How to Choose the Right Lipstick for You

Determining your Skin Tone
Image titled Choose the Right Lipstick for You Step 1

  1. Examine your skin in natural lighting to determine your complexion: fair, light, medium, tan, deep. Concentrate on the skin around your jaw line.
    • Fair skin: your skin is very pale or translucent and you burn very easily. You may have freckles and some redness.
    • Light skin: your skin is pale. When you are in the sun, you burn and then may possibly tan.
    • Medium: you tan easily and generally don't burn or have sensitive skin.
    • Tan: your skin is tan or olive. You rarely burn and look tanned even in the winter.
    • Deep: your skin is dark and you never get sunburned. Your hair is possibly black or dark brown.



Look at the color of the veins on the inside of your wrist. This is a quick way to figure out if you have a warm, neutral, or cool skin tone.
  • Blue or purple veins indicate you have a cool skin tone.
  • Green veins mean you have a warm skin tone.
  • If you have difficulty deciding if your veins are blue or green, you likely have a neutral skin tone and can choose colors from both the cool and warm spectrum. People with olive skin usually have neutral undertones.
Notice how your skin reacts to the sun: do you tan or burn easily?
  • Skin that tans easily has more melanin indicates a warm skin tone. Most women of African, Caribbean, and Indian descent fall into this category.
  • If you burn before you tan (and maybe can't tan at all), then your skin has less melanin and you have a blue skin tone. If you have deep ebony skin, you may actually fall into this category.
Try on gold and silver jewelry. Which looks better?
  • Gold jewelry looks best with warm skin tones.
  • Silver jewelry looks best on cool skin tones.
  • Both look good on a more neutral skin tone.
  • This can be a good "tie breaker" if you don't clearly meet the criteria listed already.

Choosing an Everyday Color

Find a color that is one to two shades deeper than your natural lip color. 
  • To test how close the shade is to your natural color, apply the lipstick only to your lower lip. Compare that shade to the your upper lip. If the shades are drastically different, you need to keep looking.