Best Lipstick Colors for Your Skin Tone

Best Lipstick Colors for Your Skin Tone

  • Lipsticks come in different textures, including satin and cream lipsticks, gloss, matte lipsticks, sheer and balm lipsticks, sheer lip stains, and pearl and metallic lipsticks.
  • Keep your skin undertone into account when shopping for the best lipstick colors for you.
  • Do preliminary research online and then try the lipsticks you are interested in in a brick and mortar store before buying it.
  • You can apply your lipstick to make lips look larger or smaller, following a gradient technique or a traditional application method.


With so many lipstick types out there, how do you find the best lipstick for you? Some folks are avid collectors who own lipstick in every color and formula, while others have just the one or two tried and tested Holy Grails that make them look and feel amazing. If you’re still not sure what kind of lipstick wearer you are or haven’t found your favorite one yet, this lipstick buying guide is for you! 

help you understand what the different lipstick types are, based on texture,
formula, and finish. Then, we’ll help you figure out how to choose the best
lipstick for you based on your skin tone and undertone.

We’ve got some advice for choosing lipsticks for every occasion as well as how to pair them with the rest of your makeup. We also have some specific shopping tips for buying lipsticks both in real life and online and finally, our guide for a flawless lipstick application along with some tips and tricks.

Lipstick Buying Guide: Contents

Lipstick Types Based on Texture and Finish

come in a few different kinds of formulations, with different textures and
finishes. Here is a quick explanation of all the major types of lipsticks, as
well as their benefits and drawbacks.

Satin and Cream Lipsticks

bullet lipsticks (i.e. lipsticks that come in a roll-up tube) have a cream or
satin finish, which offers a light, natural sheen to the lips. Historically,
this has been the most common and popular lipstick category since it feels
comfortable on the lips and gives them a healthy look that is not overly moist.

Satin lipsticks are usually made out of a blend of natural or synthetic waxes, oils, synthesized emollients, and pigments, which are molded into a cylinder shape that can fit in a tube. They can range in opacity from fairly low to very high.

Gloss Lipsticks

the lipstick version of a dewy foundation, glossy lipsticks give the lips extra
sheen, which makes them look bigger and more moisturized. These lipsticks tend
to be very moisturizing to the lips, but they don’t have the best longevity
since they slip and slide a little more.

Gloss lipsticks usually come in the form of a bullet, with a formula made up primarily of lab-made emollients that offer a lot of sheen like Diisostearyl Malate. They can also come in the form of a liquid lipstick, in a tube with a built-in brush applicator in which case they are sort of interchangeable with high-pigment lip glosses. 

Matte Lipsticks

lipsticks have become very popular in recent years. These lipsticks don’t
reflect much light, so they look a little dry and flat, but they also tend to
have better longevity than their satin and gloss counterparts. They can come in
bullet formulas in which case they will likely have a similar wax, oil, and
emollient formula but with a mattifying silicone or mineral to give a
non-reflective finish.  

Long-lasting matte liquid lipstick formulas are a subsection of matte lipsticks that are made with a blend of emollients and film-forming polymers that make them dry down to a difficult-to-remove and very matte layer over the lips. Sometimes they are marketed as “lip stains,” but that’s not exactly accurate. They are super long-lasting, but they often make the lips feel a little dry.

Sheer and Balm Lipsticks

lipsticks are made specifically to be very sheer, which means they are made
with fewer pigment ingredients. As a result, they give the lips more of a tint
than intense color, which gives a more natural look.

Usually, they come in a bullet, but sheer crayon lipsticks are not unheard of, either. They tend to have a creamy or glossy finish and will often also help keep the lips moisturized. They are a great choice for makeup newbies or for day-to-day casual wear.

Sheer Lip Stains

Sheer lip stains deserve their own category. They are especially popular with fans of K-beauty, and a lot of Korean makeup companies make variations on them.

stains usually have a light liquid, gel, or cream formula and a high amount of
water, which is usually not an ingredient used in lipsticks. This allows them
to spread over the lips in a thinner layer and to potentially even penetrate
very slightly, so they give the lips a sheer tint from within rather than a
thick coating of product and color and then to last a fairly long time.

This is great for achieving the “blooming lips” look that was first popularized in East Asia and can be a great choice for anyone who wants lip color but has sensory issues with creamier formulas.  

Pearl and Metallic Lipsticks

Pearl and metallic lipsticks can come with all kinds of textures, since what influences their finish is a certain type of very reflective pigment rather than a level of moisture. The reflective pigment is usually Mica, a super shiny mineral that gives a pearl or metallic finish to makeup products, but that has also come under scrutiny in recent years due to the unethical labor practices involved in mining it. 

How to Find the Best Lipstick Color for Your Skin Tone

choosing a lipstick color you will love, it’s important to keep your own skin coloring
in mind, as well. As always, there are no strict rules about who can wear what,
but certain undertones pair better with particular lipstick colors and are
likelier to clash with others, not to mention that the overall effect of the
lipstick will depend on your skin tone, as well.  

How to Determine Your Skin Undertone

Understanding your skin’s undertone is very important not just for choosing the best lipstick for you, but also for choosing foundations and putting together a color story for your makeup. It can even help you figure out outfits! 

to recognize skin tones requires some skill. There are a few tips that can act
as shortcuts, but they don’t work as well as simply learning to isolate
predominant undertones through practice.

at first glance, it seems like the skin is simply beige or brown, it’s actually
more complex than that. Undertone is different from the overall skin tone. Your
skin tone refers to whether your skin is light or dark, and it depends on how
much melanin is in your skin – pretty simple! 

The skin’s undertones are based on the primary colors: yellow, red, and on rare occasions blue. Those with predominant yellow tones have warm skin, those with predominant red (or pink) tones have cool skin, and those with a balance of the two have neutral skin.


undertones are very rare, and usually fall under “neutral” but olive, which is
a mixture of blue and yellow undertones, can fall under either “neutral” or
“warm” depending on the level of yellowness in the skin. Artists might take
issue with these designations since red is considered a warm color in art, but
sorry y’all, it is how it is. 

Note that the face often skews a little more red (i.e. cool), and for those with sensitive skin, it can be extra deceiving. If you don’t wear foundation, that facial coloring matters a lot when you choose your lipstick, but if you are a foundation wearer, it is better to look at the coloring on your neck and chest, which will show your true undertones.

best way to judge your undertones is to take a photograph of yourself in
natural lighting against a white background. Look at the photo and try to
isolate which of the three primary colors you can see the most of. Watching
videos or looking at photos of other people will help train your eyes, so by
learning to recognize other people’s undertones, you can also learn to
recognize your own. 

common trick is to look at your veins, as a shortcut. If they appear bluer,
you’re neutral, if they appear slightly purple, you are cool-toned, and if they
appear greener, you are either warm-toned or olive. It’s a great trick, but
it’s not foolproof, and it might not work at all if you have a deeper skin tone
through which the veins are not visible. 

Best Lipstick Colors for Cool Undertones and Fair Skin

you have a cool, pinkish undertone, you want lipstick colors that will make
your skin look healthy and clear by pulling it to a more neutral place or by
working with it rather than against it. The most consistently flattering
lipsticks for your skin tone will be either neutral or a little cool-toned.

Nudes that are neither orange nor pink can look stunning, as can slightly deeper rose and berry tones, which will register as your “my lips but better” shade. If your skin is darker, but with a cool undertone, taupe and cool brown lipsticks can register as nudes and look incredibly chic. If you’re in the mood for drama, pinks, magentas, blue-based reds, and deep purple-red burgundies are all excellent choices.


If you’re a fan of avant-garde colors, don’t be afraid of blue and purple lipsticks, but stay away from yellows and especially greens, which will only serve to emphasize any redness in your skin. 

You’re not totally banned from wearing orange-based lipsticks (we don’t believe in banning!), but to make them work it will be better if your skin is perfected with foundation and if the rest of your makeup’s color story is cohesive, with warmer eye makeup and blush or bronzer.

Best Lipstick Colors for Warm…

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