The New Neutrals That Actually Werk at Work

Who says that workwear is boring? Or in this case, can anyone BEG to disagree that wearing neutral lip colors in office is fun? (Side note: is Mercury retrograde pushing me to see things differently? :P)

For me, I am the type of girl that LOVES LURRRVES to wear a fun lip color! Whether it be a ravishing red, punchy pink, bold black, va-va-voom violet, nice nude or basic brown, my lips do not lie as they currently portray my emotions. The one thing that works well in office environments from day to night or even a post-work cocktail is a neutral lip. Usually pawing at the “nude” or beige spectrum, the beauty industry’s definition of neutral is dated.

Rather than sticking to beige shades that don’t look on people darker or lighter than Snow White, the type of neutral that actually looks hot on all skin tones usually has reddish undertones. Since all of us are embedded with red tones underneath our skin, this classic primary color gives us a flush of instant energy that a cup of coffee can’t do.

On another thought, I’ve been putting my matte liquid lipsticks (a.k.a. Instagram’s go-to staple for your #faceoftheday posts) aside as I absolutely hate having extremely dry lips. Also, Galore called the shots that the matte Instagram lip is dead. (No shade Huda, Kat and Jeffree, but I still love your products!) Depsite my love affair with liquid lipstick, I feel that it’s finally time to shake up my beauty routine!

First things first, one of the hottest new neutrals that flashes across my mind is anything with a orange base. Rather than the bright Sunkist oranges you see at your local supermarket, this type of orange that’s super work-appropriate is a bit more muted. Enter Trope Cosmetics. I normally don’t ever repeat the same product, but you seriously NEED to try it as it’s pink-based orange that is reminiscent of the hue from a flamingo’s neck. The pinkish brick undertones don’t turn your teeth into a habitual chain smoker’s, which is nice as most yellow-based oranges are guilty of doing this. As an Asian, I honestly have a HARD time finding the *right* shade orange as it’s either too pale, yellow or red. So, this is the first orange that’s actually truly neutral on my skin.

Even if you are not Asian, you will still LOVE this shade as it will flatter your skin beautifully! (Seriously, I am a firm believer that this will be a universally flattering color!)

Oh, and if you are a matte lipstick lover, then this is the look for you as Flamingo dries off with a beautiful velvety finish.


trope flamingo.jpg


DUPE: Melt’s Mural Milani’s Orange Gina 

To all my ladies who love a nude lip, I swear by Layn’s Mona. Named after the Mona Lisa, this shade is as enigmatic as Italy’s most famous smile. In natural sunlight, it appears more like a soft semi-matte terracotta coral whereas on video, it appears more metallic (according to my friend!). The truth is that it’s a hybrid between nude and coral. While most coral shades in the beauty counter run towards the bright spectrum, this one is more of a muted retro coral that you barely see in today’s department store counters or Sephora. In fact, that shade looks EXACTLY like the lipstick Playmates wore on the pages of Playboy in the 1970s (side note: this is slightly NSFW, but look at her lipstick color!). If you want to go for a slightly sexier look, then this is the shade for you.

layn mona.jpg


DUPES: Kat von D’s Lolita II; Fenty Beauty’s Freckle Fiesta;  Revlon’s Rum Raisin 


Last but not least, let’s not overlook the power of a red lip at the boardroom. Red lipstick usually screams cocktail hour, but you can still work it inside more creative environments. While most reds tend to lean towards warm or blue-based, Rose All Day’s Boujee is a darkened true red. To me, a true red is the ideal red as it’s neither blue nor yellow. In fact, this shade feels freshly contemporary as more true reds I see are brighter and have a retro-tinged feel. It might read differently on your lips, but seriously, you will never regret getting Boujee because it’s the baddest in the game. (Side note: Love and Flair said that it’s a rich English red mahogany!)

While most office environments are conservative, you can secretly violate the “no red lip” rule by sneaking in a subtle stain. If you want to wear it as a bold opaque shade, it’s more of a satiny cream finish that can flawlessly hide AC-dried lip lines.

Rose All Day:



DUPE: Colourpop’s Goldie; Pat McGrath’s Strange



Published by

Michelle Varinata

Lapis - (n.) a layer Shrek once said that "onions have layers" as he was peeling one. Like an onion, I have layers. Born in Jakarta and raised in Singapore, I grew up being surrounded in a multicultural environment. Then, I moved to the States, where I lived in NYC and L.A. The creativity, hustle, bustle and vibe of those cities inspired me to become a blogger, journalist and influencer. Writing by day and living it up by night, I slay in the streets one OOTD at a time. Full-face makeup included, too. ;)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s