The Fashion Spot Momtastic

Choosing a Lipstick Shade Is NOT Rocket Science: How a little research helped me hone in on the perfect, go-to hue

Total Beauty

Posted 07/21/10 at 04:54PM by Total Beauty

Raise your hand if you're overwhelmed by the dizzying number of lipstick shades out there. Raise your hand if you haven't got the foggiest idea which of the dizzying number of lipstick shades out there would look good on you.

Put your hands down. Whoops. Sorry. Simon says, "put your hands down."

If you're like me, your hands were way up for both of those queries. I mean, seriously, perusing the rainbow of colors available to "flatter" ones lips and contemplating the one that will work on me makes me think a Valium drip would be nice. And, don't even talk to me about hitting a department store beauty counter for advice -- the last time I did that I walked away more confused -- and $350 poorer.

So, what do I do? Buy a whole bunch of lip products that sit in my drawer and opt to wear Carmex (or if I'm feeling really adventurous, sheer gloss) instead.

The other day, realizing, with some shame, that I'm an otherwise capable, fully grown woman, I vowed to get to the bottom of this color conundrum once and for all and figure out which shades would "do me justice."

To get "Operation Lip Color" underway, I did some research and here's what I found:

Tip 1: You want to look for hues that are a shade or two darker than your natural lips -- if natural is what you're going for.

Tip 2: A good rule of thumb is that pale-skinned women should stick with natural beige tones, nudes, light pinks and corals. Medium skin tones look good in mauve, berry and spicy brown hues, and darker girls should go with plums, oranges and reds. For more hand-holding or if you want a more in-depth color analysis, check out this cool color finder that, in addition to lip color, will show you the best shades of eyeshadow, blush and even hair color for every skin tone.

Empowered by my new knowledge, I couldn't wait to hit my local drugstore and snatch up several berry and spicy caramel shades.

Believe it or not, the experience did not require a sedative. I found two awesome lip glosses for day (CoverGirl Outlast Double Lip Shine in Sleek Suede and Rose Quartz, $9.29) and, for night, a stain that will stay put -- so I won't have to keep applying it over and over again. (I went with CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain in Wild Berry Wink and Cinnamon Smile, $7.99.)

What do you know? I conquered my fear, learned something new and improved my makeup look all in one simple step.

Now, if I could just figure out what color I want my hair to be ...
And the survey says...
1-6 of 8 Comments

  • Posted by EricaC123 on 04/13/13 at 01:29pm

    helpful, thanks!

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  • Posted by powerwoman033 on 03/13/12 at 11:36pm

    I stick with a nude lip or gloss and play with my eyes.

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  • Posted by Nicole2814 on 01/29/12 at 06:14pm


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  • Posted by taryn.romero on 10/18/11 at 06:27am

    I love playing with all the great colors out there. The good thing about gloss is that it's usually pretty sheer so that if you don't like it you can always layer something else over it to modify it a bit.

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  • Posted by LipglossandSpandex on 07/15/11 at 08:21pm

    This is pretty helpful, although I feel like you can pull off just about any shade of lipstick if the rest of your makeup look "works." But if you're going for a natural-ish look, with neutral shadow and blush, then this is good advice.

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  • Posted by lea_m_gibson on 04/22/11 at 04:54pm


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