praise with one telling me that it really complemented my hair (grey on grey).


Hot Tip: If you’re going to wear this shade, Crest White Strips are your friend. I’ve been slack on my whitening so this one made my teeth look a sexy shade of green/yellow (hence my photo where I’m hiding my not-so-pearly whites), but I was into the lip colour itself. I’d definitely wear this colour again (post-whitening, of course).