What a difference the right lipstick shade can make

What a difference the right lipstick shade can make

I’d be lost without my lippie. I’m quite pasty so I can look pretty bloody washed-out when I don’t have my lipstick on, in fact when I am not wearing lipstick I’ll often find someone will say “Awww you poor thing you look tired.” Oh right, thanks for that. No, no I’m no more tired than usual, I’m a middle-aged mother with small children and a business and no lipstick, and THIS IS JUST MY FACE.

So that is why I lipstick.

What a difference the right lipstick shade can make

What I will say about lipstick is that when you find the right shade, it’s like the angels are singing and you’re all glowing confidence and your head doesn’t look like a slapped-arse any more. But, pick the wrong shade and…cue horror movie music.

I decided to conduct an experiment as to what makes the right shade and why. I pulled out a bunch of my lippies and photographed myself wearing all the ones I am really loving right now (and that I think suit me). And the ones that I don’t think look great. When I looked at all the pics, the key differences come down to the shade and whether it suits me, whether it makes my lips look plump or thin and how the colour works with my skin ton and consequently whether I look more or less washed out. You’ll notice the light in the photos does vary a little as I took the pics towards the end of the day. Otherwise I tried to keep everything the same including the lipstick application and a consistent smile.

The lipsticks below are my favourite shades at the moment. They are both warm and cool, both blue and orange based. What they have in common is that they are generally clean tones and quite colourful. Even the nude has a nice peachiness to it. I think these make me look brighter and more glowing and give my face a warmth.

MY BEST TIP: The Nars red is a great one for making your teeth look whiter!

What a difference the right lipstick shade can make

TOP LEFT Youngblood “Barely Nude”
TOP RIGHT Maybelline Colour Drama “Into the Coral”
BOTTOM LEFT Nars Matte Pencil “Mysterious Red”
BOTTOM RIGHT: Youngblood “Flirt”

The shades below are the one I am not too hot on. I’m not dissing on the colours themselves and they will really suit some people. For me however these shades are too ashy and muddy and they give the impression that I have thin lips and I think I look a bit angry (I mean I do have anger issues but I don’t need everyone to know about it). The grey/beige one in particular does nothing for my skin tone and makes me look quite ashen, while the red one on the top right is orange based and too metallic for my liking.

What a difference the right lipstick shade can make

So how do you find the perfect shade of lipstick?

I’ve listed below my top 5 tips for choosing a great shade.

1.Go lipstick shopping with a friend

Take a mate with you who will help you with honest feedback about your lipstick. Sometimes what you think looks terrible actually really suits you, but it might just be out of your comfort zone. Where is where number 2. comes in

2. Step out of your comfort zone

That brown lipstick you’ve been wearing since 1997 is probably fine. But there are a gazillion other colours out there that are probably far more awesome and will make your lips (and confidence) totally POP. Go for it, try something new, something bold, something totally fab.

3. Pick a shade that suits your skin tone and undertone

There are lots of rules around picking a shade for your skin tone, most of which I ignore. But if you’re interested, here you go. Essentially everyone will have a pink or yellow undertone, although lots of us are neutral too (like I am). The way to find out is to look at the veins on your wrist. If they look blue you have pink (cool) undertone and if they look green you have yellow (warm) undertone. If you can’t tell you are likely to be neutral.  Basic rule is if you are warm toned you go for yellow-based colours (think orange, marsala, nude, coral) and if you’re cool, go for blue-based colours (think hot pink, cherry red).

Fair complexions look great in bolder brights like corals and hot pinks but just watch they don’t appear too purple or too yellow. Avoid ashy or muddy colours or colours that are too pale. Olive skins are more neutral so you can get away with most shades of nude, pink, orange or red, especially with a brown base.

4.  Take photos

It’s often interesting when I do makeup selfies or see myself in photos how different my lipstick can look. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see what I think is a great colour and then afterwards I realise it doesn’t look so hot. This post actually came about because I was looking at some pics from an event and wasn’t too pleased with what I saw. I had had my makeup done was wearing a really browny orange lip colour and it did my no favours, in fact made made me look quite lip-challenged.

5. Ignore everything and wear what you love

Most of the time I find the colours I love are actually the ones that look the best. But sometimes I wear a colour because I bloody love it, it might be a real ‘now’ colour or seasonal or match my outfit or whatever and I feel totally kick-arse. So at the end of the day who gives a shit, as long as you love it that’s all that matters.

If you’re into lippie, head over and read some more stuff I’ve written:

Written By

Gillian is a marketing savant and brand strategist with over 20 years of experience in above and below the line marketing, digital strategy and creative direction. She is an exceptional people person who loves to collaborate with clients every step of the way to achieve the best possible outcome. Gillian is also a successful makeup-artist and make-up obsessive who loves to share her tricks of the trade and help women to look good and feel great.

1 Comment

  • I am obsessed with creamy liquid lipsticks right now! I own 5 of the Maybelline ones! I am still in search of a really great, bold red. I am a bit disappointed that they don’t seem to do it in the liquid that I like so I’m going to have to keep searching! My usual rule of thumb is to go with warm tones – I know they suit my naturally tanned skin! Once you know whether you’re good with warm or cold tones, that’s most of the battle I think!

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