Everyone’s got them. Hidden away in make up bags and bathroom cupboards across the country are lipsticks that seemed to be just what we were looking for – the everyday nude, a great red, a vibrant summery pink – and they were, for a day or a week until we noticed they weren’t exactly right, that they didn’t really suit us. Is there a way to avoid making expensive mistakes with lipsticks?
Choosing a colour
Makeup artist Bobbi Brown’s tip for choosing a lipstick that will work for you is to look for a colour that is like your own natural colour, but to take it up a notch. So if your lips are pale, your lipstick colour could be beige, sandy or pale pink. A medium lip tone needs browns and roses, while dark lips can wear raisin. If you are very dark and have purple or dark brown lips, go for chocolate and blackberry colours. For evening, take your daytime colour to a richer intensity. If you chose a berry lip gloss during the day for example, a satiny burgundy would look more dramatic at night.
Beware your skin tone!
Another factor that can make your lipstick look right or all wrong is your skin tone. It jars to see an English Rose wearing orangey-brown lipstick, just as a mauvey pink kills olive skin.
Everyone’s skin tone (rather than their skin colour) tends to have a warmth or coolness to it. Warm skin will have yellow undertones and maybe some orangey red. Cool skin has red undertones, tending to the pink.
Typically someone very fair or with high colouring is a cool skin tone, though you can have a medium skin and be cool. Equally, very black skin with a blueish undertone is cool. Likewise fair skin can be warm as well as the more obviously warm olive, Asian and lighter black skins.
Determine your tone type
If you’re not sure whether you are predominantly warm or cool, try these tips:
1. Which suits you better, gold or silver jewellery? Whichever lights up your complexion best reveals whether you have warm or cool skin tones. Gold looks great on warm skin, while silver enhances cool skin.
2. According to makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, the inside of your arm can be revealing. If the skin is pale and your veins look bright blue, you’re a cool skin tone. In warmer skin veins are less obvious.
3. Alternatively you could just go straight to a Prescriptives counter for a free Colorprint. (0870 0342566), a service that will identify your ideal makeup colour family by determining your skin’s undertones.
What to do next
Once you’ve discovered your skin tone, apply that to lipstick. Broadly speaking, warmer shades of lipstick or those with yellow and orange undertones will suit a warm skin tone – think cappuccino, caramel, certain browns with hints of gold and bronze. For cool skin, good choices will be in the bluey pink spectrum, light pinky reds and blue-toned reds and classic beiges with pink undertones.
Test before you buy
When testing a new lipstick, try it on your lips if you can to see its true colour and how it looks on your skin (use a cotton bud). Alternatively try it on the pads of your fingertips rather than the side of your hand, as they are a little closer to lip colour. This will also show you the texture of the lipstick – whether it’s very sheer, totally matte, shimmery and so on. As a general rule, a matte finish tends to make lips look thinner and it can be aging, while shimmery shades and glosses make lips look fuller.
The beginners guide to long lasting lipstick application