Have you ever thought that there must be a more scientific way to choose lipstick than just choosing the same shade you chose before, or grabbing a colour that looks good in the store and then trying out at home? While we don’t believe that there are any hard and fast rules to makeup, there are some guidelines that you could follow that would help you select a shade of lipstick that will suit you. Here are ten tips to help you find the shade of lipstick that is most likely to compliment your skin tone.

1. Know what your skin undertone is

You need to know what type of complexion you have, and what your skin undertone is. You may already know this, because it is also helpful for when you are choosing foundation. The easiest way to tell if you have a warm, or a cool skin undertone, is to look at the colour of the veins in your wrists. If they have a bluish tinge, then you have a cool undertone and, if they appear to have a green tinge, then your skin undertone is warm.

2. Cool Vs Warm skin undertone

As a very general guide, if you have a warm skin undertone, then colours like pink and purple will suite you. If you have a cool skin undertone, then they richer colours like berries and plums might suit you better.

3. Daytime lipstick

When you are choosing a lipstick, don’t forget that you will probably need different shades for different occasions. Most likely, you will have at least one subtle shade for day wear and a more dramatic, bold shade for the evenings. The easiest way to choose a lipstick that won’t be too over the top for work is to choose a shade that is just two or three steps up from the natural colour of your skin.

4. The shape of your lips makes a difference too

Before we get into what shades of lipstick might suit different shades of skin, you will need to think about the shape of your lips as well. The general rule to bear in mind on this point are that darker colours of lipstick will make the lips look smaller, while the lighter shades will make lips look larger. It all depends whether you are trying to accentuate your lips, or make them less noticeable.

5. Darker complexion

Most people would agree that oranges don’t generally look too good on dark skin, because it’s too much of a contrast. For dark skin with cool undertones, ruby and wine shades will look wonderful, and if you have warm undertones, bronzes and coppers will look great.

6. Olive complexion

If you have an olive complexion, then you are lucky, because you can experiment with a wide range of shades, but very light colours can look a bit washed out. Reds, fuchsias and browns will work well with olive skin. You could try pinks and cranberry shades, but go for the darker ones.

7. Medium complexion

Medium skin, as you might have guessed, gives you an even wider range of shades to choose from. If you have warm undertones, you could try bronze or copper shades of lipstick and, with cool undertones and medium skin, pinks and cranberry shades will look great. Try out some browns, reds and peaches too, and see how they go with your own skin tone.

8. Fair complexion

When you have a fair complexion, it’s the lighter shades of lipstick that will go best with your skin and not look too stark. For fair skinned ladies with warm undertones, pale peach or pink will look good and, for cool tones, look for soft coffee shades and nudes. Reds can look stunning, if you want to make a statement, but nudes and beiges will usually work the best with fair skin.

9. Match the shade to your look

A common mistake that people make is that they try to match their lipstick too closely to the colour of an outfit. Matching bright red lipstick to a bright red outfit, for example, will way too much red. Red lipstick is best used to add drama to a plain outfit, nude goes with just about anything, and berries look good with natural coloured outfits.

10. Don’t listen to us!

These are only guides to what shades of lipstick usually go with what types of skin, but, with millions of different shades of lipstick and an infinite number of individual’s skin tones, you really can’t make up precise rules for this. When you buy lipstick, test it first. You can either use a test brush with a tester lipstick or, if you don’t want to risk trying a tester on your mouth at all, try applying a little bit to your wrist. Then take a look at the shade in natural daylight, and that will give you a fairly good idea of what the lipstick will look like when you wear it.