How to Find the Right Lipstick Shade For Your Skin Tone

By Aniela / May 18, 2015

When it comes to lipstick, there are a TON of different shades to choose from and sometimes, that can be daunting. On top of that, we get swayed to wear the “hottest lipstick shades this season”, which aren't always complementary to our skin tones. I remember when orange hues were hot a couple years back, and I wanted SO badly to wear it, but not matter what shade of orange I tried, it just didn't look right! Bottom line: you have to find the right lipstick shade for YOUR skin tone. Some can pull off bright reds, while others cannot: it's just the hard lipstick truth!

lipstick shade for your skin tone

So how to find the right lipstick shade for YOUR skin tone?

First, you need to figure out your skin's undertone.

1. Identifying Your Undertone

Everyone's skin has an undertone: it can be yellow or pink. Yellow is warmer, while pink is cooler. Once you figure out which undertone you have, it's easy to choose the right lipstick shades as well as other makeup and even clothing and jewellery.

A quick way to identifying your undertone is to look at the veins on your wrists. If your veins are blue, then you have a pink undertone. If your veins are green, then you have a yellow undertone. If they look both blue and green, then you have a combination of undertones: pink and yellow. This is good news because it means you have a neutral skin tone and can wear any colour!

Still not 100% sure? Grab two pieces of jewellery: one gold, one sliver. Hold each one up against your face and decide which one looks better (ignore your personal preference).  Cooler tones (pink) work better with silver jewellery, while warmer tones (yellow) fare better with gold jewellery.

#2. Identifying Which Shades Work With Your Undertone

When choosing a lipstick shade, try to focus on colours that are similar to your undertone. Yellow undertones should stick to warmer colours, while pink undertones should go for shades with blue or purple tones in them.

#3. Still Not Sure? Pick Based on Your Skin Tone

You can have one of three skin tones: olive, fair, and darker skin tones.

Olive Skin Tones

olive skin tone - jessica alba

If your skin tone is olive, then you're in luck. This means that you have a neutral skin tone and can pull off just about any colour. Nude, pink, orange, and red shades will look great on you – so anything goes. When picking a lipstick, try to pair it up with whatever you're wearing. For an outfit with warmer colours, you should opt for a warm, bright lipstick shade.

Fair Skin Tones

fair skin tone - emma stone

Fair skin tones can really pull off bright reds and deep colours. Stay away from anything that's too late or anything that has a yellow undertone so you don't look washed out.

Dark Skin Tones

dark skin tone - kerry washington

Dark skin tones should opt for plums, berries, and reds. Try to stay away from light shades as they won't compliment you as much as deeper shades will.


But in the end, it's always up to you! If you want to rock a particular colour that doesn't match your skin tone, but it makes you happy – go for it! Makeup is about having fun and making you feel good!

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