The OG of traditional lipsticks in the clean beauty space, ILIA Beauty (established 2011) has been holding court ever since. The colors are complex, unique, flattering and modern — a rare combo despite the increase of make up branding touting non-toxic formulas. Named after music from the 70’s and 80’s, Sasha Plavsic’s original shades were offered in either a traditional lipstick, or its slightly dewier iteration: her classic tinted lip conditioner.

Not sure sure to start? Bang Bang is your best bet if you’re after a red, the bright berry Arabian Nights is the founder’s personal favorite, and Nobody’s Baby looks fantastic on everyone.

However, in the summer months, I’m a sucker for her peachy pink nudes. Funnel of Love, pictured above, was created to capture the exuberantly gamine lip color worn by Bridget Bardot in her hay day.

kosås lipsticks

These devastatingly chic lipsticks have racked up countless accolades, and it was easy to see why. Sheena Yaitanes, creator of the line, designed a straightforward range of modern shades that flatter across her clientele spectrum. Yes, we’ve heard this idea countless times before, but Yaitanes took a novel approach here. While studying art, she decided to forgo the usual brown nudes when building her shades and instead opted for primary colors. The result? Lively colors that bring a vibrant energy to the wearer, rather than dulling things down.

The lipstick containers are lightweight, as is the formula on the lips. The vanilla scented bullets impart a supple, hydrating veil of breathable color.

The minimalism of the line (tinted face oils, lip balms and blushes are out, but word on the street is that cream eyeshadows are forthcoming) means that there’s less work and mental effort involved. Regardless of the direction this line continues in, these lipsticks will likely remain a hero product.

Just a slick of a lipstick (in my case, Rosewater or Stardust as shown below), on an otherwise bare face feels both polished and pretty. Royal was really popular in the Vancouver’s Gastown boutique where I’d first discovered the line, so much that it had sold out. But if you’re gun shy about going for a bold color, the coolly delicate Rosewater (which makes a brilliant blush in a pinch) or the warmer Stardust are safe bets.


Available via Credo Beauty, Detox Market or Kosås.

Rosewater & Stardust.