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When dreary winter weather gets us down, a swipe of a bright new lip shade always perks us up. Finding a hue that flatters your skin tone will give an extra sparkle to your eyes and brighten your complexion. Rather than trying on every shade of red in Sephora, we’ve picked out our favorites for warm and cool tones this season.

A quick refresher on skin tone science: Basically there are three main chemicals that determine a person’s shade: hemoglobin, which is red; melanin, which can be either blue-brown or red-yellow; and carotene, which is yellow-orange. The amount of the two kinds of melanin in your skin determines whether you are cool or warm, while hemoglobin and carotene determine your variation within cool or warm, such as whether you’re Dark Cool, Light Cool, Dark Warm, or Light Warm.

For lipstick, the important part is to figure out your dominant undertone; blue (cool) or yellow (warm).

So, which are you? You can determine what skin tone you are by examining the color of the veins on the inside of your wrist, or try holding a warm or cool fabric to your face to see whether it flatters your skin tone or washes you out.


When choosing the right lipsticks, you want to opt for colors that pull from your skin tone to avoid clashing. To discover which lipstick colors are most flattering for your coloration, keep reading!

Warms //

Can you see the golden tones in both Jennifer Lopez and Yael Grobglas’ skin? Note how the auburn and golden tones in their hair flatter the gold in their skin, creating an overall luminescent appearance. Their lipsticks similarly follow this rule. Both Jennifer and Yael are wearing orange-red lipstick, complementing the yellow-orange in their skin tone. We’re loving bold orange and peach shades, such as MAC’s So Chaud and Cardinal.

Cools //

See how striking both Rachel McAdams and Zendaya are in these blue-based hues? The red in their lipsticks have a blue base, making the tones look more pink and purple. When selecting a lip shade to flatter your cool skin tone, look for shades that are blue-based or include “berry” or “pink” in the descriptions, such as the ones above.