Best Transition-to-Fall Lip Products; or, It May Be the First Day of Fall, but It Still Feels Like Summer


I live in Texas. Texas is hot. There’s just no way around it. It’s September and it is still almost 100 degrees every day. So while other bloggers post new fall cosmetic collections, full of beautiful deep eyeshadows, thick winged liner, and burgundy matte lips, I’m still here trying to race from my office to my car before my face melts off. If there’s a silver lining, I suppose it’s that our bronzer game can go strong through college football season. The bad news is that the rest of our makeup may not make it until the third quarter.

So this is a post for people who, like me, are ready for fall even if the weather isn’t. I’m going to start with lip products, because I think this is the easiest way to alter a look. I am so drawn to deep fall shades, but I know I would look ridiculous if I paired them with my shorts and tank tops. (Can we just take a minute to talk about how annoyed I am that I still have to wear shorts and tank tops in September? But it’s survival time, folks. You do what you gotta do.) So I can’t wear a dark, vampy lip, but it’s not really the season for my favorite bright coral glosses either. So what’s a person to do?

Here’s a quick overview of ways to transition your lip game to fall when it’s still blazing hot outside. Then I’ll give a few of my favorite transitional lip picks. Most are affordable and drugstore products, though I have a few high end options as well. But I generally think that if you’re looking for a couple of transitional lipsticks, drugstore can be the way to go if you’re not going to be using them long term. Of course, that’s assuming fall happens before Christmas. Which isn’t always a given here.

A couple of general guidelines:

  1. If you have a favorite bright summer lipstick, look for the same shade with slightly more brown in the formula to deepen it up and tone it down for fall.
  2. If you want to wear a dark color, choose a sheer formula (but one that’s still pigmented) instead of a matte.
  3. If you want to wear a bright shade, choose a matte formula instead of a gloss.
  4. Be sure to exfoliate and moisturize your lips regularly. Even if it’s still hot, the air is starting to dry out, and I know my lips are already starting to crack even though I haven’t changed my routine at all and this was not a problem a month ago.

Here is a list of my top picks for transitional lipstick shades and formulas:

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in 230 Coral Garden. This is a beautiful, creamy, brick-coral shade that is such a great deep nude shade. It has enough coral that it is reminiscent of summer, but enough brown that it would pair well with all things pumpkin. It is a super-creamy, moisturizing formula that helps your lips transition to fall without becoming over dry, a major problem I often have with matte lipsticks. I don’t know about you, but my skin is far worse in between seasons, when the weather is changing and it hasn’t settled into a routine yet. For these reasons, this is probably my top transitional shade, and would work well on many skin tones.

Jordana Modern Matte Lipstick in 01 Matte Bare. This might be one of my favorite lip colors of all time. It is a very comfortable matte lipstick with excellent wear time. It is actually very similar to the Rimmel lipstick in Coral Garden, but a matte formula. This warm coral-brown nude really does walk the line between summer and fall, and the matte formula pushes it that much closer to flannel shirt and scarf weather.

Pur Cosmetics Lip Lure Hydrating Lip Lacquer in Belle. I just got this in my September Boxycharm (I’ll have that review up later next week) and it actually inspired this post. It’s finish is somewhere between a cream and a gloss, which gets me toward that fall matte trend without being too drying on the lips. It is the perfect combination of peach, brown, and mauve to fall just on the fringes of a nude lipstick, without being so brown that it loses some of its summer luster.

If you’re thinking, “Wow those first three looks awfully similar,” you’re right. Apparently I love a warm nude coral. So here are some brighter, deeper, or pinker options.

Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in Tulip. This is my favorite lipstick of all time, hands down. It is a perfect combination of coral, pink, and red, and the formula is opaque and easy to apply. It is bright without reading too “summer.” One of the reasons I love it is that it really works for all seasons–I could see this paired with just about any eye look, warm or cool, and it looks just good at the gym or on a date night.

Colourpop Lippie Stix in Tiger. If you really can’t wait any longer for those deep berry shades, this one is for you. Because this is a sheer (but not too sheer) formula of Colourpop’s famous Lippie Stix, it doesn’t come across as too heavy for hot weather, but it’s also not so bright that it looks like you just left the beach and somehow stumbled onto a landlocked college campus. It has hints of burgundy, berry, and purple, and could work for warm or cool skin tones. I love the shape of Colourpop’s Lippie Stix–the thin tube allows for precise application so that even the darkest shades do not require lipliner. I’m all about ease, and this might be the easiest-to-wear dark lipstick I’ve found. It also has great staying power, especially for a sheer lipstick, as the color remains even after the gloss has worn away. It would pair well with any look.

Milani Color Statement Lipsticks in Nude Creme and Pretty Natural . This choice is based as much on formula and scent as it is on color. Milani’s lipstick formula is a little thicker and waxier than most creamy lipsticks, so it ends up not being as glossy. I find these a bit too thick-feeling for summer, but they are perfect for fall. And if you’ve never smelled a Milani lipstick, go do it–they smell like watermelon. Not overly sweet, but like if Bath & Body Works created a watermelon body spray. So between the fall-ish formula and the summery smell, they are a perfect transitional lipstick. and the colors are both great transitional shades from brighter summer nudes and pinks. Nude creme has a peachy beige tone that is warm enough for summer but cool enough for fall, and Pretty Natural is an ever-so-slightly deeper pale pink than the brighter pinks I wear during the summer months. It reads a bit more nude, but still bright enough that it works with summer outfits.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Addis Ababa. This shade is definitely a summery hot pink–there are no nude or brick tones about it. But in NYX’s matte formula, the shade still works for a fall transition. It’s a soft, comfortable matte that is not overly dry, and it wears smoothly and easily on the lips. If you want to hang on to summer brights just a little longer, this might be a great pick!

You could also certainly try out different combinations of lipsticks and lip liners to tone down or brighten up lipsticks you already own. For me, though, this is a no-go. I need to be able to apply lip products quickly and easily, often in the car or at my desk, so I am unlikely to go with a DIY lip color. I just know my own makeup personality, and while I will go to great lengths to try new eyeshadow looks, I am less likely to put effort into lip looks that I’d have to reapply throughout the day.

There is, of course, another option. You can always say, “Forget this. The heat means I can wear my favorite coral lipstick that much longer!” Get that bright pink gloss all over the lid of an iced pumpkin spice latte. Because in the end, we have to work with what we’re given.

If you like this post, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to make it a series that includes face and eye products, even transitional skincare. Because goodness knows as an already dry-skinned person, I have a ton to say about that!

(Disclaimer: I purchased all products mentioned on my own, and this post is not sponsored in any way.)

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