Photo courtesy of Marie Claire
If you rock rich berry or hot pink lips, respect! But there’s a low-key lip trend for days when you prefer enhancing your natural beauty over making a statement: the MLBB look.
In case you’re not privy to this YouTube sensation, MLBB stands for “My Lips But Better.” Basically, it describes that one Holy Grail shade that most closely matches your natural lip color. This secret weapon has the power to brighten up your face with just a few swipes on your kisser. The right MLBB lipstick adds a little polish to your everyday look. It even upgrades the classic combo of smoky eyes and nude lips for high drama at night.
The best MLBB lipsticks have a satin, creamy or matte finish for a barely-there texture. Truthfully, unlocking your shade will probably require some trial and error. Pro tip: Swatching on your arm or hand is futile. (Just ask celebrity makeup artist and Makeup Madeover Kim Do—it’s one of her pet peeves!) Instead, compare the lipstick to the color of your inner lip. The final test is trying it on directly. Do your lips still look like your lips, only better? Simple as that.
To jump off on your pursuit of your MLBB lipstick, here are some of our favorites that work beautifully for various skin tones.
Photo by Juice Beauty
For fair skin
A soft nude pink with pigment derived from plant sources like rose, moringa and eclipta daisy. It doesn’t just make your pout look better temporarily; it boasts an anti-aging serum to soften and reduce the look of fine lines, so it actually improves the condition of your lips as you wear it. We love a good multitasker!
Photo by Charlotte Tilbury
Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Penelope Pink
For fair to light skin
Makeup artist extraordinaire Charlotte Tilbury developed this lovely pink beige that uses light-diffusing pigments to give the subtlest color pop. The formula is enriched with antioxidants from the achiote, a shrub nicknamed the “lipstick tree,” since Native Americans traditionally used the red wax from the seeds as lipstick.
Photo by Auxiliary Beauty
Glossier Generation G in Cake
For fair to medium skin
Glossier is the queen of the no-makeup look. They’ve developed one of the most genius innovations to lipstick in recent years: Generation G is a sheer matte lipstick that gives you the look of a lip stain with a light, tinted balm feel. Sounds like what MLBB dreams are made of, right? The Cake shade looks like a coral-toned neutral on many skin tones, but darker-skinned women can opt for the slightly more brownish Leo shade instead.
Photo by Axiology Beauty
Axiology Organic Lipstick in Theory
For dark skin
It’s long been a challenge for women of color to find makeup that matches and complements their skin tones, but these days the options are more breathtaking than ever. This light brown hue has a hint of rose—simply flawless against tan and dark skin.
Photo by NYX Cosmetics
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockholm
For various neutral skin tones
You may frequently find this pink beige lipstick sold out at your local Target and Ulta (looks like it’s currently sold out online!), and for good reason. It’s one of the best all-around MLBB shades out there because it just works on so many different skin tones. The soft matte finish is not at all drying, either. Would you believe it’s only six bucks?