Of all my beauty products, I’d say 60 percent are lipsticks. Is it because I’m a lipstick addict? No, not really. The problem is I’m constantly in search of the perfect shade. And since I’m terrified of the germ-infested testers, I buy first and try later, thus I’m left with a bin of not-quite-right colors that I’ll never touch again. To keep this problem from occurring, I sought out lipstick advice from makeup pros who can help determine the best color for every skin tone out there.
“Lip colors can be tricky,” says Diana Manzanares, a makeup artist with Hair Room Service. “I have definitely spent many hours with clients trying to find that perfect lip color. An easier way to getting closer to that perfect shade would be determining your skin tone. Skin tones can vary from pink, yellow, olive and warm and can play an important factor for example when choosing a color like red or nude.”
Pink Undertones (Light/Very Fair Skin)
“Pink undertones can pick lipsticks like nudes, pinks, berries, and mauves,” says Manzanares. Ashleigh Ciucci, another makeup artist with Hair Room Service, suggests the following colors: NYX Matte Lipstick in Pale Pink ($6, nyxcosmetics.com), Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstacy in 300 Pop ($34, giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com), L’Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge Lipstick in Summer Rose ($8.99, target.com), Revlon Matte Lipstick in Nude Attitude ($6.99, ulta.com), and NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl ($25, narscosmetics.com).
Yellow/Golden Undertones (Light-Medium/Beige Skin Tone)
“Yellow/golden undertones look best with warmer shades, such as hints of gold, corals,” says Manzanares. She suggests Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in #4 Pink Beige ($20, sephora.com), Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Créme Lip Colour in Gabrielle ($34, chanel.com), and NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave ($26, narscosmetics.com).
“Olive undertones can easily be washed out,” says Manzanares. “Use flush colors in plums or raspberry. A brownish color with red undertones can also work.” Try Mary Kay Creme Lipstick in Boysenberry ($15, marykay.com) and OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet ($18, occmakeup.com).
Manzanares adds, “Darker skin tones can go two ways: They can have a more golden brown undertone, like that of Oprah Winfrey, for example, or it can be a lot warmer with red undertones, like that of Jennifer Hudson. For the more golden undertone, I would follow the guidelines of those with yellow undertones. For red undertones, I would use colors like mauves and reds. Try Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Magnific Mauve ($16, pixibeauty.com) and Susan Posnick ColorEssential in Paris ($19, susanposnick.com).
Read more: How to Pull Off Dark Lipstick Like a Pro