On an overcast wintry afternoon, the queen of natural makeup, Bobbi Brown, introduced her new Lip System to a packed room of beauty editors in her SoHo headquarters. "Some people tell you to match your lipstick to your skin color, some people say match it to your eyecolor, but they're both wrong," she announced. "You should always match it to your lips' natural color! That's why your friend can wear a lipstick that you love, then you put it on and it's totally wrong."
Brown's system, embodied by a Pantone-like color wheel, is simple: find your lips' naked shade, and the wheel offers four neutrals, four brights and four deep shades right for you. (The one color conspicuously absent from the system? Red. As Bobbi explained, "Nobody's natural lipcolor is red, so really, everyone can wear red. It's more about, do you want to wear red?")
Now, as a longtime beauty editor I do know my way around a lipstick counter, but I must admit, there is something reassuring about being told in no uncertain terms what does and does not work for me. Although I am naturally drawn to deeper shades like Bobbi's Blue Raspberry, according to the wheel (which hits Bobbi Brown counters in May) my lips are more compatible to her Crystal Pink. And when one of Bobbi's makeup artists applied it, I had to agree.