Style & Beauty
Find Your Perfect Lip Shade in Three Easy Steps
1/5/2017 10:32:11 AM

Ever bought a lipstick that made you feel like Cinderella in the bright department store light but left you looking like the evil stepmother in daylight or in front of the bathroom mirror?

Bad lighting, coupled with clashing skin tone, has caused many a case of lipstick buyers’ remorse. Different shades of red, orange and pink look better or worse depending on the color of the skin they’re sitting next to, but knowing exactly what shade your skin is, no matter the light, can help ensure a flattering shade.

Find Your Skin Tone

We hear the terms fair, medium, and dark thrown around a lot in regards to skin tone, but what do these mean, exactly? The answer lies in how well your skin handles the sun. If you burn easily and can spend a week at the beach without getting a tan, you’re fair-skinned. If you burn first but then tan or tan easily without really trying, you probably have medium skin. If you rarely burn in the sun and tan easily, you have dark skin.

Three people with different skin tones can wear the exact same shade of lipstick and have completely different experiences, according to Emily Reeves, senior makeup artist and esthetician at Blush Blow Dry and Beauty Bar.

"For example, someone with darker skin and lips may wear a nude lipstick, and it appears to be a light, nude color,” Reeves says. "Conversely, someone with lighter skin and lips may select the same lipstick, and it will appear to be a darker nude - perhaps even brown - against their skin tone.”

So, no matter the skin tone, finding a color that pops is key. For fair-skinned folks, going bold with bright reds or pinks is the best lipstick solution. Pale pinks and "nudes,” or any color that’s too orange might lead to that most dreaded beauty judgment: "You look tired.”

Medium-skinned people tend to look great in all those colors that don’t quite work for their fair-skinned sisters. Think about all the great colors of fall: orange, deep red, even peachy-pinks. These are all flattering against skin that’s a little bit darker.

So many colors look great against dark skin! From bright pink to deep purple, there are a myriad of options. However, some lipsticks might seem too subtle or even non-existent against deeper skin tones, so it’s important to try before you buy.

Uncover Your Undertone

To find your undertone, look at the inside of your wrist. If the veins appear blue or purple, then you have cool undertones. Blue-green veins indicate neutral undertones, and green or olive indicate warm undertones.

So what’s in a tone? It’s actually key to picking a great shade of lipstick. For cool tones, ask if the lipstick in question would look good next to purple or bright blue. For neutral undertones, ask how the color would complement a blue-green blouse. The same goes for warm undertones: would the lipstick look perfect with an olive green top? If the lighting is weird in the department store or you can’t try the product in a drug store, hold the lipstick in question against your wrist. Does the color clash or complement? The answer could save you a few bucks.

According to Lauren Edwards, esthetician at Signatures Salon, there are several shades that pop depending on undertone. "People with cool undertones look good in berry shades,” Edwards says, "but warmer undertones look great in red and purple blends.”

Matte or Glossy?

In the early aughts, most lipstick was so shiny it looked in danger of slipping right off, but these days, mattes (or flat, zero-gloss colors) are all the rage. Matte lipsticks are great when paired with shimmery eye shadows and blush but can be unforgiving of fine lines and chapped lips. Before applying matte shades, it’s best to lightly exfoliate lips with an old toothbrush and massage in a little lip balm to make lips as supple as possible. Likewise, a glossy lipstick looks lovely with a more subdued eye and cheek. But beware, high gloss formulas can be runny; remember to blot with a tissue and use a matching lip liner to keep your makeup in place. Also, any lipstick can go from glossy to matte with the careful application of a little translucent powder after applying. And any matte can become a gloss with a dab of petroleum jelly in the center of the bottom and top lips.

Ultimately, feeling comfortable is key. "Just wear whatever you love most,” Edwards says. Fancy a lipstick that clashes with your skin tone? Wear it!


Posted by: Emily Alford | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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