How to Choose the Best Lipstick for Your Skin Tone
The right lipstick can transform your look instantly. But with so many options, finding the perfect shade can feel like an endless search. Lucky for you, these pointers will make it a whole lot simpler.
How to determine your skin tone
Skin shades are typically broken down by fair, medium, olive, and deep; the key part is to determine whether your undertone is warm or cool. “This will make everything from finding a foundation to your lipstick so much easier,” says Alex LaMarsh, a celebrity makeup artist, who has painted the pout of Kim Kardashian and Cher. Finding your own skin undertone is fairly simple. Most people just use the tried-and-true vein trick. “Look at the underside of your wrist in daylight, or bright light. If your veins look blue or purple, you have cool undertones. If they look green, you have warm undertones.” When it comes to selecting a color, Nick Barose, a celebrity makeup artist, who has worked with Lupita Nyong’o and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, says it’s more accurate to pick lipstick in natural light, so you see the true shades. “As a general rule, the lighter the skin, the more color it shows. So the shade will look truer and bolder on your lips than in the tube, whereas darker skin adds more depth to the color.” No matter your skin tone, these are the lipstick shades every woman needs in her beauty arsenal.
Best lipstick for fair skin with cool undertones
With porcelain skin, it’s easy to get washed out. And a more powerful color can overpower fair, cool complexions, like Michelle Williams and January Jones. Soft rosy pink or light mauve with blue undertones are great options for those who prefer a more natural look, according to Barose. Looking for a bolder lip? LaMarsh suggests a baked orange or coral. Try: Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur in Rose Violin, MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in Uncontrollable,Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Love You Too (pictured), or Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Rose Bud (pictured). After you found your perfect lipstick, here’s how to find the best hair color for your skin tone.
Best lipstick for fair skin with warm undertones
If you have fair skin with warm undertones, you’re in good company with A-listers like Emma Stone and Emma Roberts. To complement your warm undertones, Barose recommends a warmer peachy-pink or salmon hue. Or, for a more dramatic look, try La Marsh’s suggestion: “I love complementing warm fair skin with a bold, orange-red lip that’s a bit on the warm side. It helps liven up the skin tone and makes eyes pop.” Try: Sephora Collection Rouge Cream Lipstick in Jealous 07 (pictured), Wet ‘n’ Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Sunset Peach (pictured) or SheaMoisture Shea Butter Luscious Lipstick in Poppy. Find out what your favorite lipstick color says about your personality.
Best lipstick for medium skin with cool undertones
For ladies with medium skin and cool undertones, a la Taylor Swift and Cameron Diaz, a nude lip looks stunning. “Dusty rose shades make an understated statement, while pulling warmth into the skin,” says LaMarsh. While blue-hued reds wow for evening and special occasions. Try: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Lovely, Urban Decay Cosmetics Vice Lipstick in Rush, Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Gazpacho (pictured), or It Cosmetics Blurred Lines Lipstick in Believe (pictured). Love makeup? Check out these expert-approved foundations that actually improve your complexion.
Best lipstick for medium skin with warm undertones
Blake Lively and Jennifer Aniston are great examples of medium skin with warm undertones. This complexion looks amazing in deep rich nudes and copper. LaMarsh suggests going bold with a glossy finish, which will bring attention to golden undertones. Heading into spring, Barose loves a warm ripe peachy nude. Try: Pure Color Envy Hi-Lustre Light Sculpting Lipstick in Tiger Eye, Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme Lipstick in No Angel 242 (pictured), or Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Sandstorm (pictured). Need some tips for organizing your makeup (including your lipstick collection)? Don’t miss makeup artists’ genius tips to organize your makeup bag.
The best lipstick for olive skin with cool undertones
“One of the things I love about ladies with cool olive skin (like Bella Hadid and Alexa Chung) is their ability to rock a deep rose or wine lipstick,” says LaMarsh. These shades bring warmth and flush to the skin, while making the eye color more vibrant. “I would pick a pinkish nude with a bit of blue undertone, that look fresh like it’s your own color but more exaggerated,” says Barose. Try: Burt’s Bees Lipstick in Wine Wave, IT Cosmetics Blurred Lines Smooth-Fill Lipstick in Love (pictured), or Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Wine Room (pictured). Dry lips? Blame these 10 mistakes you didn’t realize you were making.
Best lipstick for olive skin with warm undertones
Warm, olive-skinned beauties, like Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, and Eva Mendes, can really pull off a deep red, berry, or warm, orangey-nude. These shades enhance the golden honey tones of this skin color, making it look its most radiant. Try: Rimmel London Provocalips in Play With Fire, Tom Ford Lip Color Matte in Plum Lush, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Catherine, Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Cherry Picking (pictured), or It Cosmetics Blurred Lines Lipstick in Believe (pictured). (Find out how find the best eyebrows for your face shape.)
Best lipstick for deep skin with cool undertones
Deep skin tones with cool undertones, like Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o, can pull off so many shades. Barose favors a plum color with blue undertone. The intensely pigmented color contrasts and pops against the skin. Try: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Chocoliscious, Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Lip Crème Lipstick in Scandal 226 (pictured), Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Jezebel, or Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Bewitch Me (pictured). This quiz will reveal your personality based on your makeup style.
Best lipstick for deep skin with warm undertones
Girls with the deep skin and warm undertones, like Gabrielle Union, Ciara, and Halle Berry, look absolutely stunning in Cabernet wine and warm Merlot. The colors bring out the gold in the skin, while giving cheeks a healthy flush. “I love seeing these luscious colors pop on darker skin,” says LaMarsh. Try: L’Oreal Infallible Le Rouge in Everlasting Plum, Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Merlot, tarte Rainforest of The Sea Color Splash Lipstick in High Dive, MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick in Video Vixen (pictured), or It Cosmetics Blurred Lines Lipstick in Daring (pictured). Looking for more beauty advice? Don’t miss the most flattering makeup for every eye color.