The Best Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

Finding the right shade for your lips can really brighten your complexion.
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Janet Sahm Easter
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Finding the right shade for your lips can really brighten your complexion.
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Knowing your skin tone and what colors suit you best—whether for clothes or beauty products—can change your entire look. The correct complementary hue can brighten your complexion, make your eyes sparkle, and enhance your whole appearance so you can put your best face forward. And it can all start with a simple lipstick.

lipstick-flowchart

First, determine your own unique skin tone: light cool, dark cool, light warm, or dark warm. These categories are dictated by your skin’s undertone, which is either cool (pinkish) or warm (yellowish). We all have undertones in our skin, and most of the time, you can discover this by holding up different-colored clothing next to your face to see which “washes” you out or brightens your complexion.

Another quick and easy way to find your skin tone, especially for beauty products, is to look at the inside of your wrists.

COOL TONE

The blood in your veins looks blue-ish, and you gravitate toward wearing white, blues, and grays. Silver jewelry looks best on you.

Whether you are light or dark depends on the outer tone of the skin. If you're a light cool tone, you have fair or ivory skin with a pinkish undertone and tend to burn easily in the sun.

If you're a dark cool tone, you have medium or dark skin that might burn but then turns into a tan.

WARM TONE

Your veins look more green-ish, and you tend to wear creams, browns, hunter green, and warm red. Gold jewelry looks phenomenal on you.

As one with a light warm tone, you have light or fair skin with an olive tone, and you easily tan into a light golden hue.

If you're a dark warm tone, you have medium or dark skin with a deep golden warmth and tan or darken very easily in the sun.

NEUTRAL

And of course there are those with “neutral” skin tones, where your veins are a mix of green and blue and you look fantastic in both silver and gold jewelry. If you have a neutral skin tone, you’re a lucky wild card! You can experiment and play with different makeup hues, but keep in mind your eye and hair color when choosing products.

Below, we’ve laid out a sampling of fabulous lipstick hues in neutrals, pinks, and reds for your unique and gorgeous skin tone.

LIGHT COOL//

light-cool

1. MAC, Please Me, $16 / 2. MAC, Chatterbox , $16 / 3. MAC, Good To Be Bad , $18 /4. MAC, Dangerously Chic, $23

You can go two extremes: soft, muted mauve neutrals and pinks or bold and bright. Just make sure your bright reds and berries have a blue, almost purple-y undertone!

DARK COOL//

dark-cool

1. MAC, Faux, $16 /2. MAC, Girl About Town,$16 /3. MAC, Runner, $16 /

You can afford to go a little more bold with your color choices. Think deep plums or poppy, fuchsia pink. Again, since you're cool, stick to blue-toned pinks and reds.

LIGHT WARM//

light-warm

1. MAC, Creme d'Nude, $16 /2. MAC, Overtime,$18 /3. MAC, Viva Glam I, $16 /4. MAC, Ladybug, $16

Think warm, sandy neutrals and slightly sun-kissed pinks for lighter lipsticks. And for darker berries and reds, you want to go more toward brick red or rich wine.

DARK WARM//

dark-warm

1. MAC, Ravishing, $16 /2. MAC, Lady Danger, $16 /3. MAC, Hang-Up, $16 /4. MAC, Good To Go, $18

Tangerine orange and pinks, deep and warm brown burgundy, as well as fire-y reds are going to look amazing on you!

*All lipstick samples shown are from MAC Cosmetics. We love their saturated lip color, and their classic $16 tube lasts forever!