How to Choose Perfect Lip Color for Light, Medium & Dark Skin Tone

If you’re easily confused when trying to choose a lip color that suits your skin tone, don’t feel alone because this is a common concern for many people. After all, there are thousands of brands, colors, formulas, and textures to choose from, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated. In this article, you will find the best way to choose a lip color that flatters your skin tone and enhances natural beauty.

But before reading about what colors look best for your specific skin tone, it’s necessary to learn how to determine your tone. And there are two general categories of skin tone colors known as cool skin tones and warm skin tones. This being said, here are three steps that will help you determine what type you have.

How to Determine Your Skin Tone

Different Lipstick Colors

  1. If you have long sleeves on, you’ll need to roll them up to expose your wrists. Pay close attention to the color of your veins because this will help to determine what skin tone you have. If your veins look purple-blue or blue-green, you most likely have a cool skin tone; veins that appear green usually fall under the category of warm skin tone.
  2. Another simple way of figuring out if you have a cool skin tone or a warm skin tone is to stand in front of a mirror while holding a white t-shirt, rag, towel, or piece of cloth up to your face. Also, be sure that your skin is clean with no makeup, and your hair is pulled back out of your face. If your skin appears to have a blue hue to it, then your skin tone is cool; if your skin is yellowish, then you have a warm skin tone.
  3. One last thing you can do to determine which skin tone family you belong in is to once again stand in front of a mirror. However, this time you should hold up a bright pink towel, shirt or cloth; repeat with a bright orange cloth or t-shirt, and decide which color makes your skin glow more. If your skin glows more with the orange cloth, then you fall under the warm skin tone category. And if your skin glows more with the bright pink cloth, you have cool-toned skin.

Once you have determined your skin tone family, you can read further to learn what the best lip color for your specific skin color is.

Light Skin Color

Colors that are plum red like berry or wine colors with blue undertones are great for fair skin tones, as well as nudes, corals and apricot shades.

Also, use pinks that are light with shimmer that have blue undertones. Pink lip colors that include small amounts of gold shimmer will enhance fair skin greatly.

Keep in mind though that while a lot of pink colors look great on fair skin, bright pink lips will overpower fair skin and look unappealing. Browns and oranges will also look poor on fair skin tones and should be avoided.

Medium Skin Color (Beige, Sand)

Colors that will brighten medium skin tones are deep reds, and blue-reds that have yellow undertones.

To warm up medium-toned skin, use warm reds and browns; be sure not to use pale browns since it causes skin to look washed-out or ashy. Other colors that will look flattering on medium skin tones are caramel shades, brown with pink or yellow undertones, and smooth coffee browns. If you want to use pink, then choose a pink that is rich and deep, or pinks that have brown undertones like mauve or rose color for the most flattering look. Try experimenting with sheers, creams, and mattes with the aforementioned shades as all of these formulas work well with medium skin tones.

Brown to Black Skin Color

Rich and deep red colors like chocolate, plum, and reds look nice on darker skin tones.

Nearly every shade of brown, including light browns to rich and dark browns (coffee shades) look stunning on dark to black skin tones. Sheer or glossy pinks that have slight beige hues greatly enhance darker skin. Other colors that flatter are deep roses, berry colors and deep plums. Try using a walnut or caramel during the day, and a plum purple or wine color for the evening.

Always avoid oranges in addition to pink reds so as not to look unappealing.

Helpful Tips

  • If you ever apply lip color outside of your lips don’t use your finger to remove the mistake. Instead, use a cotton swab or q-tip with your foundation, or a makeup remover to take care of the problem.
  • If you want fuller-looking lips, you can accomplish this by using a lighter shade of lip color on the center of both your upper and lower lips.
  • Try using a lip liner that is the same color as the lipstick you’re using to outline the outer white parts of your skin for fuller lips.
  • An easy way of finding your perfect lip color is to take a look at your natural lip color, and then choose a lipstick, sheer, gloss, or matte color that is one or two shades darker than your natural lip color.
  • To test shades, apply lipstick or gloss to one lip. If that color is just a shade or two deeper than your bare lip, then you’ve found your shade.
  • When you’re about to apply strong colors, always use a mirror and a lip brush for precise application because you don’t want to have excess color on the outsides of your lips.
  • For a natural-looking lip color, apply lip liner after you’ve applied your lip color or lip gloss.
  • To make your lipstick last longer, use a lip liner to fill in your lips before applying any lipstick. Think of it as a color base that doubles as a primer.

How to Wear Red on Lips

Red lips aren’t easy to pull off, so most women simply choose to skip that glamorous look and opt for a neutral style of makeup. But the reality is that every woman can wear red on their lips, and the secret is choosing one with the right undertones to suit the skin tone. Pale women with pinkish skin have better luck choosing a cherry, wine or plum red lip color.

Those with medium or olive-colored skin will look best in warm reds that aren’t too pale. Women with dark skin should stick with deep reds on their lips.

Keep in mind that red lips do not work with everyday wear, and you should also take note of the clothes you are wearing.

Choosing the perfect lip color is simple once you understand your personal skin tone, and know what colors look the best with it.

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