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How to choose your perfect lipstick

Updated: Jun 7, 2018

We've all had those days where we've gone to the makeup counter looking for a new lipstick only to leave after an hour with something similar to what we already have. It's the safest option we tell ourselves. It can be a backup in case I forget/lose/run out of the other one.

Now I'm the first to admit that I definitely have my favourites that I wear a lot (to death!) but it's good every now and then to try something different and experiment with some new colours and tones to branch out while still feeling confident. The secret is to stay true to your skin tone and undertone - so you know it will suit you!

In this post we are going to look at those two important factors - skin tone and undertone to determine what colour and tone you should look for when choosing your next lipstick.

lipstick colours
Choosing the right lipstick to suit your skin tone can be confusing

1. Undertone

Let's start by identifying your skin's undertone. This will help you determine whether cool, warm or neutral shades suit you best. We've got four tips to help you identify what tone suits you best.

2. What you wear

You may already have an idea based on what colours you like to wear. If you prefer peach, coral, oranges, ivory, yellow-greens, warm reds and browns you may be warm toned. If you prefer black, white, blue-greens, pinks, vibrant blues and blue-based reds you might be cooler toned.

3. Veins

Another way to identify the skin's undertone is by looking at your veins. Are they blue or green? If they are blue you have a pink undertone and are cooled toned. If they appear more green you have a yellow undertone and are warm toned.

4. Jewellery

Often cooled toned skin tones prefer wearing silver or white gold jewellery whereas warm toned prefer rose gold or yellow gold. If both look good on you it is possible that your skin tone is more neutral and you can wear both cool and warm tones.

5. Tanning

Another way to find out your undertone is to look at how your skin reacts when you get too much sun. Do you burn and turn pink? Or do you tan? Or do you burn first then tan? If you burn and turn pink then you are cool tone, if you tan or burn first then tan you are warm toned.

Red pink and nude lipsticks
Still having troubles? Swatch a few shades on your wrist and you will be drawn to the shades that suit you best

6. Skin tone

Now we have identified whether you should wear cooler or warmer toned lipsticks, the next thing to look at is your skin tone to determine whether light colours, muted tones or bright lipsticks look better on you.

Is your skin fair, light, medium, tanned or dark?

Fair and lighter skin tones with a warm undertone look good in lighter colours so try a soft pink, coral, peach or nude (with a slight peach tone to it). If you have cool undertones, try a blue based pink or nude with a more neutral tone or pink base.

If you have a medium skin tone with a warm undertone you can go for bolder colours like burnt orange, apricot, wine and brick red. If you have cool undertones you can wear blue based bolder shades of pink, raspberry and red.

When you have tanned skin it might be tempting to go for browns and purples but it will make you look washed out. In fact with most skin tones you want to avoid blending into your skin colour and instead contrast it by choosing colours that are a few shades above or below your skin tone. You also don't want to clash with your skin tone. For example if you have fair skin with pinkish/ruddy complexion you don't want to choose lipstick that is red or pink as it will highlight the redness in your skin. Unless of course you have a full coverage foundation on and have camouflaged the redness, it is something that won't suit your complexion. Try wearing a peach, mauve, coral or berry lipstick.

If you have tanned skin you look great in corals, deeper pinks and reds.

Darker complexions can wear browns and purples like plum or wine. If you have a cool undertone you should wear blue based reds like cranberry and ruby. Warmer undertones can wear copper and bronze lipsticks.

What if you just want to wear a bold red lipstick? Go for it. The contrast with fair skin for example can be bold and stunning at the same time. Just make sure that you stick to the right tone so if you are warm toned make it a warm orange or brown base and if you are cool toned make sure it is blue based.

Whatever shade you chose wear it with confidence and own it! Don't forget to carry it in your bag/purse so you can touch up during the day to keep that lipstick looking fresh and vibrant.

What is your favourite lipstick? Comment below and share your best colours and brands!

Sarah xx

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