I’ll admit I’m daring when it comes to outfits, but makeup – that’s a different story. I’m intimidated by bold lip color in particular, so I often stick with neutral glosses in seashell pink and golden shades. Part of the reason why bold lipstick can be intimidating is because you love it in the tube, but when you put it on, your skin color gives way to an unflattering pallor, and your lips are so bright they seem to jump off your face. The reason for this beauty phenomenon is that this color doesn't compliment your skin tone, nor does it reflect your natural lip color. While many guides exist trying to direct you towards the right lipstick color based on the strict categories of flesh color – fair, olive, dark, etc. – I find these confusing and largely unhelpful. Many people find themselves stuck in between two categories and thus don’t know which shade to choose. If you’re faced with this dilemma, here are my two go-to tricks for choosing a flattering lipstick shade.
Trick 1 for Neutral Lipstick: While at Harper’s Bazaar, I learned that to pick the right nude nail polish, you must compare it to the natural color of your nails. My nails for instance have a mauve-y undertone, so the nude polishes I opt for are not based in yellow or pink, they have a slight purple undertone. I think this same trick can be used to pick your go-to nude lipstick. Hold a color up to your lips and see if it resembles your natural lip color – darker or lighter, sheer or pigmented, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s in the same color family.
Trick 2 for Bold Lipstick: On the other hand, to pick a non-neutral lipstick, you need to work off of your skin tone. To do this, identify your undertone – is it pink (cool) or yellow (warm)? Look on the underside of your wrist: if your veins are blue, you’ve got a cool pink undertone, if your veins are green, you’ve got a warm yellow undertone. See both blue and green veins? Then you’ve got both pink and yellow tones, meaning you have a neutral skin tone and can go either way. Once you’ve decided which undertone you have, now you can pick a lipstick color.
Warm lipstick for yellow skin undertones, those with medium, golden, or tan skin: Choose a color with a warm orange, yellow, or golden base, think coral, earthy pinks, rusty red, plum, berry.
Lipstick Queen, Endless Summer SPF in Stoked
Lipstick Queen, The Metals in Nude Metal.
Urban Decay Revolution in F-Bomb.
Cool lipstick for pink skin undertones, those with fair or dark skin: Choose a color with a cool blue, purple, or silver base, hot pink, rose pink, cherry red, raspberry, mauve.
Lipstick Queen, Endless Summer SPF 15 in Perfect Wave.
Lipstick Queen, The Metals in Wine Metal.
Urban Decay Revolution in Catfight.