Lipstick can put the finishing touch on a great makeup application or it can be worn alone to enhance a more natural look.

The right lip color can help make you look gorgeous, while the wrong shade can be disastrous. So how do you pick the perfect shade for you?

We’re often told to match lipstick shades with our skin tone (our skin’s surface color) but your skin’s undertones as well as the undertone of a lipstick shade also determines which shades work on you.

STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR SKIN COLOR

Firstly, determine your skin’s color. This is a pretty easy task.

Are you pale/fair, medium/olive or dark?

FAIR SKIN

Fair skin looks best with true red, red with pink undertones, magenta, and blue-toned pinks. Also, note that colors tend to look brighter on paler skin tones.

MEDIUM/OLIVE SKIN

Medium to color skin looks best with true pinks, cranberries, and brick red as well as classic nudes.

DARK SKIN

Dark skin often is best suitable for reds with burgundy or brown, dark beige, and orange-toned reds and pinks.

STEP 2: DETERMINE YOUR SKINS UNDERTONE

Take this information, and add in the next layer… determining your undertone. I find this step to be the most beneficial to me and it really helps me guide my lipstick purchases.

How do you determine your undertone

COOL-TONED IF…

your skin appears to have a blue, red or pink tinge to it. If you hold your wrist out, bottom side up, in the sun, your veins will appear blue or purple. If you’re cool-toned, cool-toned lip colors are more likely to look flattering on you.

WARM-TONED IF…

your skin appears to have a yellow or peach tinge to it. If you hold your wrist out, bottom side up, in the sun, your veins will appear green or olive. If you’re warm-toned, warm-toned lip colors are more likely to look flattering on you.

NEUTRAL-TONED IF…

your skin doesn’t appear to follow either of these rules. Your skin appears neither more blue or more yellow in the sunlight and your veins are blue-green (not one or the other). If you’re neutral, it’s more likely you can wear lots of different colors well.

STEP 3: TEST IT OUT!

Head out and pick up a handful of colors using these guidelines and test them out. I suggest applying them to a make-up free face.

As makeup Goddess Bobbi Brown said, “If I had to teach someone just one thing about lip color it would be this: Find a lipstick that looks good on your face when you are wearing absolutely no makeup.”

Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

ADDITIONAL NOTES ABOUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT LIPSTICK COLOR:

Note One: These are merely guidelines to get you started in choosing the right lip colors more effortlessly. It is NOT to say that if you’re warm-toned you can’t wear cool-toned lipsticks. Once you’ve found some staples and feel comfortable wearing lipstick you can start to play around with colors.

Note Two: There is not tried and true, always going to work method. That’s why step three is so important and you need to really test them out!

Note Three: I understand deciphering between a blue-toned red and a red with pink undertones sounds a little daunting.