How to choose a lipstick based on your skin tone

The easy way to pick your shade

Can you choose your lipstick according to your skin tone? Yes, you can. But first things first: feel free to wear absolutely any shade you fancy. If a sultry purple shade evokes confidence in you but doesn’t align with the “rules”, go ahead and wear it anyway!

With that being said, the number of options in the lipstick aisle can be daunting, so it’s tricky to know which products to add to your makeup kit. If you’re looking for a new tried-and-true shade that will beautifully complement your gorgeous skin tone (no matter its lightness or depth), look no further than our comprehensive guide.

Which colour lipstick should I wear for my skin tone?

Choosing the right lipstick shade depends on whether or not you have cool, warm or neutral undertones. To learn what your skin undertone is, and the lipstick shades that best match your natural beauty, read on.

1. The best lipsticks for cool undertones

From left: Huda Beauty Liquid matte lipstick in Bombshell, $53, from Sephora, Maybelline New York Super stay matte ink liquid lipstick in Pioneer, $18.69, from Chemist Warehouse, MAC lipstick in Ruby Woo, $32, from Adore Beauty

How do you know if you have cool undertones? You’re cool toned if you have a pink, red or bluish hue to your skin.

An easy way to tell if your undertone is cool is if the veins in your wrist look blue, if silver jewellery best complements your skin, or if your skin tends to burn in the sun before tanning.

The best lipsticks for cool tones have blue or purple-shaded undertones. For example, when going for a red lipstick, look more toward deep bluish-reds (like a true cherry red) rather than ones that appear more orange. For nude lips, you can enhance the natural flush of your lips with a rosy, pink nude, or if in doubt, a tinted balm can change to your lip colour and suit a variety of looks (plus it’ll hydrate, too).

2. The best lipsticks for warm undertones

From left: Revlon ColorsStay suede ink lipstick in Feed The Flame, $26.99, from Chemist Warehouse, MAC Amplified creme lipstick in Spill The Tea, $39, from Farmers, Kylie Cosmetics Matte lipstick in Irreplaceable, $44, from Kylie Cosmetics

How do you know if you have warm undertones? You’re warm toned if you have a yellow-ish, golden or olive hue to your skin.

If the veins in your wrist appear green (as opposed to blue), if gold jewellery brings out the best in your skin or if you tend to tan easily, then you have warm undertones.

The best lipsticks for warm undertones are colours in warm shades. Think bold oranges, brick reds and terracotta browns. Going for a nude?

A good rule of thumb is to match your skin tone with the lipstick shade. For instance, if your skin is light, go for a paler nude, if your skin is deeper, go for a richer nude.

The best lipstick shades are fiery reds, plus oranges pop beautifully on warm tones. If you’re feeling particularly bold, metallics such as coppers and golds are a beautiful look too.

3. The best lipsticks for neutral undertones

From left: Clarins Joli rouge in Raspberry, $53, from Life Pharmacy, L’Oréal Paris Color Riche satin lipstick in Orange Magique, $22.99, from Chemist Warehouse

How do you know if you have neutral undertones? You’re neutral toned if you have a mix of pink and yellow in the base of your skin. Neutral tone types are lucky and can have a lot of fun with colour.

Those with neutral undertones look good in both silver and gold jewellery, and for this undertone, a wide spectrum of colours are complementary. Try pink hues for fair skin, mauve shades for medium skin and berry colours for darker skin. But really it’s a free-for-all – anything from light nudes to deep wines in winter look fabulous.

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