Vintage Inspired Lipstick Shades You Can Still Buy Today

By Simone Sydel
·  7 min read
Vintage Inspired Lipstick Shades You Can Still Buy Today alamy

In beauty, there’s no category more timeless than lipstick.

Lipstick is an enduring symbol of empowerment and femininity, and the one thing that completes every look. Lipstick can totally accentuate your makeup and the undertone of your skin, or, if you choose the wrong shade, it can make you look washed out and sickly.

Over the decades, brands have met every demand with a dizzying amount of offerings and variety, leaving no color, undertone, or finish unturned. However, despite the scale of options, there are those strikingly universal shades that we keep coming back to. This is especially the case with classics worn by some of our favorite Hollywood stars.

Therefore, in this article, we will talk about some of the vintage lipstick shades that have endured the test of time and are still loved by everyone today as much as they were back in the day.

Audrey Hepburn's Favorite Lipsticks

Audrey Hepburn was a lover of soft pinks and salmon corals. Even though she sometimes glammed up and finished her look with deeper reds (and looked totally gorgeous with them), her favorites were still softer, less striking shades that played well with her being bright winter in the sci/art system.

Here are two of Audrey's favorite shades that you can still buy today:

Revlon – “Pink In The Afternoon”

There has been so much debate over whether this is the lipstick Audrey wore when playing Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and so many people have contrasting opinions and analyses on the matter. However, when you look at the lipstick in the famous cab scene, you will notice that it looks strikingly similar to Revlon's "Pink In The Afternoon."

As I already mentioned in a previous article, there’s a blog post that says Revlon apparently confirmed Audrey wore their lipstick in Breakfast at Tiffany's; however, I couldn't find Revlon’s statement where they allegedly said that.

In any case, Revlon's "Pink In The Afternoon" is a beautiful pinky nude with a soft, creamy texture and a satin, rose-pink finish on the lips that's still available today.

Lisa Eldridge – “Go Lightly Gloss”

This is an actual shade of the lipstick Audrey wore before her passing. And we know this through makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, who was the successful bidder of Audrey's real-life Cartier lipstick holder that happened to have a little bit of the actual lipstick left inside.

Lisa realized this is a shade that's not being produced anymore, so she analyzed the pigment and created her own limited edition lipstick. But since her lipstick was quickly sold out and it probably won't be coming back, the closest thing to Audrey's actual lipstick is the "Go Lightly Gloss," which was also made by using the same pigment sample from Audrey's lipstick holder, and luckily, this one is here to stay.

The “Go Lightly Gloss” is a beautiful salmon pink, coral shade with the addition of subtle modern pink and golden pearls that make the lip gloss truly wearable and flattering for all skin tones.

Marilyn Monroe's Favorite Lipsticks

Opposite to Audrey Hepburn, if there were a woman known for her fiery red lipsticks, it’s definitely the beauty queen of the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn's red lips were her signature look, and she rarely opted for any other lipstick shade than deep, warm reds. Luckily, the exact same shades she wore back in the day can still be bought today! 

Besame Cosmetics – “Red Hot Red” 

Besame Cosmetics created this lipstick based on the exact shade Marilyn wore as Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot, but the formula has a modern upgrade: plant-based squalane and vitamin E to make it super hydrating.

"Red Hot Red" has a deep, brilliant color with a warm, yellow-toned base and a delicious vanilla scent that makes it even more amazing.

Guerlain KissKiss – “320 Red Insolence”

In addition to "Red Hot Red," Marilyn famously applied up to five coats of Guerlain's "Rough Diabolique" lipstick, which has since been renamed into "320 Red Insolence" and now belongs to the KissKiss collection.

This beautiful bold red lipstick is made out of hydrating hyaluronic acid, as well as nourishing mango butter, to ensure the lips are smooth and perfectly hydrated. The fine, even, and rich, creamy texture provides a vibrant satin finish with impeccable hold.

Max Factor – “Ruby Red” 

And of course, like many other famous actresses associated with the brand, Marilyn Monroe was also made the face of Max Factor at one point in the late 1940s.

Max Factor's son Max Jr. worked with the young actress, helping her perfect the beauty look we all know and love. And that’s when Marilyn’s signature red lipstick became the stuff of legend. "Ruby Red" was the shade’s name, a true berry red that highlighted the creamy skin and platinum hair that Marilyn Monroe was so famous for.

Sharon Tate's Favorite Lipsticks

Sharon Tate loved a natural, sunkissed look that she complemented with a nude or a frosted pink lipstick on some occasions. Most of the time, she enjoyed slathering Vaseline on her lips to keep them hydrated and soft, but whenever she was seen strolling the streets of LA in an effortless glam, she wore one of the following lipsticks:

ALMAY – “260 Skip The Gym”

ALMAY's "260 Skip The Gym" is a frosted shell pink lipstick with a beautiful shiny finish, ideal to complement an effortless look for a summer evening. It's definitely not a lipstick that can be built up as it can get a little clumpy and way too shiny, but it’s perfect for anyone who, like Sharon, wants just a little bit of sheen.

ALMAY – “120 Go Wild”

ALMAY's "120 Go Wild" was another favorite of Sharon’s, and this is a gorgeous nude lipstick with a silky satin finish and a cool tone.

Grace Kelly's Favorite Lipsticks

The grand dame of timeless chic, Grace Kelly was all about her iconic red lip – and was said to be faithful to Dior for her beauty as well as her style. Since she was a muse for the fashion house, it was only right that she championed their makeup too.

Dior – “999 Satin”

One of Grace's favorite lipsticks was Dior's best-selling classic red in "999 Satin," often referred to by its other name "Iconic," and a product that's rumored to be the lip color worn at the first-ever Christian Dior runway show.

Now more modern and luxurious than ever, the best-seller is a part of Dior's Rouge collection adorned with a new signature band and infused with moisturizing and softening ingredients such as shea butter, red peony, and pomegranate extract.

Elizabeth Taylor's Favorite Lipsticks

Elizabeth Taylor favored a fellow Elizabeth – Elizabeth Arden – for lips. She had a huge collection of lipsticks and was often seen wearing various shades, from deep reds to the brightest pinks and purples. But despite often switching things up with many shades, Elizabeth had a couple of favorites:

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Moisturizing Lipstick – “Red Door Red”

Elizabeth Arden's "Red Door Red" is a beautiful lipstick with a classic red hue designed to hydrate and plump the skin while also staying in place for a full day.

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Moisturizing Lipstick – “Scarlet”

Elizabeth Arden's "Scarlet" is slightly darker, bolder, and more muted than the brighter and more intense “Red Door Red.” It has the same hydrating and long-lasting formula, but the color would look better for an evening glam rather than an everyday red lip. 

Closing Thoughts

While lipsticks can either make or break a look, there are a few classics that definitely have the power to attract anyone's attention.

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