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Secrets to Choosing the Perfect Lipstick Shades

Putting on lipstick is like putting the finishing touches on a work of art. If you leave those last touches undone, the masterpiece looks unfinished. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to applying this last step of make-up. A beautiful make-up job can be completely upstaged and ruined by bleeding lipstick or an unflattering lipstick shade.

30 Days of Beauty, Day 24, Finding the Best Lip Color Shade

finidng the best lipstick shade


Most women really struggle with choosing lipstick. Often, women tend to rely on old relics that their mother or grandmother passed down. Shades such as mauve and magenta should really be kicked out of the current available color palette. On the other hand, many women cling to a color they happen to love in the tube and don’t care how that pretty color turns their face not so pretty.

Another common mistake women make is to skip the lip liner. This causes bold shades to bleed into the skin outside of the lips which creates a messy-looking mouth. The only time one can skip the lip liner is when using a lip gloss. Lip glosses are great for the girl who wants those last finishing touches to her make-up but doesn’t want to be too fussy about it.

Also watch out for choosing looks that can age you. Reds sometimes will age a woman’s appearance, while pinks and natural looks will make you look younger. Cindy Ingalls from Prime Beauty states:

Lipstick shades can age you. Makeup artist Bobbi Brown suggests only going one or two shades darker than your natural lip color. Avoid matte lipsticks as they tend to settle into your lip lines. Instead, try creamier lipsticks or glosses. Glosses are especially youthful and can make your lips appear fuller.


Women with cool skin undertones tend to look best in cool shades of lipstick with bluish or purple undertones. Warm skin undertones tend to look better in warm shades with orange and yellow undertones.  However, with that said, choosing the right lip shade often has little to do with your complexion or hair color and many women can wear both warm and cool tones just fine.

Have you ever tried on a lipstick color that looks great on a model with your similar coloring but does not look great on you? That is because your natural lip color is probably a completely different shade of pink or brown than the model’s lip color.
When choosing a lip color, take a good look at your natural lip color and then choose a shade that is one or two tones darker but in the same family.

It is a good idea to get a trusted second opinion on lipstick shades. Some women have bright red lips naturally while some women’s lips are soft pink or dark brown. There are women who have a peaches & cream complexion but have dark red lips or dark brown lips. There are African-American women who have very light pink lips or dark violet shaded lips. There is simply no cut and dry rule.

For women of color, Brittany Minor from Clumps of Mascara says this:

Despite what you may have heard, we CAN wear any and every color on our eyes and lips. When it comes to red lipsticks, stick with the blue-toned reds as they can compliment brown skin better than orange-toned reds.

Lipstick can also compliment a natural bare face look by adding some drama. In that case, choose a brighter and bolder shade. As Kimberly Nissen from The Plastic Diaries explains:

Bare faced and minimal time for makeup application? Just grab a bright lipstick. It will add much needed colour to a lifeless face. (photo below)

Tom Ford True Blend Lip Color Pure Pink Full Face

For the perfect red  Shelley Plummer of Polarbelle has this unique tip:

Match a lipstick to the red spot left over from a zit and you have found YOUR perfect red. Works every time!


Contrary to what many cosmetic industry leaders would tell you, you don’t have to have a lip liner to match every shade of lipstick. The great thing about lip liner is that it acts as an almost invisible line that is drawn between your lips and your skin.

Invisible, of course, once you fill in your lips with lipstick. In other words, if you use a flesh-tone lip liner, it will work fine with all shades of lipstick. Many women prefer to use a lip liner that is in the same family of colors as their lipstick, but this is not necessary. Play around with liners and see what suits you best. Layering shades can also create some interesting looks. In all cases, however, do not skip lip liner!

For real long wear without resorting to long wear products that tend to dry out, get sticky, or peel, try applying a liquid lip tint, followed by filling in lips with liner, and then applying sheer moisturizing lipstick or a light gloss or balm.


Lip gloss seems to be all some women wear during the warmer months. There is something about lip gloss that is distinctly summer. Perhaps it is the ease with which it can be applied since it does not need a lip liner. Or, it’s summer popularity has to do with how it tends to make skin look glowing and tan. Whatever the case, just about every woman can pull off choosing lip gloss over lipstick and liner every day of the year.

Use gloss to make your lips look plumper. Stephanie Louise Telford of Stephanie Louise- All Things Beautiful has this tip:

Want fuller lips? Apply a gloss. This reflects light as opposed to a matte or flat color. This gives the illusion of fuller lips with little to no hassle. Not a gloss fan? Go for a lighter shade in general that won’t give harsh lines. Also apply a highlight on your cupids bow & the center of your bottom lip for a fuller appearance.

Gloss is also a safer way to try bold looks. As Heather Adessa from *Gloss & Tell, Makeup By Heather A. explains:

If you love the bold lip craze, but think you may look like a clown
if you put it on yourself? Use bold lip glosses instead. They are the
stepping stones to getting to the bold lip. Glosses are more sheer,
letting you get the color your looking for, but in a non-intense form.
Have fun with color, you’ll get there!

Creating a  sheer or tamer look can also be done with bolder lipstick using this tip from Lisamarie Wilson of Beauty Crazed:

How many lipsticks do you have in your collection that you thought you liked the colour of when you bought it but out of store lighting, looks way too bright?! If you like the idea of bright colour but not the reality, do a stain instead! Apply the lipstick as usual then wipe most of it off, repeat a couple of times and what you’ll be left with is colour that is obvious but not shocking and that will last for hours without having to reapply. I like to add a bit of lipbalm on top to keep my lips from feeling dry but if you want a shinyer look, go with a clear gloss!

You can also turn that bright colour into a tinted balm by mixing a bit with some clear balm – you’ll still have the effect of the colour but it will be much more muted!

Finally, be sure to start with a good surface. As Moxie from Moxie Reviews notes: “Don’t apply lipstick on bare, chapped lips! Use a moisturizer, balm, etc. first, so you have a nice smooth surface.”

Tomorrow, Day 25, Eye Shadow Tips!

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