There’s something special about lipstick. It has a way of lifting your mood, look and complexion with a single swipe. And goodness knows we need that kind of magic during these crazy COVID times.
Lipstick is also one of those makeup products that once you find one you love, you’re loyal for life. But the search for ‘The One’ is often riddled with a lot of trial and error along the way. Plus, one lipstick is never enough! A complete lipstick wardrobe made up of different shades and finishes will cover you for every occasion.
Now that you can no longer test products in-store and probably do most of your shopping online anyway, the more you know about lipstick and all your options the better your chances are of buying the right shade and formula for you.
If you’re looking to add to your lip colour collection, this lipstick guide is for you.
Choosing the right shade of lipstick
While we’re all for picking lipstick colours that you love, you may find that not every shade looks as good once applied as it does in the bullet. That’s because different skin tones suit certain colours better than others. To find your best match, first you’ll need to determine whether your skin has warm, cool or neutral undertones. (Hint: Fair skin tends to have cool undertones, while medium and olive skin tones are likely to have warm undertones.)
To determine your skin’s undertones, look at the veins in your wrist. If they appear blue, you have cool undertones; if they are greenish, you have warm undertones.
If you have warm undertones, warm red, orange and pink tones are your friend. For cool undertones, deeper, darker shades like berry hues, purples and cool pinks look best. Got neutral undertones? Lucky you, most lipstick colours will suit you.
OUR PICK FOR WARM UNDERTONES: Meleros Orange Red Lipstick; Ere Perez Carrot Colour Pot in Healthy
OUR PICK FOR COOL UNDERTONES: Meleros Pinkish Creamy Beige Lipstick; Ere Perez Carrot Colour Pot in Holy
Matte vs gloss (and everything in between)
Choosing a lipstick colour is only part of the equation. You also need to consider the finish you’re after. There are so many different variants, and often a lipstick’s finish will impact the colour payoff and how matte or moisturising the end result is.
Matte lipsticks - tend to be intense in colour, have a shine-free finish, and are long-lasting in wear
Satin or cream lipsticks - deliver a fairly opaque colour payoff with a natural-looking sheen
Gloss lipsticks - expect a sheerer coverage and a high-gloss finish
Metallic lipsticks - has light-reflecting pigments that impart a shimmery finish
Understanding lipstick textures
Lipsticks come in many shapes and forms. Traditionally, a lipstick bullet was your only option. Now you can take your pick between liquid lipsticks, colour cream pots, glosses, crayons and stains.
As a general rule, satin and matte lipsticks are classic and perfect for looking ‘done’ in an instant. Glossy formulas are a great option for a soft, everyday look. Liquid lipsticks complement a striking modern look. While cream pots melt into lips for a relaxed off-duty vibe.
Consider your lip shape
Just as contouring products can enhance your cheekbones or accentuate the shape of your nose, the right lip colour can create a plumper-looking pout. If you want to give your thin lips the look of fullness, opt for a creamy or glossy lipstick and steer clear of dark, matte lipsticks. If you want to play down naturally plump lips, the opposite applies to you: avoid glossy finishes that reflect light. Balance lips that are heavy on the top with a bright shade on the bottom and a slightly darker version on your upper lip.