How to Choose the Right Lipstick Shade for Your Skin Tone
Published November 5, 2023
Choosing the perfect lipstick shade can be intimidating. Faced with a wide color spectrum at makeup stores, many of us may feel overwhelmed. Yet, finding the right shade of lipstick can instantly enhance our look and boost our confidence. So, how can you make this decision without all the guesswork? The secret lies in understanding your skin tone and undertones.
Understanding Your Skin Tone and Undertone
Your skin's surface color, or skin tone, ranges from fair, light, medium, tan, dark, to deep. Meanwhile, undertones—the subtle colors beneath your skin—can be classified into three categories:
- Cool: Your skin has a pink, red, or bluish undertone.
- Warm: Your skin has a yellow, peachy, golden undertone.
- Neutral: A mix of both warm and cool undertones.
Identifying your undertone is the initial step in finding your ideal lipstick shade.
Choosing the Right Lipstick for Your Skin Undertone
If you have cool undertones, experiment with lipsticks that have shades of blue or purple. These include wine-colored lipsticks like plums, cherries, and rosé. Cool pinks, such as a mauve or soft mocha, can also work well.
For those with warm undertones, lipsticks with a yellow or orange base will enhance your natural skin color. Look for shades in rich brick reds, creamy peaches, or warm toned neutrals. These will complement your skin's warm glow without overpowering it.
With neutral undertones, you have more flexibility. You can usually pull off both cool and warm lipstick shades well, so feel free to choose anything from pinks to corals to reds to browns. With the Zakiella shade range, there are options for every undertone in light, medium, and deep colors.
Considering Your Skin Tone
Although undertones are essential, skin tone also plays a part in finding the perfect lipstick for you. The deeper your skin tone, the lighter lipsticks will look on you, and vice-versa. This is important to consider to avoid "concealer lips" or lipstick that is too dark for your preference.
- If you have fair or light skin, try soft pinks, coral, dusty red, or a lighter nude shade.
- For medium or tan skin tones, a rose, caramel, cherry red, or mauve lipstick can be your best bet.
- If your skin tone is dark, opt for berry, bright red, or deeper nude or brown shades.
- For deep skin tones, shades like brick reds, mahogany, wine, rich browns, and blue-toned red can look incredibly stunning.
In general, make sure the shade depth has enough contrast with your skin to avoid looking washed out, or having "concealer lips".
Trial and Error
Of course, your own unique preferences may vary. For example, I myself usually gravitate to darker nudes, despite having fair skin, as I find light nudes wash me out, despite others with fair skin looking stunning in light shades. While these guidelines can point you in the right direction, everyone is unique. The only tried-and-true way to determine what lipstick shades work best for you is to test them yourself. Don't be afraid to experiment with different colors, finishes, and textures. After all, beauty is about expressing yourself, so wear what makes you feel the most confident and beautiful.
Finding the right shade of lipstick is a personal journey. Once you understand your skin's undertone and tone, you can navigate the lipstick universe with more confidence, adding a punch of color to your everyday life.
Zahra Kihel is a passionate cosmetic formulator with over a decade of experience, as well as the co-founder of Zakiella, a clean beauty brand dedicated to creating high-quality makeup with natural and organic ingredients. She also holds an Honours Bachelor's degree with First Class Standing in business economics which she believes has helped contribute a unique dimension to her understanding of the beauty industry. When Zahra's not formulating innovative beauty blends, she loves spending time in the countryside.