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POUT PERFECIt’s a good idea to choose a color about two shades deeper than your natural lip color.

How to find the right shade of lipstick

Maggie Gibbons

I am constantly asked how to find the perfect shade of lipstick, red, pink, even nude. I’ve been wearing red lipstick since the 80s and now I feel like I’m half dead without it. In fact, as early as the early 80s, it was like my signature, an ex-boyfriend told me his mom called me “Your Red Lipstick Wife”!
I can always get the shade wrong, there’s just no perfect formula. Covid didn’t help as we can’t even see the shade we buy anymore. However, there are some guidelines. One recommendation is that you choose a color about two shades deeper than your natural lip color.
If your lips tend to be thin, stay away from dark shades. Lips will thin out with age, and in this case gloss is sometimes a good option, as it gives the illusion of a fuller lip. You can also line the lips with a pencil, similar to your own lipstick, and then apply lipstick inside the line. Make sure the line is similar to the lipstick you’re wearing, because there’s nothing worse than an obvious line of a completely different shade.

First, identify your skin tone. Most people fall into one of two categories: hot or cold. Remember that the skin on your hands is a different shade than your lips, so try to avoid smearing lipstick on the back of your hand to gauge the shade. It will be different on the lips.
If you have cool undertones, you will have a pink, red or bluish undertone to your skin. The veins on the wrist are bluish, you may prefer silver jewelry and you tend to burn in the sun. Fair-skinned people can wear bright red for a bold pop of color on their fair skin, but they tend to look best in blue reds or berry reds with blue undertones.
When going for a red lip, opt for blue reds rather than orange ones. Maybe try a tint or lip balm, these tend to be less concentrated than full of color, yet still give a nice smudge. Another great thing about blue reds, rather than orange, is that the cooler tone makes your teeth look whiter.
If you have warm undertones, you’ll have a yellow, golden, or olive complexion. The veins on the wrist are greener and you probably favor gold jewelry. Warm skin also tends to tan more easily. The best lipsticks are bold oranges, orange reds and bronze shades. Fiery reds and oranges pop beautifully against warm undertones. If you’re feeling daring, copper and gold shades are also amazing.
Red lipstick adds punch to your makeup. However, you can get bamboozled with all the different shades. Keep these tips in mind when shopping for your perfect red.
If you have a medium complexion, which is neither very hot nor very cold, you definitely have more choices. You’ll actually know for yourself if you like the tint as soon as you apply it. Unfortunately, mistakes can be costly. I have a box full of opened lipsticks that looked great in the packaging, not so great when I put them on.

Universal shades?
Is there a universal shade that suits everyone? Well, Maybelline claims so. Their “Made for All” lipstick is a collection of six lipsticks that have been tested on 50 skin tones to guarantee beautiful results. Mauve, Pink, Plum, Fuchsia and Ruby in satin finish and Red in matte finish. Reviews are good and the price won’t disappoint: €9.45 on or in pharmacies nationwide.
MAC claims that Ruby Woo flatters all skin types, but I dare to contradict that statement. I didn’t like the texture, I found it much too dry. You should always check beforehand whether the lipstick is matte or creamy. You will have a preference for one or the other. MAC makes a trio in every possible shade, as well as a mini trio pack. Please note that the sizes are tiny, so do not expect normal size products. This mini trio is 36€ in Boots. I actually saw them on for €21.50. As always, check prices before buying.
Check to see if your local Boots still offer a shade matching service, it’s worth it if only to avoid costly mistakes in the future.

Maggie Gibbons is an image/style consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at [email protected]


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