Breakfast at Tiffany's

The Surprising Debate Around Audrey Hepburn's Lipstick Shade from Breakfast at Tiffany's

Can you solve this cult-classic mystery?
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"Hand me my purse, will you, darling?" Holly says, interrupting Paul, "A girl can't read that sort of thing without her lipstick."

This Breakfast at Tiffany's scene forever burned the image in our minds of a broken-hearted Holly Golightly applying her iconic shade of salmon pink lipstick in the back of a taxi.  

If you're an Audrey Hepburn fan, or even just a Breakfast at Tiffany's lover, then you know that Golightly's lipstick has stirred up quite the debate. Reddit threads and bloggers have gone deep trying to decide the maker and shade of her signature salmon pink.

Being a curious fan myself, I also scoured the internet searching for the lipstick and learning of others similar to Golightly's shade. Below I've broken down the debate and rounded up a handful of top recommended shades so you can also have her signature salmon pink pout.

Revlon's "Pink in the Afternoon"

Revlon, "Pink in the Afternoon"

BUY IT: $4.97;

If you do a quick google search, this is the lipstick that comes up as Golightly's chosen shade. However there's skepticism around whether Revlon's Pink in the Afternoon is the actual color. Let me break it down for you…

One look at Pink in the Afternoon, and you'll notice that the shade isn't quite as peachy, or salmon, as Golightly's. But that's not even the biggest concern of this mystery.

Lisa Eldridge, a UK based makeup artist, bought Hepburn's gold Cartier lipstick holder from a Christie's auction. When she picked up the case, it still had a small remainder of one of the last lipsticks Hepburn used. Eldridge swatched the lipstick, made her own batch of it, and referred to it as a "true salmon pink," making a connection to a deleted scene from Breakfast at Tiffany's.

In her video debuting the lipstick holder, Eldridge says that the shade does not come from a brand starting with the letter "R" and vowed to take the name and maker of the shade with her to the grave.

At this point in my search, I was ready to throw in the towel, but then the plot thickened.

In 2019 Revlon posted a photo on Facebook of Richard Avedon, the photographer behind the majority of Revlon's 80s lipstick ads, and Audrey Hepburn, wishing Avedon a happy birthday. A follower commented on the post asking about the rumors surrounding Revlon's Pink in the Afternoon, and the Revlon account responded "the rumors are true."

Maybe Eldridge has a different shade in Hepburn's lipstick holder?

If you follow my internet journey, you'll find other Reddit threads stating that Pink in the Afternoon was released in the 1980s, long after Breakfast at Tiffany's came out. It's also noted that Golightly's lipstick tube was gold, and Revlon's lipsticks come in a black bullet.

After more searching, I saw that Audrey was part of a Revlon 1980s Super Lustrous Lipstick campaign, and she was photographed for an ad wearing Pink in the Afternoon. The ad includes a note at the bottom confirming her lip and nail shade.

Whether or not we'll ever know for certain that Holly Golightly wore Pink in the Afternoon, we can still sport the lip color knowing that Hepburn did wear it at one time in her life.

Lisa Eldridge's "Go Lightly"

Lisa Eldridge, "Go Lightly"

BUY IT: £18.00;

After Eldridge revealed that she had Hepburn's lipstick holder, she released a limited-edition lipstick named "Go Lightly" in her Summer 2019 Lipsticks launch. Although the lipstick is no longer available to purchase, Eldridge still sells a gloss in the same shade. The product is described as "a insanely 'salmon pink' coral shade inspired by one of the shades in Lisa's vintage collection. Redolent of early 1960s Hollywood."

Eldridge may have sworn to never reveal the original maker and name of Hepburn's lipstick, but she did offer fans the next best option with a new color match to the original that she owns.

Other Shades to Help You Channel Holly Golightly

Related Items

Urban Decay, "Streak"

Urban Decay's "Streak"

BUY IT: $26;

This multitasking face and lip stain definitely delivers on the salmon pout.

Estee Lauder, "Eccentric"

Estee Lauder's "Eccentric"

BUY IT: $27.90;

Some devotees say that this shade from Estee Lauder offers more color than Revlon's "Pink in the Afternoon," but it's still not as salmon as Golightly's original pout. 

NYX, "Audrey"

NYX Cosmetic's "Audrey"

BUY IT: $5.99;

How can you not draw connections when the shade has the same name as the actress? 

We may never know the exact color of Golightly's lipstick, but at least there's several new imitation shades to inspire your own 1960s glam.

So go ahead, grab your oversized sunglasses, pick up one of these lipsticks, – or all of them – and have a Holly Golightly moment. Be sure it includes a stop for breakfast at Tiffany's.