Our Top 5 Unconventional Lipstick Colors for $20 or Less

When it comes to lipstick color, we all have our go-to’s. Reds, pinks, and nudes all come to mind when thinking of our mainstay shades. These colors are time-tested and guaranteed to look good on pretty much everyone, so naturally, they are the colors we gravitate towards time and time again when shopping for a new hue. It’s great to have an arsenal of safe lipstick shades, and you can never have too many offshoots of the classic red, but there’s never been a better time to venture out into the more… unconventional!

You may have noticed just how many cosmetic lines out there are starting to introduce unconventional lipstick colors into the mix. Pops of bold, bright color are becoming more and more prevalent for everyday wear—and before you say “no, that’s too much for me. I can’t pull it off,” you’d be surprised just how great some of these unconventional shades look once they’re on! From autumnal oranges to vampy blacks, and even the occasional blue, unconventional lipstick colors will have you standing out from the crowd, for sure. Whether you are minimalistic when it comes to your beauty routine or you’re just starting to experiment and try something new, a uniquely colored lipstick might be exactly what you need. Now, the world of crazy-colored lipsticks is vast and hard to navigate. With so many different shades out there these days, which one do you choose to look chic, not costumey? We scoured countless brands and reviews to select 5 unconventional lipstick shades that seemed to be cut above the rest, in terms of both aesthetic and price point. But we’re not going to just tell you our favorite shades, we’re going to show you how they look on different skin tones too. First, meet some of the voices behind The Style Canvas that are going to test these colors out:

The Style Canvas Team Tries Unconventional Lipstick Colors

From left to right: Rachel, Woaria, and Becca

Here’s how it went down. We each tried on all 5 lipstick shades and wrote down our immediate reactions, both good and bad. Read on for our 5 unconventional lipstick picks: 

1. Purple

Our Pick: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in “Shameless” – $10



Look 1: Purple Lipstick

Woaria: “This color applied smoothly, and the shade is definitely something I can see myself wearing! The color didn’t look too dramatic on my skin tone. I’m not one to shy away from a bold lip, but I’m glad this shade appeared to be a more subtle purple. I could definitely see myself rocking this color day or night.”

Look 2: Orange Lipstick

Rachel: “This shade is not a very aggressive purple, so that’s good. It’s just bold enough that it’s obvious you’re not wearing pink or red, but it’s not so crazy that people will look at you funny.”

Look 3: Purple Lipstick

Becca: “My favorite one! This color looks pretty bold on me, but the shade of purple is pretty and classy enough to where I don’t feel like I would stand out too much.  I would wear this lipstick for a night out when I’m looking to add a pop of color to my look. Would definitely recommend this one!”


  • Best for most skin tones
  • Easy to apply, but needs more than 1 application to get the color right
  • Easy to remove

2. Gray

Our Pick: NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in “Stone Fox” – $8

Gray Lipstick


Look 1: Gray Lipstick

Woaria: “I love this color! I don’t have anything like it in my lipstick rotation. It’s definitely a BOLD color that will have people doing a double take… but it’s fun to venture out sometimes from the conventional shades.”

Look 2: Gray Lipstick

Rachel: “I’m not sure if I can pull this one off every day, but I love how interesting it looks once it’s on. It is super bold and vampy in a less dramatic, more sultry way. There’s something about the blue-gray color that makes it seem almost normal, like I could wear it to work or the mall, no problem. Note that I said blue-gray. The color definitely has blue undertones that aren’t immediately obvious when you’re looking at the product in the bottle or online.”

Look 3: Gray Lipstick

Becca: “I think this color is so pretty! It’s a flattering color that would work with a lot of different outfits.  It definitely stands out, but if that’s the kind of look you’re going for then this is a great lipstick to do it with.  My favorite thing about this color is that it has a hint of blue that really complements the gray.”


  • Best for most skin tones
  • Easy to apply, 1 application is sufficient
  • Dries matte
  • Somewhat easy to remove

3. Black

Our Pick: Beauty Bakerie Lip Whips in “Midnight Truffles” – $20

Black Lipstick


Look 1: Black Lipstick

Woaria: “This is my first time trying black lipstick, and I absolutely LOVE it. Until now, I shied away from black lipstick because I thought it would look ridiculous on me but I’m going to start embracing it now! After just one application, it was heavily pigmented, which is what I look for in lipsticks. I’m interested to see how long it will last without fading, since this brand is known for its long-lasting lipstick.”

Look 2: Black Lipstick

Rachel: “Dang. This is BLACK. But surprisingly enough, I like it? I don’t know if I could wear this every day, but it would probably look really cool with messy, tousled hair, a rocker tee, and a bralette for like, a concert or something. Oh, and I guess it’s also worth mentioning that Beauty Bakerie’s lipsticks don’t come off easily without lotion or an oil-based makeup remover, so it’s definitely safe for things like eating and drinking. But, just know that this product doesn’t come off with standard makeup removers.”

Look 3: Black Lipstick

Becca: “I was anticipating this one the most and let me say it definitely stood up to the anticipation. It goes without saying, but this lipstick is VERY dark.  It made me feel slightly gothic but also super cool at the same time.  I don’t think I would ever be able to wear this lipstick for just a normal day, but I would maybe break it out for Halloween or something.  After putting it on, I have a newfound respect for people who can pull off black lipstick. I will say that I’m glad I was able to try on such a bold and dark color because I don’t know if I ever would have if it wasn’t for today.”


  • Best for most skin tones, but might make fairer skin tones appear more washed out
  • Easy to apply, 1 application is sufficient
  • Dries matte
  • Doesn’t come off easily (good for all-day wear)
  • Need special makeup remover (or lotion) to remove

4. Blue

Our Pick: J Cats’ Beauty Soft Matte Lip Coolers in “Black Sesame Slushy” – $7

Blue Lipstick


Look 1: Blue Lipstick

Woaria: “I want to like this product, I really do. I felt like an ice queen and surprisingly the dark gray-blue looks really good with my skin tone. The downside is that it required more than two coats to really get a solid, opaque finish. I like this color, and for the price it’s great, but I don’t like how many times you have to apply it for it to look this dark.” 

Look 2: Blue Lipstick

Rachel: “I’m so happy that I like this one. I was apprehensive choosing it, because there are so many crazy blue shades out there and I wanted something subtle for everyday wear. It’s definitely a more subdued, dark gray-blue. It takes a couple applications to get just the right effect but it’s a really cool color.”

Look 3: Blue Lipstick

Becca: “This didn’t turn out how I expected, but I’m glad! It would be perfect if I was going for a darker, more punky look without wanting to be too over the top. Something you should know is that it takes a few coats to reach its full color potential, but I think that’s good for someone like me who wants to be able to control how dark and dramatic the color is.” 


  • Best for most skin tones
  • Needs more than 1 application to get the color right
  • Dries matte
  • Easy to remove

5. Orange

Our Pick: Lime Crime Velvetines in “Squash” – $20

Orange Lipstick


Look 1: Orange Lipstick

Woaria: “I didn’t like this on my skin tone at all. It looked like I smeared mac and cheese dust on my lips. I did like the fact that this product applies wet and turns matte after a few seconds but that’s not enough to get me to like this color. I’d definitely try another Lime Crime color, though.”

Look 2: Orange Lipstick

Rachel: “I actually really like the craziness of this one. I think maybe it has to do with the fact that my skin tone is more olive and tan, but the color is so gorgeous and it made my green eyes pop. I’m sure this shade would conjure a few side glances, but it’s a subtle enough yellowy orange that I see no problems wearing this baby during the day. Anyone who says otherwise can go sit in their basic lipstick-colored wrongness and be wrong. Sorry Woaria.”

Look 3: Orange Lipstick

Becca: “My first impression of this lipstick was that it was one of the easier ones to apply.  That being said, the color wasn’t my favorite on myself.  It wasn’t too bold which was nice, but the orange sort of blended in with my skin a bit too much.  I do think with the right outfit and maybe some lip liner I could make this lipstick work, but I would need a lot of convincing to get myself to walk out the door.”


  • Best for medium/olive skin tones, but can work with other skin tones too
  • Easy to apply
  • Stays on for all-day wear
  • Dries matte
  • Easy to remove

There you have it! 5 unconventional lipsticks that are just unique enough to turn heads without going overboard. And, at a price point of $20 or less, you’ll feel good about trying out this bold beauty trend without having to splurge. So whether you try one or all 5 like we did, don’t be afraid to go for the bold (pun intended). Who knows? You just might find your next favorite lipstick mainstay.