Lipstick Diaries: 6 trendsetters known for wearing a statement lip share their favourite shades

lipstick diaries
Photography by Carlo Mendoza
lipstick diaries
Photography by Carlo Mendoza

If the recent runways are any indication, the fixation with rich, outré lip colours isn’t fading anytime soon. From metallic purple (Fendi) to fluoro-pink (Christian Dior) to burning red (Marni), makeup artists have ignited a newfound appreciation for highly individualized hues. Yet for certain style and beauty influencers, a bold swipe of colour across the lips is a defining feature that separates them from the pack. More than a spritz of perfume or a faithful handbag, lipstick conveys the nuances of their personality, making them instantly recognizable. Here, we asked our favourite lipstick devotees to bare all when it comes to their shades and brands of choice, how they discovered their prized hues and their expert application tricks.


Hannah Bronfman lipstick
Photography: Bronfman by Christopher Starbody; Product by Carlo Mendoza

Hannah Bronfman
DJ and Co-founder of Beautified, a New York beauty-booking app

Signature shade: “Clinique Chubby Stick in Grandest Grape. The first time I wore it, I brought it with me, only to realize I didn’t need to reapply!”

Moment of discovery: “Ever since I entered the beauty space, I’ve been trying to push the limits of ‘traditional.’ A few years ago, it was avant-garde to wear orange or dark purple lipstick. Now it is normal. I don’t think we have to conform.”

Word of mouth: “My trick for making lipstick last is to buy a long-lasting formula, otherwise you are left to constantly reapply throughout the night.”

First love: “M.A.C Lady Danger. It was just a few years ago when I saw this colour on a beautiful girl and asked her what it was. I went to try it and was hooked.”

Finishing touches: “Bronze cheeks and a sweep of mascara. This adds enough polish to the rest of the face without distracting from the statement lip.”

Pictured: M.A.C lipstick in “Lady Danger” ($18,, clinique Chubby stick intense moisturizing lip colour balm in “Grandest Grape” ($19,

Mia Moretti lipstick
Photography: Moretti by Rony Alwin; Product by Carlo Mendoza

Mia Moretti
DJ and one-half of The Dolls

Signature shade: “M.A.C Russian Red. Glossy lipstick always ends up on my teeth, so I’ve limited my red palette to matte finishes.”

Moment of discovery: “I went through a lot of trial and error to find this shade. I like that it goes on perfectly without a mirror or even a lip liner.”

First love: “When I met my best friend, she used to wear YSL Pink Celebration. The smell reminds me of a clichéd fabulous French femme fatale.”

Word of mouth: “I apply my lipstick directly on the lips, no gloss or balm underneath or on top. The matte colours stain your lips and stay all day, even through drinks and dinner.”

Finishing touches: “Just a nice, thick mascara. Sephora has a good one. I like a clean face when I do dark, bold lips so I don’t look overly made-up.”

Pictured: M.A.C lipstick in “Russian Red” ($18,, Yves Saint Laurent rouge pur couture lipstick in “Pink Celebration” ($39, at department stores)

Poppy King lipstick
Photography: King by Michael Angelo; Product by Carlo Mendoza

Poppy King
Founder of Lipstick Queen

Signature shade: “Lipstick Queen Sinner in Red. My signature is red, red and more red.”

Moment of discovery: “When I was about seven years old, I snuck off with my mother’s lipstick—it was this oxblood colour from the famous ’70s brand Biba in London. It made me feel like a superhero, like I could make anything possible.”

Word of mouth: “I apply it straight from the tube, because that’s the best way to get maximum impact, and then blot with a tissue to make it last and apply another coat on top.”

Finishing touches: “All you need is mascara and a bit of eyeliner to go with red lips. Go easy on the eyeshadow and do your lips before you do your eye makeup, because you will know when enough is enough.”

True confession: “Every single time I apply red lipstick, I have the same adrenalin rush that I had as a little girl; the magic has never worn off on me.”

Pictured: Lipstick Queen Saint in “Hot Rose” and Sinner in “Rouge” ($20 each,

Linda Rodin lipstick
Photography: Rodin by Nadia Sarwar; Product by Carlo Mendoza

Linda Rodin
Fashion stylist and founder of the cult Rodin Olio Lusso skincare line

Signature shade: “I use three products to create my neon pink: Fran Wilson Mood Matcher in Green, which stains my lips; then Make Up For Ever lip pencil in 16C waterproof; and I finish with By Terry No. 301 Pink Party lipstick. I like to mix and match.”

Moment of discovery: “The first time I wore lipstick was when I was 16. My friends and I were all in love with a frosted pale-pink lipstick. It was very ’60s and wonderful.”

Word of mouth: “I store my lip products in the fridge. I usually buy more than one at a time—right now, I have about 10 of the Make Up For Ever lip pencils and three By Terry lipsticks. This keeps them fresh.”

Finishing touches: “What do I wear with lipstick? Nothing. Just lipstick for me. And, rarely, mascara. I feel completely naked without lipstick. Without it, I feel washed out. I have pale skin and grey hair, so I need a punch of colour.”

True confession: “My mother was also a lipstick girl. I don’t remember ever seeing her without it. So I learned early on that this was a glamorous thing to do. I remember her driving me to school in her nightgown with her lipstick on. She wouldn’t drive out of the driveway without her lipstick. She wore Revlon in a shade called Persian Melon. I actually have a few tubes in my fridge for nostalgia reasons.”

Pictured: Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner pencil in “16C” ($23,, By Terry Rouge Terrybly Age Defense Lipstick in “Pink Party” ($49,, Fran Wilson Mood Matcher lipstick in “Green” ($3,

Kate Young lipstick
Photography: Product by Carlo Mendoza; Young by Michael N. Todaro/Getty

Kate Young
Fashion stylist and Target designer

Signature shade: “M.A.C Ruby Woo is the one I always come back to.”

Moment of discovery: “The first time I wore red lipstick was to my junior prom, and it was from Dior. It smelled like roses. I wore a red dress and shoes, and I had big hair.”

Word of mouth: “I put on my lipstick without any liner and then take the edge of a tissue and soften the outer line. I don’t like the outline to be too hard. I just reapply to make it last, and actually I don’t mind how it looks when it’s coming off.”

True confession: “M.A.C Ruby Woo and M.A.C Russian Red have been my favourites since the early ’90s, when I was trying to look like Madonna.”

Pictured: M.A.C lipstick in “Ruby Woo” ($18,

Jen Brill lipstick
Product photography by Carlo Mendoza

Jen Brill
Creative consultant and street-style favourite

Signature shade: “Chanel Rouge Coco in Gabrielle; it’s a deep red. That’s my standard. I have a tube in every single handbag.”

Moment of discovery: “I’ve been wearing lipstick forever. I don’t remember when it started, actually. I’m quite a creature of habit, and I wear mostly the same makeup all the time, only switching up a shade here and there, depending on the season. I do wear M.A.C Ruby Woo sometimes, but it’s a bit matte so it’s hard to wear in the dead of winter. Once in a while I’ll go through a purple phase and wear Chanel Rouge Coco in Rivoli or Make Up For Ever in N28, a metallic violet that I like when I’m tan.”

First love: “In the ’90s, I was obsessed with terracotta matte lipstick. It was so dry, pasty and cakey that by the end of the day, you couldn’t even rub your lips together. I wore this to high school. At the time, Lady Miss Kier was my icon and she wore brown lipstick!”

Word of mouth: “If I have a lot of time, and it’s a weekend, I’ll pull out the lip brush and lip pencil and do a perfect lip, but mostly I just throw on my lipstick, barely looking. But I have a specific shape to my mouth, so I always apply by starting in the middle of my upper lip and going to the left. Then I go to the right to finish the top and from the right to the left on the bottom in a half-circle.”

Finishing touches: “I like to keep my skin really clean, do lots of mascara and apply Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream on my eyelids for a little shine.”

From left: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in “N28” ($28, Chanel Rouge Coco in “Gabrielle” ($39, at department stores)

More Beauty & Grooming