Not to sound dramatic, but finding the perfect lipstick shade for my skin tone changed my life. For most of my beauty-obsessed life, I’ve been a nude gloss kind of girl and shied away from lipsticks because I was afraid of “doing too much.” As a teenager, I was told that wearing bold lipstick shades made me look too grown; as a young adult, I was sold the myth that bright lipsticks don’t look good on dark skin women (false!). Now that I’ve fully grown into loving and celebrating the beauty of being a dark skin Black woman, exploring the endless shades of lipsticks on the market is all the more fun. With the help of a few makeup experts and inspiration from famous beauties, including Lupita Nyong’o, Naomi Campbell, and Jackie Aina, I’ve found the select few lipstick shades that pop against my complexion; stay on all day, and allow me to flex my beauty and confidence. Since I’ve cracked the code, it’s only right to share; here are 11 lipstick shades every dark skin woman should keep in rotation.

Line & Load All-in-One Lippie in Ride or Die – NYX

The name of this shade defines how I feel about most NYX lip products; I’m a die-hard NYX fan. I started with the cult-favorite butter glosses, and once I felt confident enough to begin exploring bolder lip colors, this all-in-one lippie served as my intro course. The soft matte formula doubles as a liner and lipstick, and this shade of brown is perfect for the dramatic pouty brown lip liner look that black women have perfected. Take it one step further after lining and fill in for a bold and rich brown lip.

NARS Air Matte Lip Color in Joy Ride – NARS

Pink has never really been my go-to for lips, for this warm pink shade from Nars changed that. It’s bright and highly pigmented, but the soft matte finish makes it subtle and oh so pretty—a spring-time must-have.

ModernMatte Powder Lipstick- Torch Song – Shiseido

This vivid orange shade is perfect for when you need a bold pop of color to bring your look to life. It looks redder before application but leaves a bright orange finish that is vibrant without being overwhelming.

Stunna Lip Paint – Fenty Beauty

Rihanna and Fenty Beauty never disappoint, and this lip color is no exception. Unlocked is one of the prettiest shades of pink you’ll ever wear. The depth of this shade makes it great on dark complexions and compliments cool undertones.

Rouge in Rockin’ Rust #414 – Makeup Forever

You can never go wrong with a dark red lip on dark skin. Some shades of red can have orange undertones that may overpower the red when applied, but Rockin’ Rust is a perfectly balanced shade with an elegant effect.

MatteTrance Lipstick in Extravaganza – Pat McGrath

Every Black woman knows that Pat McGrath is the truth when it comes to makeup for dark complexions. This shade is a go-to when you want a darker pink lip that’s still bright and vibrant. A hybrid between pink and purple, this rich magenta shade will make you look unforgettable in the best way. 

Strong Flesh in Pleasure – flesh-beauty

I’m convinced purple was made for Black women—and if not made, then definitely perfected. When I want to wear a purple lip, I usually reach for a dark plum shade, but this brighter shade of purple from Flesh pops against dark skin for an attention-grabbing look.

Refillable Lipstick in 999 – Dior

I used to be intimidated by red lipstick, but as I’ve tried different shades, I discovered the ones that feel comfortable, and this shade from Dior is a go-to. It’s a classic in every sense of the word, and while it looks great on almost every skin tone, it’s particularly stunning on darker complexions.

Semi-Matte Lipsticks in Foxy Brown – Mented Cosmetics

The subtle red/brown shade is a step up from when you want a basic nude. The deep copper tone compliments dark brown skin shades so well without blending in.

Girl Lip Stylo in Inventor – Hourglass

It can be hard to figure out which shades of pink work best on dark skin. Some can be too bright and look chalky, while others look dull. This soft pink from Hourglass is the perfect balance of bright and deep, not to mention the addition of shea butter makes it equal parts nourishing and vivid.

Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in Coretta – Uoma Beauty

After watching Jackie Aina slay effortlessly in this shade for one of her youtube tutorials, I immediately added it to my cart. This lipstick is the pink you put on when you want to feel pretty. This shade, along with brown lip liner, is a classic lip combo.