How to: the best lipstick shades for skin tones

How to choose your ideal lipstick shade

Want a simple solution to finding the best lipstick shades for skin tones? Well here it is. In just a few easy steps you can achieve the effortless, natural allure of actresses like Emma Watson who nails it every time. Whether it’s speaking up for gender diversity or donning designer outfits on the red carpet, the Harry Potter heroine is just as flawless wearing a bold, matte lip as she is flaunting the ultimate †˜bare-faced’ chic. Not surprisingly, she prefers a downplayed, †˜no makeup’ look.
†œWhen I get a chance not to worry about it, I don’t wear very much make-up at all. Sometimes I just get my eyelashes tinted and wear moisturiser,† she told UK magazine Glamour.
There’s no magic involved in her choice of lipstick shades though. It’s down to the science of what suits her fair complexion. So regardless of your skin tone here’s some easy steps to steal her faultless style and pair the perfect lipstick to your pout.

Selecting the best lipstick shades for skin tones

First identify whether you have fair, olive or dark skin. Then, decide if your face emits †˜warm’ or †˜cool’ undertones. It can combine both which is referred to as neutral.
  • You can do this by looking at the veins on your wrist. If they appear blue or purple you’ve got cool-toned skin. If they’re green you’re warm-toned.
  • If you are still unsure, try on gold and silver jewellery and see which looks better on your skin. Cooler (pink) tones complement silver trinkets whereas warm (yellow) skin tones work well with gold.
  • Do you burn or tan? Those of us who burn easily or turn pink tend to be cool-toned. If you tan you’re likely to be warm-toned.
Celebrity makeup artist and author of Treating Diverse Pigmentation, Aliesh Pierce explains the colours of our skin are made from our unique levels of melanin, haemoglobin, dietary carotene and collagens.
Our undertone is influenced by diet and overall health,† she says.
And finally, if in doubt, get some expert advice from a makeup artist. Sometimes it is hard to look at yourself objectively. A makeup artist will be able to take one look at your skin and know, from experience, what will work best for you. Celebrity makeup artist Kindra Mann, who has worked with US actress Rosario Dawson, says:
†œFor yellow undertones, stick to warmer colours and for pink undertones, look for shades with blue or purple tones in them.†
With this in mind, here’s a quick †˜do’s and don’ts for choosing the best lipstick shades for skin tones.
Choose lipstick for your skin tone

Fair skin

Lipstick shades that work:

Pink-based beiges for a natural glow. Bold reds and deep plums for dramatic contrast. Reds with blue undertones can make teeth appear brighter. Fair skin with cool undertones: Opt for a nude lipstick with pink undertones to help bring out the delicate pinks in your skin for a fresh, healthy look.
Pink_Juniper_Lip NourishPink Juniper Lip Nourish has a subtle warmth and its sheerness gives you a soft, elegant, beautiful, subtle look that brings life to your face, instead of washing you out. Fair skin with warm undertones: If you have light skin with slightly yellow undertones, select a warmer nude shade with a rosy-pink finish. You’ll need a little more pigment in your nude lipstick than someone who is alabaster or fair with pink undertones. Rose_Lime_Open_SmudgesRose Lime Lip Nourish is the perfect rosy nude and the colour is just right†”not too pale, and good for day or night, especially those times when you’re rocking a dramatic eye or wanting to go slap-free during the day. Your lips won’t steal the show, but they definitely won’t be overlooked.

What not to wear:

Orangey nudes or pale browns. †œAvoid anything too light or with too much of a yellow undertone so you don’t look washed out,† says Kindra Mann.

Medium or Olive skin

Lipstick shades that work:

Salmon pinks, peachy nudes and golden tones. A taupe nude makes the skin glow and the whites of the eyes shine,† says makeup artist Marni Burton. Medium Skin with warm undertones: You look best with sandy beige lipsticks that contain rosy undertones. Tea Rose Lip Nourish Tea Rose Lip Nourish has the perfect amount and tone of beige and rose to even out your lips and add a touch of healthy pizazz to any beauty look.
Olive skin: Reach for a sheer browny nude with a slightly shimmery or glossy finish to play up the golden tones and warmth in your skin. Chai Shimmer Lip Nourish lipstickTry Chai Shimmer Lip Nourish which looks perfect paired with sun-kissed skin. The smooth texture brightens up the natural pigment in your lips so they’re not completely bare and imparts just enough colour to keep lips from looking washed out. It also has a lip balm texture so you can easily apply it without a mirror.

What not to wear:

Peachy nudes with hints of yellow will clash with green undertones.

Dark skin

Lipstick shades that work:

Lucky you! Most shades will work for you. For nudes, go with bronze, dark tan or sandy hues, or for †˜look-at-me’ moments, bright pinks or purples. Peach-toned brown shades also work. Don’t look past chocolate colours to play up the highlights and shadows in your gorgeous pout and build definition. Avoid colours that are too light †” you want to choose shades that are close to your lip tone for a more natural-looking effect. Vanilla Chocolate Lip Nourish LipstickVanilla Chocolate Lip Nourish is the ideal balance between beige and caramel to perfectly complement your darker skin tone.

What not to wear:

With nudes, experts say don’t choose anything more than two shades deeper or lighter than the inside of your lower lip.

5 top tips to make the most of your lippy

  • Buff the lips prior to lippy application with a clean, soft, slightly dampened tooth brush to slough away any dead skin and create a smooth canvas.
  • For a bit more depth and pigment, apply one layer of lippy, blot with a tissue, and then apply another layer. Repeat. Feel ready for battle.
  • Apply the pigment straight from the bullet rather than using a brush for bolder colour that still has a soft definition.
  • To make your lippy last longer dab on some concealer to the lips which will also help give lipstick a base to grip to and allow for a creamier finish.
  • Apply the colour with your index finger and tap into the lip to blend for a soft, natural-looking pout.
Always remember the best nude lip colour is slightly brighter or deeper than your skin tone and contrary to popular belief, nude colours feature different variations of tones (brown, rosy, caramel etc). Nude Cinnamon Lip Nourish LipstickIf you're still not sure which are the perfect lipstick shades for your skin tone you could have some fun trying them all with a tasting plate of all our Lip Nourish lipsticks! Or go for the Nude Cinnamon Lip Nourish - universally flattering and will suit every single type of skin tone and occasion because it is almost bare!!
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