Even though the first official day of summer isn’t until June 21, it’s been summer in our hearts from quite a while. And when the weather warms up, our beauty look immediately swings over to beachy waves, glowy skin and bright lips.
But embracing bold lip color can be a bit of a tricky prospect if you aren’t used to wearing it—until now. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to finding, wearing and pulling off bright lipstick with confidence.
1. Pick a color that you love.
The most essential advice for pulling off bright lips is getting the right color, and the best guide for finding the right color is going by what you like. If there’s a color that you’ve always wanted to rock on your kisser, but you’ve avoided it for whatever reason—now is the time to put that aside. Anyone can wear any color lipstick, as long as they find the right shade for them—which brings us to…
2. Find a shade that works for you.
So you’ve decided to embrace the power of, say, pink lips—now you just have to find the right shade of pink. Can’t be too hard, right? Oh wait, there are literally thousands of shades out there from bubblegum to berry…so how do you know which is going to look best on you?
First, consider the tone of the lipstick. Cool-toned lipcolors have more blue in them and tend to look better on people with cool-toned complexions. Warm-toned lipcolors have more yellow or orange in them, and tend to work well on those with warm-toned skin. Confused about whether your skin’s undertone is warm or cool? Check the veins on the inside of your wrist: if they look blue, you have cool-toned skin; if they look green, you have warm-toned skin. If you can’t tell one way or another, congratulations, you have a neutral skin tone and can do whatever you like!
Next, consider the depth of your skin compared to the depth of the lip color. People with fair complexions may look washed out with too-light lip colors, whereas very deep colors may not register on darker skin.
Finally, try everything. The best way to find your dream lipstick is by testing a range of different shades. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t find your perfect red, orange or pink on the first try; pick another shade and try again!
Going from minimal lip color to a bold, look-at-me shade can be jarring, and if you have a minor “Oh god, what am I doing?” moment the first time you try it on, you’re not alone. But don’t take that as a sign that you’re doomed to neutral lips forever: your brain just needs to adjust to seeing your face in a new way.
While you re-calibrate, take that time to get used to bright lipstick by wearing it out in low-pressure situations. Swipe on your new shade to run out and get groceries or walk the dog; this will help you get used to color in a very relaxed way. Far less scary than wearing coral lipstick for the first time at a big meeting!
You can also start out sheer, gradually working your way up to full brightness. Simply dab your bright lipcolor overtop some clean lip balm, then blend with your finger or a brush. That intense color is now a gentle stain. Make it increasingly brighter as you gain confidence; you’ll be rocking intense color in no time!
4. Make sure your lips are attention-ready.
Bright lip color tends to be a little unforgiving when it comes to dry, chapped lips, so make sure your kisser is in perfect condition. Keep it well exfoliated by using a gentle scrub every other day—Sugar Lip Polish ($22.50) is the gold standard for getting perfectly smooth, soft lips—or by rubbing your lips with a cotton washcloth when you wash your face at night.
5. Embrace lip liner.
Sloppy lipstick application isn’t an option when you’re rocking a bright, summery shade—so it’s officially time to jump aboard the lip liner bandwagon. Liner not only ensures that your color goes on evenly and stays put for hours, it’s also the best way to ensure a perfectly even outline.
If you’re feeling very advanced, you can even use contrasting colored liner to create a cool two-toned effect, or change the shape of your lips completely. Experiment and have fun with it!
6. Don’t overdo it in other areas.
When it comes to bright lips, it’s all about balance. Bold lips plus bold eyes and full facial contouring? It might work for the Oscars, but it’s probably a little intense for the office. Instead, keep the bright lipstick the main event and relegate your other makeup to supporting roles: we love an intense fuchsia lip paired with dewy, highlighted skin, softly defined brows and lashings of mascara. This combination compliments, rather than competes with, the bright lipstick; allowing your lips to remain the star while also giving you a polished, summer-ready makeup look.
7. Go out with confidence!
The most common question that we here at Daily Makeover receive is “How can I pull off this look?” Truthfully, there’s no trick to it: you just have to own it. It’s not about looking a particular way, or buying one magical product that will transform the way you feel about yourself; you just need to go out into the world with your beautifully bright lips, knowing that you look amazing. Supreme confidence is our very best beauty secret. And when you tell the world that you love your look, we bet that the world will love it right back. Go forth and be brave!
More from Daily Makeover: The Best Bright Lipsticks for Summer.