Q: I want to wear lipstick on my lips, but for some reason I can’t seem to pick a color that looks good on me. How do I pick a color that works for my skin tone?
A: When picking a lip color, there are a few things to take into consideration. First and foremost, what are your color preferences? If you like browns, try something in that family. Just because you have a certain coloring or skin color, don’t limit yourself to one color. If someone tells you that you look great in red lipstick, but you happen to hate the color red, don’t just wear it because someone told you to. At the same time, if you have very fair skin, you don’t necessarily have to stick to light colors. Darker colors can look very striking on light skin tones. The reverse is also true. Darker skin tones can pull off light lip colors, so don’t just go with dark or bright lips because you think that’s all you can wear.
As a basic rule of thumb, take into consideration your undertones. If you have pink or red coloring, cooler colors generally compliment you better than warm tones. “Cool” colors include plums, pinks and blue-based reds. However, if you prefer a nude or neutral lip in the brown family, choose one that has a slightly grey cast. In addition, if a lipstick has a frost or shimmer to it, you may decide to wear one that has a silver undertone, which works with a cool skin tone.
If you have yellow, olive or orange tones in your skin, you might want to try lip colors that are warmer. Peach, bronze and orangey-reds look great on warm skin tones. For a nude lip, look for a lipstick in the brown family that contains a little peach or orange in it. When it comes to shimmer, gold works better for a warm undertone.
Keep in mind, the warm/cool rule is just a guideline if you have no idea where to start. If you have a preference for a certain color, don’t rule it out just because you have a certain undertone. You can always find a base color that contains a hint of warmth (or coolness) so that it will work for you. So if you like pink but you have olive undertones, look for a pinky peach, or even one that has a gold shimmer to it. On the flip side, if you have a cool skin tone and love bronzes, try one that is a cool or contains a silver undertone.
Another rule of thumb when trying out lipsticks: Don’t try them on with a bare face. If you normally wear a full face of makeup on a regular basis, a lip color will not look the same if you have absolutely no makeup on. Remember, lip and cheek color are usually worn to coordinate with each other. If you head to the makeup counter, dab on a little concealer and blush before tackling the lipsticks.