Picking the Right Lipstick Shade for Your Skin Tone

Freshening up your look often involves selecting the perfect lip shade, but which shade is best for your skin tone? The makeup industry offers a never-ending assortment of colorful shades that can feel suffocating to even the most experienced makeup gurus. More than that, simply choosing the best option from a display case can limit your “shopportunity” to snag something special. In the interest of narrowing your selection to a manageable assortment, this breakdown will help you select the perfect lipstick shade to complement your skin tone.

First, Determine Your Surface Tone

Before you can select the perfect lipstick shade, you need to determine what your skin’s surface tone is. The most straightforward description of your surface tone is the color of your skin.

Is your skin a pale ivory? Or perhaps more tan or olive colored? Or do you have a deeper, richer tone? If you’re not sure where you fall on the makeup spectrum, an easy cheat is to look at the foundation you use to determine the shade that suits you best.

Then, Determine Your Undertone

Once you know what your surface tone is, you can dig a layer deeper and determine your skin’s undertone. In layman’s terms, undertones are the colors underneath the surface of your skin, and are broken up into three major categories: warm, cool, and neutral.

Individuals with warm undertones have skin best described as yellow, peachy, or golden, while individuals with cool undertones have skin best described as pink, red, or blue. Individuals with neutral undertones have skin that shows traits of both warm and cool undertones.

Another quick cheat here is to take a look at the veins inside your wrist. If they appear blue, you probably have a cool undertone. If they appear green, you probably have a warm undertone. If you can’t determine, you may have a neutral undertone.

If You Have a Warm Skin Tone

You’ll want to look for colors that feature warm tones, with beige, peach, red or orange(ish) hues, though you can also opt for shimmering golds and coppers if you’re looking to elevate an already stunning look.

If You Have a Cool Skin Tone

Cool skin tones, conversely, look best when complemented by blue or purple hues, such as deep berry and burgundy colors. Of course, you can always make a statement with a full-fledged, vibrant blue, or purple lipstick if you’re feeling daring. If the natural look is more your thing, opt for nude pinks, or just gloss!

If You Have a Neutral Skin Tone

The benefit of having a neutral skin tone is that you have endless options available to you. If you feel your skin is fair, shades with a pinkish hue are your best bet. Tan to dark skin typically pairs best with deep, berry colors. Fall somewhere in the middle? Purples will make a statement and accentuate your lips.

Whether you’re looking to breathe new life into your look or you feel you’ve been painting with the wrong palette, you have everything you need to select the perfect color and show off that gorgeous grin.


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