How do I Choose the Best Lipstick Color?

Sheri Cyprus

Standing in a cosmetics aisle surrounded by what can be hundreds of different lipstick colors is often daunting. In order to choose the best lipstick color for you, do some quick planning steps before you go to buy makeup. It's easy to start by studying your natural lip color in a mirror.

Makeup, including lipstick.
Makeup, including lipstick.

You won't have to be limited to having to buy a lipstick color close to your natural lip tone. It just helps to look in a mirror to see if your lips and skin tone are warm or cool, as many lipsticks and other cosmetics are labeled this way. For instance, lipsticks with names such as Cinnamon Spice have a warm undertone, while those labeled something like Icy Pink have a cool cast. People with a peach or orange essence to their skin are considered to be warm-toned, while those with a blue or pink undertone are said to be cool-toned.

A woman applying lipstick.
A woman applying lipstick.

Chances are, you'll be instinctively attracted to the right lipstick color family for you, as cool-toned people tend to prefer the clear, icy shades while those with warmer skin tones usually pick the tawny, spicy hues. Comparing skin colors and lipstick shade preferences with friends can help you better understand the principles of cool and warm tones. The best lipstick colors tend to make a person's face look less lined and shadowed; if you appear to look better in certain lipsticks than others, chances are they are in the ideal tones for your skin.

When choosing lipstick consider colors that look best with your skin tones.
When choosing lipstick consider colors that look best with your skin tones.

While everyone can wear both lighter and darker lipstick shades, those with darker brown and black skin tones are usually better able to handle the darkest cosmetic colors. Rich raisins and very deep wines may be too dark for people with lighter skin colors. In searching for the best lipstick color for you, it may be ideal to choose one tube each in a lighter and darker shade. Lighter shades work best for day, while darker lipstick colors better suit the evening.

Lighter shades work best in the day and darker ones at night.
Lighter shades work best in the day and darker ones at night.

If you want to be a little daring and find a bright color of lipstick that suits you, remember to choose one that complements your skin tone. Whether your favorite bright shade is red, pink or something else, keep the rest of your makeup, such as eyes and cheeks, more subdued or you run the risk of looking clownish. When going for a smokey, dramatic eye makeup look, your best lipstick color is one that is more natural and soft.

Care must be taken so that lipstick does not appear clownish.
Care must be taken so that lipstick does not appear clownish.

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Discussion Comments


This is a good article for people who are just starting to wear lipstick. Learning about your skin tone is important.

I also think that when wearing makeup, it's nice to experiment with different things and try something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you can be surprised at how great something looks when you least expect it.

I have olive skin and I would have never thought that an orange toned lipstick would look good on me. But it's true! Not every shade, but there is a matte, cool orange tone that just looks perfect on my skin.

Makeup is a kind of like art. It's good to know the right tips. But don't be scared to experiment! It's fun!


I manage to do well with other shades, but I think that finding the right shade of red lipstick is extremely difficult.

I refuse to buy red lipstick unless there is a professional there to advise me and I can try it on. Otherwise, the chances of getting the wrong shade and having to take it back is pretty high.


You can do a test with jewelry to find out your skin undertone. It is said that if you look better with silver toned jewelry, you have a cool tone to your skin. If you look better with gold jewelry, then you have a warm tone.

After a while, you can tell just by looking at a lipstick color whether it is a warm tone or cool. It took me a little bit of practice, but now I can tell right away. This is how I decide whether a shade will look good on me or not.

By the way, there is something called a neutral tone as well. If you look good in both silver and gold, that means basically all shades of lipsticks will look good on you. How lucky! I wish I had a neutral undertone.

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