Written by Charlotte Wood (last updated March 18, 2020)
We've all seen those women around—in the mall, in the store, in the airport—and their lipstick just isn't that flattering. We've also probably had that experience where we see a great lipstick or lip gloss shade on a friend and we want to try it out. When we do, we find that it just doesn't look that great.
So how do you pick the right shade of lipstick? You don't want people to notice a particularly bad shade of lipstick instead of your actual person, so how do you make a good lipstick choice? Picking the right shade of lipstick is actually a pretty subjective process, so you need to use personal discretion and have a basic understanding of skin tones.
Certain lipsticks just don't look good on some of us because each skin tone varies from the next. Some lipstick colors (like dark reds and browns) look best on darker skin complexions because the colors complement each other. A bright red color on a very fair-skinned person runs the risk of looking either costume-like or trampy. (Granted, there are those light-toned women who can pull off a bright red lipstick and look smashing.) Really light colors can usually go either way, depending on personal preference.
If you're really fair skinned, you don't want something so light that is washes you out, but you also don't want something too dark. For most fair-skinned women, a medium-toned lipstick will do the trick; you can make it look pretty casual or dress it up with some gloss.
When you buy lipstick you should also try out the color on your wrist before finalizing your decision. That way you can see how it interacts with your skin and if it doesn't look as great as you thought it would, then you escaped a bad lipstick circumstance!
Another aspect of picking the right shade of lipstick is simply the personality of the lipstick wearer. If people are bubbly, outgoing, and like to run on the edge of fashion, they can usually pull off brighter colors and a bolder makeup statement. If, however, you're more conservative, you'll look best in more conservative lipstick colors.
Picking the right shade of lipstick definitely doesn't have to be a chore and can actually be fun once you know what you need to look for and what looks best on you. Pretty soon you'll have a great collection of lipsticks, all of which look amazing!
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