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Tip Stop: Lipsticks for Your Skin Tone


Conquering the Lipstick Jungle:

Whether we choose to admit it, we’ve all worn the wrong shade of lipstick at one time or another and you know how badly it can spoil a pretty pout. A dab of gloss is one of the easiest way to vamp up your appearance, so make sure you’ve got it right. With all the colors to choose from, it can be tricky. Remember, just because it looks pretty in the tube, doesn’t mean it will be pretty on you. The same goes for free samples. Now we’ve all tried to get away with those!


Are You Warm or Cool?:

Discovering your lipstick color starts with taking a look at your complexion and knowing your undertones. Every skin tone has a warmth or coolness to it. Warm skin will have yellow, gold and orange-red undertones. Cool skin will have blue, green, violet and blue-red, even pink undertones. Generally speaking, people with fair or pink skin will have cool undertones while people with yellow, tan or olive skin have warm undertones.


Seeing Your True Colors:

Once you determine which category you fall into (warm or cool), you’ll want to look for the complementing undertone in your lipstick, so if you are warm, look for lipsticks with warm undertones (yellow, gold, brown) like those below.
Warm lipsticks: Cappucinno | Caramel | Browns with Gold
Cool lipsticks: Light Pinky Red | Ruby Red | Frosty Lilac


Unsure Of Your Undertones?:

Try one of these ways to settle on a side. #1: Ask yourself whether gold or silver jewelry looks better on you. If you choose gold, than you’ve got warm skin. Gold is more flattering on warm skin — silver on cool. #2: Look at the inside of your arm. If your veins are visible and look bright blue, you are cool. They aren’t as noticeable if you are warm. #3: Grab a white and cream top. The color white will look much better on cool skin — the cream on warm.


All’s Fair:

Typically, someone who is fair is cool and so would look good in lipsticks with blue, pink, and blue-red undertones. Light pinks and purples are sure winners. Nudes or light browns are very flattering, although choose ones with hints of pink so that you don’t look washed out. Pale and bright colors complement fair skin. Rich or dark colors tend to look too harsh.
Your Best Colors: Nude with pink | Pink Berries | Light Shiny Pink | Apricot | Orange with Pink | Light Coral


Middle Ground:

Those with medium/olive/yellow skin can wear darker lipsticks than those with fair skin. Many Latino and Asian women fall in this category. In general, medium complexions are considered warm and should choose warm lipsticks, although you can have medium skin and be cool. Everything really depends on your undertones. Apply this same thinking if you’re fair or dark.
Your Best Colors: Medium brown | Bronze | Raisin | Brownish Pink | Mauve


In the Dark:

Dark complexions are able to carry a vivid pout more than any other skin, so don’t be afraid to look for lipsticks rich in pigment. Dark and black skin tones can also pull off almost every shade of brown from light mochas to dark chocolate browns. Also attractive are dark shades of pink and purple. Be wary of hues that are too bright such as candy-colored pink.
Your Best Colors: Magenta | Dark Purple | Wine | Black Orchid | Deep Plum | Wineberry | Sheer Pink


When in Doubt:

A foolproof way to pick the right color that many makeup artists suggest is to look at your natural lip color and find a lipstick that is a shade or two darker. For example, if you’ve got pale lips, nude or pale pink are your colors. Medium browns like mauve on the other hand would really set off a medium-color pout. For darker lips, a deep plum would look striking.


The Coveted Red:

Contrary to popular belief, every woman can wear red lipstick. Every color including red has either cool or warm undertones. If you are cool, looks for reds with a blue base. For women with warm complexions, there are red lipsticks that have brown or orange undertones like wine or burnt red. Leave the brighter red lipsticks to those with fair skin.


Buyer Central:

As you perfect your pout, here’s some quick tidbits to keep in mind. To easily see a lipstick’s undertone, try it on a white piece of paper. The primary color will glisten. Also, natural light (not a store’s light) is a better judge of how a color looks on you. Finally, you don’t have to put unused lipsticks to waste. If you don’t like a shade, mix it up with another. Soften bright colors with dark hues. That’s why lip palettes are so great — they let you experiment!

Posted in: Tip Stop



Some of this just isn’t true people with yellow undertones look good in cool colors too, colors with a blue base because some warm colors can make yellow toned skin sallow, gold jewelry, certain orange’s also. People with olive skin and medium tanned skin do look good in bronze makeup and warm toned lipstik, gold jewelry etc.


A lot of good advice but I wish makeup artists would recommend some shades for those of us with pale skin and warm/yellow undertones. Not all of us fair people are cool-toned. Some of us sparkle in gold jewelry. We need a lipstick that warms us up without overpowering the delicate warm tones in our skin. Peach and apricot are too orange for us and brown and beige make us look sallow and washed-out. I also find that bright red lipstick is too clownish on pale warm skin.


I agree with Chris. I’m so confused about my skintone. My skin’s light brown that can look olive in summer but pale in winter. So naturally I assumed that my undertone would be warm. But most lipstick colors and hair colours that are designed for people with warm undertones don’t look good on me. My face looks washed out when I apply burgundy or maroon lipsticks. Only light colours such as different hues of pink/beige/peach look good on me. Darker lipsticks are a no no. And I think silver jewelry looks way better on olive-skinned women than yellow gold.


Kelsey, I too go out of the boundaries of what works because, like you, I am dark in summer but pale in winter,

Ultimately, I think the rules are a good guide but you need to pick what works best for you as an individual. I shouldn’t wear light pinks as a rule but MAC’s St Germain looks stonkingly good on me.

So see this as a guide, not an absolute rule book. :-)


I desagree that Olive Complication Usally have warm undertones. I have been Olive complication since I was a baby, and I have always had cool undertones. I am now 53 years old and Siliver and White Gold is a better color for me than Yellow Gold. I wish peopel weren’t always put into generalalities, because there are always those who don’t fit like me. Sure I could use some of the warm colors, but they truly are not the best color for my skin.


I am one of those that is quite confused by my skin tone as well. I am olive skin with that slightly green hue, but in summer I turn quite orangy-reddish. It gets quite annoying.

One thing I did realize is that in summer I look great with BLUE hair! =D I never realized why until an artist friend mentioned that it basically complimented the orange in my skin (exactly like the color wheel)… made my skin tone “pop” as the phrase goes. So that’s something to keep in mind too – finding a complimentary color for clothing or hair, as opposed to something within the same color family to that of your natural skintone, can help prevent a sallow and drab appearance that some people are complaining about.



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