Choosing the right shade of lipstick for your complexion

Ever had someone ask you if you were feeling sick when you were totally fine? Surprisingly it could be because you are using the wrong makeup shades for your skin’s natural undertone. It’s important to choose lipstick colors that compliment your skin, and the shade you wear can make all the difference between looking stunning and looking unhealthy. Don’t know your skin tone or undertones? Read on to find out how to identify them and how to choose the right lipstick shades to match!

With all the different lipstick shades available, finding ones that match your complexion can be a daunting task. In order to find what colors you wear best, you first need to understand that your skin has two shades your skin tone and your undertone. So what’s the difference between skin tone and undertone?

  • Skin tone is the color of your actual skin: fair, light, medium, olive, tan, dark.

  • Undertones are the colors that show through the skin – you can have warm, cool or neutral undertones.

Although knowing your skin tone can help you choose shades that make your complexion come to life, it’s actually the undertone that determines which shades really look flattering on you. 

An easy way to check what undertones you have is to check your veins. If your veins look green you have a warm skin tone. If your veins look blue, you have a cool skin tone. If they look equally bluish green, you have a neutral skin tone. 

For Warmer skin tones

If you have warmer undertones your skin has peachy, yellow or golden hues, and you typically look better in warmer lipstick shades. Lean towards anything with a golden, warm and orangey shade — orangey reds, golden nudes and warm pinks.

For fair, light and medium warm toned skin – try a warm neutral pink, like Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Shine in “Pink Cognito” or a coral pink like Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in “Coral Blossom.” If you’re looking for darker berries and reds, steer toward a brick red, like NYX Matte Lipstick in “Alabama,” or rich wine shades like MAC Charlotte Olympia Lipmix in “Crimson.”

For tan and dark warm toned skin – go bold with tangerine oranges like Bobbi Brown Lip Color in “Atomic Orange,” or try a warm pink like L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Extraordinaire Liquid Lip Colour in “Nude Ballet.” Bright, fiery reds like NYX Matte Lipstick in “Indie Flick” look stunning on warm complexions, as well as golden neutrals and deep brown burgundies, like Le Metier de Beaute Color Core Moisture Stain Lipstick in “Bali.” 

For Cooler skin tones

If you have cooler undertones in your skin, you’ll see a pink, red, or bluish hue to your skin. You should look for shades that also have pink, red, or bluish undertones, to match and compliment your skin.

For fair, light and medium cool toned skin – try shades that have a hint of blue or purple. You can go soft with muted mauve like NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in “Sex Machine” and bubblegum pinks like MAC’s Cremesheen Lipstick in “Pink Pearl Pop”, or go bold with deep blue reds like Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in “Icon.”

For tan or dark cool toned skin – you can be more daring with your color choices. Try deep plums like Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in “Femme Fatale,” or poppy, fuchsia pink like Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Shine in “Fuschia Shock.” Blue and purple toned pinks and reds will compliment your skin beautifully.

For neutral skin tones

If you are blessed with a neutral skin tone, lucky you! Having a “neutral” undertone means you don’t have a clear undertone — you have a little bit of both yellow and pink. 

Since you have both warm and cool undertones, you can wear both warm and cool toned lipstick and almost all of them will look flattering on you. Choose from any of the recommendations under the warm toned or cool toned sections and see which one you prefer on your skin — a warm neutral like Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Shine in “Pink Cognito,” or a deep blue red like Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in “Icon.”

Keep in mind, no matter what your skin tone, always avoid colors that are way too light for your lips and skin — they will make you look washed out, dehydrated and unhealthy. Whether you choose to wear a subtle nude or bright, popping pout, stick to shades that match your undertone and you’ll look great no matter what! 

Be sure to check out our post on how to Get Rid of Your Red Lipstick Fear Once & For All, and read more tips in our Beauty Section

Photo credits: Kristen Love

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Kristen Love

Kristen Love resides in the Chicago area with her husband & two kiddos-- an energetic toddler who will do anything to make his sweet, baby sister giggle (which doesn't take much). She is the author behind The Love Notes Blog, a YouTube beauty vlogger, an extreme DIY’er, obsessive chick flick watcher, lover of all things pretty & her spirit animal is Li’l Sebastian. Connect with her! Blog: | Instagram: @thelovenotes | Facebook: The Love Notes Blog | Twitter: @lovenotesblog | Snapchat: @thelovenotes | YouTube:

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