Your shade preferences when it comes to lipstick may subconsciously be based on your skin color and undertone, but once you examine the rules of choosing the right lipstick, you can easily expand your palette and create more daring makeup looks. Find out how to choose lipstick color that’s really flattering, based on a few simple rules.

General Tips on How to Choose Lipstick Color

The easiest way of finding a flattering shade of lipstick is to simply start with the natural color of your lips and go one or two shades darker. Apply it on just one lip and compare the contrast between your natural color and the lipstick.

You can experiment with darker shades as well, using the following tips about skin color and undertone, but keep in mind that the darker you go, the thinner your lips will look. If you’re looking to add plumpness to thin lips, a glossy finish is the right way.

How to Choose Lipstick Color Based on Your Skin Color

Once you’ve tried a few lighter hues of lipstick based on the color of your lips, you can also start matching it with your skin. Here are the basic rules for finding shades that are flattering to your complexion.

Pale Skin Lipsticks

Lipsticks for Very Pale Skin

Nude colors are your best match, but you can also experiment with different hues, including pinks or peachy shades. You can also rock reds fairly easily, as long as you stick to red shades that are blue-based. Everything from apricot to a light coral is a good option, but some colors will simply not look flattering on you. Brownish shades, whether they’re burgundy or chocolate, can stand out a bit too much and make you lips look sad instead of appealing.

Olive Skin Lipsticks

Lipsticks for Olive Skin 

Bright red is no longer an option and neither are orange-reds or pinkish hues. You can try berry shades for a great effect and coral shades are also a great choice. Stick to warm tones when you’re picking a red. A brownish red is much better suited than the blue-red that’s more flattering for pale skin tones. Purple and deep brown are bad ideas, while a mauve or rose can bring out the best in your skin.

Dark Skin Lipsticks

Lipsticks for Dark Skin

Deep red is a perfect color for darker skin, whether it has a blue or brown base. You can also rock a soft orange and most shades of coral. From chocolate to plum, you can plenty of choices. Caramel shades work best for day wear, while purple shades are more suited to night-time use. The only shades you really should avoid are milky hues, with a lot of white mixed in.

Medium Skin Lipsticks

How to Choose Lipstick Color Based on Your Skin’s Undertones

The simplest test that determines the undertones of your skin is to look at your wrists in direct sunlight. For warm skin undertones, the veins will look greenish, while for cool skin undertones, blood vessels look more blueish. If you simply can’t decide, your skin undertone is simply neutral, allowing you greater freedom in choosing your lip color palette.

Warm Undertones – Also called yellow undertones, the warmer look means you should stick to blue-based red shades, but not purple, since this color will highlight the yellow in our skin and even teeth. Bronze is a good option for nudes and a glossy finish is great.

Cool undertones – Cool or pink undertones work best with peach or orange tinted lip color. Coral and copper can also make a great impact if your skin is not very pale. Colors with a brown base are the better choice, while red shades that are blue-based will clash with your skin.

Lipstick Application Tips

Once you’ve figured out how to choose lipstick color for the most flattering look, you should also use the right techniques to apply them.

Lipstick Tips

Most modern formulas of lipstick have little to no bleeding, but using a clear lip liner is always a good idea and can add a little plumpness to your lips. Start applying the color at the middle of the lip and blend it towards the corners. You don’t have to use perfect precision, most of the time a touch of smudging at the edge of your lips makes for a great look.

For a flawless look, you should apply once, blot your lips using a tissue, then add a second layer that completes the color makes for a great finish.

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