Guide to choosing your lipstick shade

Becca Donaldson ·

Alex Scott

When it comes to makeup, there’s nothing quite as exciting as getting a new lippy. But tracking down that elusive perfect shade can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Don’t fret any longer, we’ve got the guidance you need to find your perfect lipstick shade, and it’s easier than you think. 

Finding the perfect lipstick shade needn’t be bewildering. Read on to discover how choosing the right shade of lipstick is actually quite straightforward once you’ve got the basics covered.

It’s particularly important to know how to choose a lipstick shade when you’re buying your lipstick online. We’ve got loads of choice for bargain branded lipsticks, but when you’re buying online you don’t have the option of slicking the tester product over your hand!

We’ve also ditched the idea of a lipstick shade tool. Lots of brands offer a tool called something like ‘find my lipstick shade’ but in reality these are marketing gimmicks. Often they don’t actually help you pin down the wider shade, just the products that the brand wants to sell. You are usually left with far too much choice still, and can feel more lost than when you started. 



How to find the best lipstick shade for you

We believe that the key to finding the perfect lipstick shade is very simple. You just need to figure out what your skin’s undertone is and then know which lipstick shades work best with this. This is a really good exercise for helping to choose all of your makeup and not just lippy. 

Most people will either have warm or cool undertones. Not everyone fits perfectly into these categories, and so there is a third group called neutral – this is when you are a mixture, or a balance of warm and cool. Those with dark skin share many characteristics with those who have warm undertones, but can carry richer and more intense colours.



How to find the best lipstick shade for you

So, let’s look at how you figure out which skin undertone you have and then how to find the lipstick shade that we know works for your skin tone.

Cool undertones

Those with cool undertones have a light pink hue. You may even have a blueish tinge, particularly if you look at your inner arms, and notice the veins looking blue. You likely go pink in the sun and flush easily. You look fabulous in silver jewellery and often benefit from your natural rosy glow.

Find the right lipstick shade for cool undertones

To complement your skin, you’ll need to pick out lipsticks with a blue – or purple – undertone. That doesn’t mean picking out these bright colours, but you’ll want to look at deep luscious blueish-reds, like a cherry shade, when you want to make a statement with your lippy.

A good example is Nars Satin Lipstick Impulse.

If you’re looking for a nude or natural look, but still want to reach for a slick of lippy, then you’ve got lots of choice. Pinks, rosy shades, nudes and even pale beige can work really well. 

Try the Bare Minerals Mineralist Hydra Smoothing Lipstick Honesty.

Your cool undertones work fantastically with a shiny lip gloss and you can choose clear or ones with a tint.



Warm undertones

You know that you’ve got warm undertones if your skin is golden, and may have a yellow or olive hue. You look at the sun and tan easily, unlike your cool undertone friends! Turn your wrist over and if your veins have a greenish tinge, then you’ve probably got warm undertones. Those with warm undertones rock gold jewellery and can carry off outfits in brown without looking dull. 

Find the right lipstick shade for warm undertones

Those with warm undertones do best to choose warm shades of lipstick, steering clear of the classic baby pinks and blue/purple shades. You can carry terracotta, dusky orangey reds, and intense browny-reds. Fiery reds should be your go-to for a night out or making an impact. Golds and coppers can work well for you too.

We love this L’Oreal Color Riche Lipstick Excusez Moi for making a statement if you’ve got warm undertones.

If you’re looking for a more understated lipstick, then try to match your natural lip colour with the lipstick shade, or go a touch darker. You can pick nudes; you just need to make sure it’s warm enough. 

The Urban Decay Vice High Impact Vegan Matte Lipstick is an excellent neutral choice for those with warm undertones.



Neutral undertones

If you’ve read the above descriptions, don’t have dark skin, and are still left a bit confused, then chances are that you may have neutral undertones. Sometimes you’re pinky looking, and at other times there’s definitely a yellow hue. You can reach for gold jewellery just as confidently as you reach for silver, but rose gold is where you’re happiest. 

Find the right lipstick shade for neutral undertones

The good news is that the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing the right shade of lipstick. You can carry a pale nude all the way through to a decadent wine, and you’ll look amazing. 

You can as easily carry the Cle de Peau Relentless Rose as you can the Go-Boldly Bronze.

Dark skin

Those with darker skin are able to showcase some of the most fantastic and diverse lipstick shades. Yes, earthy tones will always serve you well, but your skin tone is fabulous for showing off a high-gloss cherry red and you can carry an intense and luscious maroon. To stay in your comfort zone, edge away from the blue-hues, but welcome them in for party nights and catching attention. 

We adore Juvia’s Place The Red Wine Velvety Matte Lipstick – Rude Girl for dark skin tones. Feel decadent with the Winky Lux Lipstick too.



Find my perfect lipstick shade

By following the above guidance, you can pick out the perfect lipstick shade for your skin tone. Whatever you choose, the final look is evidenced with an air of confidence, and your chosen outfit. Break the rules if you want to, that’s what they are there for! Wear what you feel most confident in, and look fabulous when you do. 

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