How to Determine the Perfect Lipstick Shade for Your Lips

lipstick shade

Meta Description: Have you ever bought a lipstick and were disappointed by how it looks on you? There are a few tricks to choosing the right lip shade. Learn how to determine the perfect lipstick shade for your lips and find your signature shade!

What is your favorite lipstick shade? Makeup brands offer hundreds of different lip shades to choose from, and choosing a signature lipstick can be difficult. Whether you like nude or bold shades, we have put together some tips to help you select a flattering lip shade.

Skin Undertones And Your Lip Shade

Skin Undertones And Your Lip Shade

Your skin tone is the visible color of your skin. The undertone is the color of the deeper layers of your skin. You can’t see your skin undertone directly, but it impacts your complexion.

Determining what your skin undertone is matters when you are shopping for makeup. A product that doesn’t match your skin undertone won’t be flattering. This also applies to clothes and accessories.

There are three types of skin undertones:

  • Cool undertones.
  • Warm undertones.
  • Neutral undertones.

If you have cool undertones, your veins will typically look blue or purple. White, cool colors, and silver jewelry tend to be flattering on you.

If you have warm undertones, your veins should have a green or olive tint. You will look best in warm colors and gold jewelry will be more flattering than silver.

If you can’t tell whether your veins look blue or green and look equally good in cool and warn colors, you probably have neutral undertones.

Try matching your lip shade to your skin undertones to bring out your best features:

  • If you have cool undertones, go for pink shades, beige lipstick, and cool colors such as blue or even green. If you want a red lip shade, look for a strawberry red.
  • If you have neutral undertones, you will look great with a pink lip shade, or with colors such as plum, peach, or warm coral. If you want a red lipstick, try something with an orange undertone.
  • If you have warm undertones, you will look amazing with a deep brown lip shade or with some plum lipstick.

Match Your Lip Shade To Your Natural Lip Color

Match Your Lip Shade To Your Natural Lip Color

Using your skin undertones to find the right lip shade is a general rule of thumb you can follow to avoid shades that won’t look flattering. You can go further and find the perfect lip shade by choosing a product that corresponds to your natural lip color.

Do your lips look pale or are noticeably darker than your skin tone? Try to preserve this when choosing a lip shade. This doesn’t mean you need to wear this look every day, but matching your lip shade to your natural lip color will preserve your natural beauty.

If your lips look pale, look for nude tones, beige lip tints, or pink lipsticks. Wearing a thin layer of lip stain is another option worth exploring.

If your lips have more of a red color, lip shades with warm tones will look great. Orange shades and hot pink are excellent choices.

If your lips look darker than your skin tone, preserve this by wearing a darker lip shade such as a deep brown, a dark cherry, purple, or even a dark blue lipstick.

Your Lip Shape Matters

lip shape

The lip shade you choose can add definition to your lips. Try a new lipstick or lip tint with no other makeup on to see how it transforms your lips.

If you have thin lips, darker shades probably won’t look very flattering. A dark matte lipstick will instantly draw attention to the thinness of your lips.

Instead, opt for makeup product with a glossy or creamy formula to add volume. A light and soft shade will work great, but you can also wear a hot pink color for a statement look.

Wearing lip liner isn’t necessary since most lipsticks, lip tints, and balms don’t bleed, but a lip liner can add some definition if you have thin lips.

Don’t forget to smudge a little lipstick at the edges to add some volume to your lips.

Finding The Perfect Nude Shade For Your Skin Tone

Woman applying nude shade lipstick

You need to have a go-to nude shade for work and other occasions that call for a discreet look. You can wear a nude lipstick or lip tint that is one shade lighter than your skin tone, or opt for a lip shade that is slightly darker than your natural skin tone.

Stay away from products that are several shades lighter. These lip shades can make your lips seem not well-defined. On the other hand, a lipstick that is several shades darker can make you look pale.

Testing a lipstick on your hand or wrist isn’t ideal because your skin tone will look a little different from your face since your hand and wrist probably get less sun exposure than your face.

Ivory And Fair Skin Tones

If you have an ivory or fair skin tone, lip shades with a sheer or glossy finish will look great. You can add some warmth by choosing a lip shade with some red or pink undertones. Any pink shade would be a safe choice, but avoid orange and coral undertones since you probably have cool undertones.

Light Skin Tones

If you have a light skin tone, you need to determine what your skin undertone is. Pink shades are a safe choice for cool and neutral undertones.

If you have a light skin tone with warmer undertones, orange and coral shades would be perfect. Explore peach shades for a discreet nude look.

Olive Skin Tone

Try going one shade darker than your natural skin tone if you have olive skin. A nude shade with brown undertones will be perfect if you have neutral or warm undertones. If you have olive skin with cool undertones, pink shades will be a better choice.

Mocha Skin Tone

A nude shade with brown or caramel undertones would be ideal for a mocha skin tone. You can opt for a lip shade with cool undertones such as a pink or rosy lipstick, or wear lipstick with a warm undertone such as a plum or mauve lip shade.

Golden Dark Skin Tone

If you have a golden dark skin tone, try going one shade darker than your skin tone. You can wear a rich burgundy color, a plum shade, or even explore blue shades.

Dark Skin Tone

If you have a dark skin tone and want to add definition to your lips, look for a lipstick that is one shade lighter than your skin tone and opt for a glossy formula. You can explore wine shades and deep pink shades as well.

You should be able to pull off a wide range of red lipsticks, including products with blue and orange undertones. Brown and purple are also great shades to explore.

Finding The Perfect Bold Shade

Woman applying bold shade lipstick

Wearing a bold shade will instantly draw attention to your lips. Bold shades with a matte finish are trending, but this look might not work for everyone.

If you have fair skin, a deep vampy shade with a matte finish is the best way to pull off a bold look but avoid colors that will make you look too pale.

If you have a light, olive, or mocha skin tone, choose your bold lip shade in function of your undertones. A bright blue, purple, pink, or green will work if you have cool undertones.

If you have warm undertones, red, orange, and yellow shades will look amazing. A yellowish-green shade should also work.

If you have a darker skin tone, bright orange, coral, deep blue, and red shades will be perfect for a bold look.

Pulling off a bold shade is easier if you have neutral undertones since any color will work with your undertones. Otherwise, try to pick a bold shade that corresponds to your skin undertones.

If you want a safe choice, go for a hot pink shade. This look should work regardless of your skin tone or undertone.

When wearing a bold shade, avoid wearing clothes and accessories that match your lip shade. Let your lips steal the show by choosing neutral colors for your outfits, or bold colors that will create a contrast.

Choose The Right Finish

Try different lip shade finishes to see what looks best on you. Matte lipstick is extremely popular right now, but this doesn’t mean you should avoid glossy lipsticks. In fact, a product with a glossy finish will make your lips look fuller.

You can opt for a creamy or sheer finish. These lip shades are more discreet than glossy products and last a long time. A matte finish is a great choice for a bold shade, but this might not be ideal for an everyday look.

You should also explore lip stains. These products are interesting because you can layer them and get a unique look. You can add more layers if you want a high pigment concentration.

Matching your lip shade to your skin tone, undertone, and lip shape will help you create the perfect look. Try as many different lip shades and finishes as possible to see what looks best on you!