We Found Over 10 Lipstick Shades That Flatter Every Skin Tone—Here's How to Apply Them and Make Them Last
A stroke of pretty lip color is instantly uplifting—and now finding your shade is a joy, too. We asked makeup artists for picks that truly flatter everyone, and their picks share an important quality: They all have cool undertones, which look great on every complexion and create the illusion of whiter teeth. Options like Maybelline Color Sensational Cream Finish Lipstick in Blissful Berry ($6, target.com), Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Cherries in the Snow ($8, walgreens.com), and Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick in Original ($34, nordstrom.com) are universal. But before you dig into sourcing new products, evaluate what you already have; while it is hard to part with a beloved lipstick, they do expire. Look for an opened-jar icon on the packaging or the bottom of the tube, and note the number inside (it's usually around 12): That's how many months it'll stay fresh after the first twist. When you're through discarding old formulas, discover more ultra-flattering hues, below—plus, we have tips on how to apply them to chic, lasting effect.
Always make sure your lips are well moisturized. Any emollient balm is fine, but for quick absorption, New York City makeup artist Jamie Dorman likes vitamin E-enriched Lys Beauty Speak Love Glossy Lip Treatment Oil ($12, sephora.com). Blot off any excess with a tissue to prevent the color from smearing when you apply it. If your lips are rough or really dry, simply rub them with a damp washcloth or a mild exfoliator; Hanalei Sugar Lip Scrubs ($25, verishop.com) loughs with dissolvable sugars.
Find a New Favorite
Choose the color family that catches your eye, then select a level of coverage you're comfortable with—from sheer, subtle glosses to dramatic colors and stains.
Sheer Pink: Chantecaille
Chantecaille's Brilliant Gloss has tiny gold flecks that create subtle shimmer.
Shop Now: Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss in Love, $38, bloomingdales.com.
Medium Pink: Clé de Peau
The lighter-than-it-looks pink of Clé de Peau Radiant Liquid Rouge Shine's Sugar Jelly stays put.
Shop Now: Clé de Peau Radiant Liquid Rouge Shine in Sugar Jelly, $50, amazon.com.
Full Pink: Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Vinyl Cream in Explicit Pink is a hot magenta with hydrating ceramides.
Shop Now: Yves Saint Laurent Vinyl Cream in Explicit Pink, $36, amazon.com.
Sheer Red: Tower 28
Your gateway to more dramatic reds: Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Gloss in Spicy.
Shop Now: Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Gloss in Spicy, $14, credobeauty.com.
Medium Red: Honest Beauty
Honest Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Blood Orange builds up beautifully as you reapply it.
Shop Now: Honest Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Blood Orange, $9, target.com.
Full Red: Dior
Dior Rouge Dior in #999 Satin: that French-girl shade that looks effortless with a white tee or a dressy blouse.
Shop Now: Dior Rouge Dior in #999 Satin, $38, sephora.com.
Sheer Berry: Kari Gran
Kari Gran Lip Whip in Jeannie deepens your natural lip color as it nourishes.
Shop Now: Kari Gran Lip Whip in Jeannie, $24, saksfifthavenue.com.
Medium Berry: Nars
One coat of Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Never Say Never imparts a gorgeous orchid tint.
Shop Now: Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Never Say Never, $27, narscosmetics.com.
Full Berry: Trish McEvoy
The rosy undertones of Trish McEvoy Veil Lip Color in Darling Plum take the edge off the intense pigments.
Shop Now: Trish McEvoy Veil Lip Color, in Darling Plum, $30, neimanmarcus.com.
And if pinks, reds, and berries don't speak to you? The right nude looks natural yet polished—like you, with a little oomph. The trick is to hold bullets close to your smile in a mirror to find a seamless match to your lip color, says Nashville, Tennessee, makeup artist Claire Balest. If you have fair skin, try Burt's Bees Glossy Lipstick in Peony Dew ($9, amazon.com). Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Angel enhances medium tones ($29, macys.com). And Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk Medium works well on deep complexions ($34, sephora.com). For just subtle shine and warmth on any skin tone, consider L'Oréal Infallible Pro Gloss Plump,in Lucid Glow ($10, walgreens.com) and Minori Lip Gloss in Cozy ($22, minoribeauty.com).
Make It Last
Sheer shades fade evenly and are easy to reapply, but giving solid colors staying power (and preventing patchiness over time) call for a bit of strategy. Use clean fingertips to press bold hues onto your lips for a stained effect, says Balest. Or make it matte with a light dusting of translucent powder on top, suggests Dorman. To amp up color at the first sign of fading, swipe on a hydrating balm.
Styling by Elizabeth Press