How to Choose the Right Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

How to Choose the Right Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

Posted on May 22 2016

From bright and bold reds to simple and soft natural tones - an excellent lipstick has the ability to transform your looks, confidence, and face. 


The secret to pulling off a bold, mind-blowing color is to ensure that it matches your skin tone. When it comes to lipstick you have to be ready to try colors that look scary on the shelf as well as be willing to explore textures, pigments, and hues. To wear lipstick you need confidence and allure because the right lipstick is designed to draw attention to your lips and evoke subtle sexual invitation.


Here is a brief guide on finding the right lipstick for your skin tone and to give you ideas on other styles, colors, and brands to explore. Like one wise woman once said, “Life is short, buy lipstick.”

Know Your Undertone Color

When you are trying to decide which lipstick works best for you it is pivotal to know your skin’s undertone.


Your skin has an undertone color which is usually pink or yellow. Finding out which one is yours may sound difficult, but it really is not. One simple way to identify your skin undertone is to gauge whether the color of the veins in your wrist are blue or green. If your veins appear blue, then you have pink undertones. Alternatively, if they are more greenish, you have got yellow undertones.


Another trick to determine if your undertone is pink or yellow is to wear a piece of gold or silver jewelry. Judge which color looks better against your skin, purely on the merit of the combination. In general, silver jewelry looks better on those with pink undertones while gold meshes well with warmer or yellow skin tones.


How does knowing your skin undertone affect your quest for the best lipsticks for you? Once you know the undertone color of your skin, you are able to choose shades that are similar to it. For example, women with pink undertones should opt for shades that have cooler tones in them—think of colors with pink, purple, or blue tones. On the other hand, women with yellow undertones should look for warmer colors and shades of lipstick think of berry and deep hues.

Lipsticks for Dark Skin

In general, women of all skin tones would do better to steer clear of ashy or pale colors. Not only are these colors unflattering, they also make you look sickly. This is particularly true for women with darker skin tones. If you are searching for a lipstick for your dark skin you need to ensure that you are picking colors that stay true—this includes shades of deep plum, dark reds, and berries. Deeper shades naturally set off darker skin tones, you cannot go wrong with these shades of lipsticks.


lipstick for dark skin


Some prime examples of perfect lipsticks for those with darker skin tones include Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Definition in Le Prune, Anastasia Liquid Lipstick in Candy Apple, and Dior Rouge Dior in the Twill Berry. Wear a softer pink like the Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis Á Lévres Glossy Stain in Rose Fourreau, or YSL Rouge Pur Couture Satin Radiance Lipstick in Le Orange.


Lipsticks for Olive Skin

Placed smack-dab between yellow and pink undertones, most women with olive skin tones fall under the marquee of neutral undertones. This means that pretty much any color of lipstick works for your olive skin and looks great on you. From bold reds to fruity pinks and oranges to nude shades, it is hard for olive skin tones to choose the wrong shade. Lipsticks with blue undertones are often the best choice as they add a flirty hue to lips of the olive skin tones.


lipstick for olive skin


Some of the best shades for you to consider would be the bold red RiRi Woo by MAC, Illamasqua in Sonnet for a nude shade, Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense Shade no. 49 for a dark and deep color, and Clinique Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick in Plum.


Lipsticks for Fair Skin

Women with fair skin need to pick their lipstick shades wisely. Pale shades of lip color make you appear washed out and tired. More often than not, lipstick for fair skinned women should include shades of orange and coral. Pick a fruity color that adds to the glow in your skin instead of detracting from it.


Another way to play around with different shades of lip color is by going for bold reds and deeper shades. Stay away from colors that are too washed out or that have a significant yellow undertone.


lipstick for fair skin


A few of the best lipstick options for those with fair skin are YSL Beaute in Le Nu, Beauty’s Life Red Lipstick, a soft and nude pink like Angel from MAC, or Topshop Lips’ Rio Rio which is a classic shade of red or NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red. If you are drawn to lip glosses with a shimmer consider trying a pastel shade in Bobbi Brown High Shimmer.

The Top 3 Most Popular Lipsticks

The right lipstick is easily the quickest way to overhaul your wardrobe and add a bit of flirty pep to your face. When you are picking the right lipstick for your skin tone make sure that you know your brand and what ingredients are used in your lip colors.


The wrong lipstick becomes uncomfortable after longer periods of wear, is in constant need of a touch up, bleeds, and may leave an unsightly film on your lips. Additionally, the wrong lipstick may cause your lips to be more dry and irritate your skin.


Here’s a lowdown on some of the most popular lipstick brands, and what they offer.


MAC Cosmetics

If you want to know what MAC lippies look like, think Kylie Jenner and her sensational pout. The starlet claims that MAC’s Whirl Lip Liner and Pink Plaid Lipstick are her absolute favorites. With hundreds upon hundreds of lipsticks shades to choose from, MAC is sure to have colors that match your skin tone. MAC lippies are made of castor seed oil, candelilla wax, beeswax, and octyldodecanol for better mixing of its emulsion.


Chanel Rouge Coco

Rich in pigment and with a silky-smooth texture, Chanel’s Rouge Coco offers 24 shades that cover a range of colors from coppery peach and bright coral, to bright red and absolutely perfect nudes. Made of mimosa and jojoba butters, silicone, and sunflower wax, these lipsticks are known for their luminous finishes, savvy packaging, and a fleeting fragrance of roses.


NARS Audacious

As compared to most other semi-matte lipsticks, the NARS Audacious line manages to give great color payoff, single stroke application, as well as better hydration. This one is made of castor seed oil, candelilla wax, shea butter, etc. These satin finish lipsticks are available in 40 colors ranging from pink beige and antique rose to deep aubergine and chestnut.


Other Popular Brands to Explore

Other popular lipstick brands worth trying include VMV Hypoallergenic Velvet Matte and Glitz lipsticks, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting lipsticks, Maybelline Velvet Matte, Revlon Super Lustrous, Clinique Pop Lip Color + Primer, Laura Mercier Lip Parfait Creamy Color Balms, L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Exclusives, and Bobbi Brown Lip Colors, to name a few.

Best Lipstick Alternatives

Lipstick takes time to apply and a bit of energy. Even diehard lipstick lovers might want to take a day or two off from them. With fashion trends evolving constantly giving your lips a simple break is easy and convenient. These simple alternatives to wearing lipstick give your lips a sexy pout, kissable attraction, and healthy moisture and protection.


model in pink dress and lipstick


Lip Pencil. Many women use lip pencils to fill in their lips. While this makes the color last much longer, it often tends to dry out your luscious lips. NARS has the solution to this problem. When you are looking for a lipstick alternative, reach out for one of your NARS Satin lip pencils which offers a creamy, moisturizing, and highly pigmented texture and color.


Lip Gloss. Perhaps the most obvious alternative to a lipstick, lip glosses cover your lips in a shiny finish that hydrates and moisturizes your lips. Available in colors that display the natural shade of your lips, as well as number of tints, most lip glosses do not have great staying power. If you do not want to worry about reapplying a gloss repeatedly, look for Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Rouge. This lippie offers a high gloss sheen along with lip-stain-like lasting power.

Lip Balm. For a less glossy and more therapeutic finish, opt for a lip balm. These wholesome alternatives to lipstick are the perfect solution for chapped lips as well. The Covergirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm gives you the best of both worlds—a sheer and lightweight shone, without the stickiness of a gloss. Another great option is the Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stains which offers long-lasting color that is creamy as well as hydrating.

Whether you are looking for lipstick for fair skin, lipstick for dark skin, or lipstick for olive skin choose the lipstick that gives you confidence in your look, adds flirty pep to your face, and completes your style. Remember to consider the ingredients in the lipstick of your choice to ensure you get the best look and finish as well as provide the hydration your lips need during wear.

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