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Even on my worst days, there are two things I refuse to leave the house without–my favorite organic moisturizer and the perfect lipstick.
Lipstick is quintessential to almost any makeup look. But is it possible to choose shades and tones of lipstick that accentuate your beauty even more?
Skin tone plays an important role in which lipstick you should reach for. Of course, makeup is makeup and if there is a color that inspires you, go for it. Addressing your skin tone in comparison to lipstick shades just serves to give the look a more well-rounded and balanced appearance and keeps things from looking off.
Here’s a breakdown of undertones and lipstick shades to help you choose the right lipstick for your skin tone.
Makeup to Match Your Undertones
If you’ve ever tried on a lipstick that looked great on the shelf but not so much on your lips, it’s likely due to a clash in the undertones.
Your skin has undertones, and lipstick shades have undertones, too. When they match, it’s makeup magic.
Your skin’s surface color (often referred to within a spectrum of ivory, light, medium, tan, deep, dark) may be the same as someone else, while undertones can vary within that same shade – for example, ivory with cool undertones versus ivory with warm undertones.
The same shade of lipstick will look different if you have the same skin color but different undertones.
Undertones are a series of shades that create your overall skin tone. They can be referenced when choosing the right colors of clothes, eyeshadow, foundation, and of course lipstick. Here are the most common and obvious skin undertones.
- Cool undertones: indicates underlying shades of blue, pink, and red.
- Warm undertones: indicates underlying shades of gold, yellow, and peach.
- Neutral undertones: indicates a combination of cool and warm undertones with the addition of olive green undertones.
It takes a skilled professional to immediately be able to identify your skin undertones at first glance. Luckily, all you have to do is identify it once. Here’s how to check for you skin undertones.
How to Identify Your Undertone
Recognizing your undertones is the first step to choosing the right lipstick for your skin tone.
Take a look under your sleeve at the veins in your wrist and arms. Do they appear to be more blue or more green? Your veins are neither blue or green, but seeing them through your skin undertones makes them appear so.
Cool skin undertones will cause veins to appear bluer while warm skin undertones make veins appear greener.
The caveat being that neutral undertones can’t be explained with the vein test only.
Which do you look better in– gold or silver jewelry? Not which do you like more, but what makes you look like a glowing goddess and radiate perfectly off your finger, wrist, or neck?
Cool skin undertones look best in silver; warm skin undertones look best in gold, neutral skin undertones can rock both.
Eye & Hair Color
Most commonly, those with cool undertones have blue, grey, or green eyes. Usually with blonde, brown, or black hair that has tones of blue, silver, violet, or ash.
Conversely, those with warm undertones commonly have brown, hazel, or amber colored eyes. Warmly toned individuals often have hair with natural undertones of gold, red, orange, and yellow.
Do You Tan?
How your skin responds to the sunlight can say a lot about its undertones. Warm and neutral tones tend to tan while cool undertoned people will turn pink and are likely to get sunburn.
The second step to choosing the right lipstick for your
Like your skin, lipsticks are created using a formula of undertones. No lipstick is a single shade; it’s made up of several blues, greens, yellows, and other varieties of primary colors and shades.
Lipstick is often created with skin undertones in mind.
Red Lipstick Undertones
Red lipsticks are made of pink, purple, blue, yellow and coral undertones.
Nude Lipstick Undertones
Nude lipsticks are made of beige, brown, tan, pink, orange, and grey undertones.
Pink Lipstick Undertones
Pink lipsticks come in a variety of orange, pink, red, plum, yellow and beige undertones.
Choosing the Right Lipstick for Your Skin Tone
Now, it’s time to match your skin shade and undertones to that of your desired lipstick color.
Here are the best matches accordingly.
Fair skin with cool undertones
Examples of this complexion include Adele and Kelly Osbourne, who notoriously rock bold lip and hair colors.
The ideal lipstick shades for this skin tone and undertone include red lipstick with blue or pink undertones, soft pinks, purples, soft plum and nudes that lean toward the pinkish shade range.
Not many can pull off a bold color like the Night Wanderer by Rituel De Fille the way this undertone can.
Fair skin with warm undertones
Examples of this complexion include Nicole Kidman and Lucy Liu.
The best lipstick shades for fair skin with warm undertones include corals, peach, reds with orange undertones, and nudes with peach or orange undertones. Creamsicle by Clove + Hallow is the perfect blend of coral and orange for warm-toned fair skin.
Fair skin with neutral undertones
An example of this complexion is Julianne Moore and Emma Watson. These ladies can pull off most lipsticks shades with both warm and cool undertones.
Beige and pink undertones are great for this shade, and nearly any nude will look flawless. Juice Beauty’s Sonoma is a luxurious satin lip cream that can be worn day or night.
Medium skin with cool undertones
This is a pretty rare combo, but Zendaya may be as close as it gets. Have you seen her in a blue lip–WoW!
So, if you’re blessed with this combo, you’re likely able to pull off the coolest dark teals and deep plums leaving everyone with lipstick envy. Check out Chrysalis by Rituel de Fille.
Medium skin with warm undertones
Eva Longoria and Halle Berry are great examples of medium skin with warm undertones.
This lovely duo of golden undertones stands out with the brightest and boldest red and pink lipstick and brown nudes.
Ilia’s Colorblock lipstick in Rumba is just enough cranberry just enough cinnamon and perfect for year-round wear.
Medium skin with neutral undertones
Famous examples of this complexion are Jessica Alba and Mila Kunis.
Clarity by Axiology dips into cool and warm undertones creating a luscious combo of burnt copper and fuschia.
Your undertone may be neutral, but you’ll do nothing but standout wearing this shade.
Deep skin with cool undertones
Beautiful examples of this complexion are Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Hudson, and Nyma Tang.
Pretty much any purple or plum is going to look insanely gorgeous on deep skin with cool undertones. Deep red lipstick with pink, blue or purple undertones like Fringe by Kosas, will suit this shade and undertone flawlessly.
Deep skin with warm undertones
Beyonce and Taraji P. Hensen are queens among us and rock deep skin with warm undertones.
The lovely ladies with deep skin and warm undertones can pull off pretty much any color besides maybe, grey. But, orange is definitely their sweet spot.
Deep skin with neutral undertones
Examples of deep skin with neutral (or olive) undertones are Viola Davis and Kerry Washington.
Deep skin with neutral undertones can dabble in colors of either undertone but are safer when leaning toward the cooler side and avoiding lipstick with orange undertones.
Tip: Matching your lipgloss can be a bit easier as you can control the amount of pigment you want by applying less or more of tinted gloss. The same goes for a lip-topper.
For my final pro-tip: If you can’t seem to find the perfect match–make your own! Professional makeup artists are constantly blending lipsticks to create the right shade. Simply use a lipstick brush, scrape a little onto the back of your hand, blend, and apply!
Are there universal lipstick shades? Well, that’s debatable. I’d say yes, there are. But there’s always going to be those certain colors that you think look especially incredible on you and it’s likely due to its undertones.
Learn about the lipstick brands we love and recommend:
Did this article bring you clarity? Finally, know which lipstick shades to reach for? Let us know in the comments below what your perfect shade is!