Beauty trends are cyclical. Styles like the bushy eyebrows of the ’80s and the cat-eye liner of the ’60s are everywhere lately, as young social media mavens introduce makeup looks from earlier generations to a new audience. If you were there for a beauty trend’s first go-round, you might not want to revisit it. But there are certain looks — specifically, lipstick colors — that are always in style. After all, a quick swipe of lipstick makes a big impact with minimal effort. Thankfully, many of the best-loved lipstick shades from bygone eras are still available to buy today. Whether you crave a statement-making red lip or something more subtle, these classic shades will make you nostalgic and gorgeous at the same time.
The Simple and Versatile Classic: Clinique Black Honey
Clinique Black Honey (Buy from Clinique, $22) launched in 1971, and while the subtle shade — which looks like dark burgundy in the tube but goes on as a sheer tint that adds just a hint of color — has been a favorite among women seeking a minimal makeup look for decades, it’s recently reappeared on the streets and in magazines. That’s thanks to TikTok videos praising its versatility. Liv Tyler wore it in The Lord of the Rings, Julia Roberts wore it in Stepmom, and stars like Drew Barrymore and Madonna have worn it on the red carpet. Its timeless “your lips, but better” appeal and the fact that it flatters every skin tone are the keys to its longstanding popularity.
The Drugstore Favorite: Revlon Cherries in the Snow
Revlon has been around for 90 years, and the brand has long been a drugstore staple favored by women seeking glamour that doesn’t break the bank. Cherries in the Snow (Buy from Revlon, $9.49), a cool red shade with an Old Hollywood feel, appeared on shelves in the ’50s and is still going strong. This poetically-titled lipstick makes an instant statement, and it’s not the only classic Revlon shade you can still purchase; the brand is beloved by vintage style enthusiasts for continuing to produce many of their classic colors. Other Revlon lipstick colors from the ’50s you can still find in stores include Love That Red, Fire and Ice, and Certainly Red. Check out the video below to see what those colors look like.
The Color-Changing Novelty: Tangee
Don’t let the orange shade of this lipstick scare you — when you apply Tangee (Buy from The Vermont Country Store, $15.95) it blends perfectly with your natural lip color, as if by magic. Tangee lipstick was introduced in the ’20s, and remained popular through the ’40s, when it was considered a more natural-looking alternative to the shades favored by models and magazines at the time. The legacy beauty brand was revived by The Vermont Country Store, a shop specializing in classic goods, which means you can buy a tube of Tangee lipstick and try its unique color-changing properties for yourself. The Vermont Country Store also sells lipstick from another revived vintage brand, Tabu ($16.95).
The Luxury Pick: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture, #19 Fuchsia Pink
This striking fuchsia shade (Buy from Nordstrom, $38) from luxurious French designer Yves Saint Laurent was created in 1979, at the height of the disco era, and it’s been a cult favorite ever since. While it’s pricier than some lipsticks, it has the kind of luxe, heavy gold packaging that’s fit for a queen, and the highly pigmented color lasts (and will instantly boost your mood).
Whether your look is classic red or soft and natural, any one of these lipstick colors will make a stylish statement.
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