Lets Discuss Lipstick Coverage: Sheer vs Opaque

A while back I fell deeply in love with this gorgeous shade of lipstick from this post. As I wasn't about to splash a ton of money on the original (and am not a huge fan of their ingredients which regularly get the bottom grades in Öko Test lab tests), I started swatching in the local stores. After a bit of searching, I found a really close match and I tried it on. It looked wrong. I didn't understand why, the model's skin, eye and hair colouring isn't that far from my own, and I can wear such shades in my clothes pretty well. So why wasn't the lipstick working? I went back to the post and one word caught my eye: sheer. The original lipstick was sheer. The one I tried on was opaque. This was something I had never considered when looking for lip products.

If you're reading this and going "duh", you can skip the rest of the post because you're obviously not a makeup rookie. And it would be really lovely if you'd share your opinion about opaque and sheer lip products in the comments! However if like me you are still figuring things out, here are some things to think about:

Sheer lipstick has several advantages: it allows your natural colour to peek through, which lightly adjust the product colour to your own colouring. It makes the lips look more three-dimensional and thus fuller. It also looks more natural and softer, because who has flat colour without variation anywhere on their skin? Sheer lipstick lets you get away with crazier shades and with sloppier application, like dabbing it on with your finger without a mirror. However sometimes sheer products can be too sheer, and end up being a layer of pinkish gloss. My two favourite kinds of sheer lip products are either lipsticks that aren't opaque but are layerable, for example the Catrice Ultimate Colour line, or lip tints like Benetint from Benefit.

Opaque lipstick, whether matte or not, will give you the colour that you see in the tube. When applied well, it can really make a statement. It covers any unevenness, whether a wonky shape or uneven colouring. Long-stay lipstick is almost always opaque. However opaque lipstick may not always look right on makeup-free skin, and does need careful application.

Are your lips heavily pigmented or not? If they are, you might find that you need recall opaque lipstick to get the colour you want. On the other hand sometimes all you need it a bit of very sheer product to make your natural colour pop.

So what do you prefer? Sheer or opaque? Or do you love them all? Let me know in the comments!

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