The Ultimate Lipstick Guide for Skin Tones
Published January 06, 2023
It’s common practice to wear clothes with colors that complement each other.
For instance, if you’re wearing black pants, an orange top would be an excellent match since black and orange are known to complement each other. The same concept applies to lipstick.
Lipstick comes in various shades, and each shade is complementary to specific skin tones. So, as eager as you are to advertise a specific lipstick product, it may not be suitable for your customer’s skin tone. But how do you know if lipstick complements an individual’s skin tone?
To start with, you need to understand the concept of skin tones.
Understanding Skin Tones
Skin tones refer to your surface skin color. It determines how dark or light you look, and if we get more scientific, it’s what determines the amount of melanin in your skin’s uppermost layer.
There are four types of skin tones, namely: (1) light/fair, (2) medium, (3) olive/tan, and (4) dark/deep. You can pretty much guess how each type of skin tone differs from their names alone. Since it’s mostly about color, it’s relatively easy to identify a person’s skin tone.
How To Identify Skin Tone
Here’s the most advisable method to identify one’s skin tones:
- Wash the face, particularly the jawlines.
- Go to an area where there is natural sunlight.
- Examine the person’s jawline and see if it’s light, fair, medium, or dark in color.
The skin doesn’t have a single color all throughout.
Some parts will be lighter or darker than others. As such, it can be difficult to determine a person’s true skin tone as you may examine an area that’s affected by these skin color changes.
Your jawline is the best place to examine to determine one’s skin tone, mostly because it’s not as affected by these skin color changes. Hence, its color will be a more accurate representation of one’s true skin tone. Apart from the skin tone, you also need to identify the person’s undertones.
Understanding Skin Undertones
The term “undertones” refer to the natural color or pigment underneath the skin’s surface, hence the name. There are generally three types of skin undertones: warm, cold, and neutral.
Since it’s not exactly the most noticeable or visible feature of one’s skin, not everyone can identify their undertone with just a single glance at a mirror. But of course, it’s still possible.
How To Identify Skin Undertones
To help identify one’s skin undertones, experts have come up with a set of rules that will allow you to determine which of the three undertones you have. Let’s take a look at these rules.
- A person’s undertone is cool if their veins are bluish. Those with cool undertones are also susceptible to burning while under the sun and may find it particularly difficult to tan.
Most cool undertone individuals have a bluish, reddish, or pinkish hue to their skin. Fair-skinned individuals typically have cool undertones, but it’s not exclusive to them.
- A person’s undertone is warm if their veins are greenish. Those with warm undertones can withstand high temperatures without burning, and they would find it easy to tan.
Most warm undertone individuals have an olive, yellowish, or golden hue to their skin. Dark-skinned individuals typically have warm undertones, but it’s not reserved for them.
- A person’s undertone is neutral if their veins are neither completely bluish nor greenish but a combination of the two. Neutral undertone individuals also feature hues that are the combination of two colors from both groups, like a mix of pink and yellow, for instance.
Those with neutral undertones aren’t particularly susceptible or resistant to burning.
Using these pieces of information, you should be able to easily identify your customer’s skin undertones through various tests. For example, they can sit under the sun for a few minutes.
If their skin burns easily, they have cool undertones. If their skin is burning decently, they likely have neutral undertones. And if their skin doesn’t react at all, they have warm undertones.
At this point, you now have all the information you need to determine the lipstick shade that perfectly matches your customer’s skin tones. All that’s left is to use that information.
Lipstick Shade to Skin Tones: Which Matches Which?
Though nothing is stopping your customers from choosing any lipstick shade, there’s no denying that certain shades are an objectively better match to their specific skin tones. In that regard, here’s a list of lipstick shades that should be a perfect match for each type of skin tone:
Light or Fair
Coral, peach, beige, pink, and nude lipstick shades are generally great matches for light or fair skin. However, pale pink or peachy nude are particularly great matches for those with warm undertones. Meanwhile, nude and soft mocha shades are great for cool undertones.
Shades of mauve, berry and rose are all great for medium-skinned individuals.
Copper and bronze shades are great specifically for those with warm undertones, while shades of cranberry and pink are more suitable for those with cool undertones.
Olive or Tan
Any lipstick shade with an orange undertone should be an excellent match for olive-skinned or tan individuals. On the flip side, lipsticks with a shade of purple or brown will be a terrible match.
That goes for both those with warm and cool undertones.
Dark or Deep
Purples and browns are the most recommended for those with dark or deep skin. Shades like plum, caramel, wine, and walnut seem to be the best fit. Ruby and wine with a shade of red are particularly great for cool undertones, while copper and bronze are suitable for warm undertones.
If the customer has neutral undertones, any shade should match them just fine.
Keep in mind that the suggestions above are only suggestions.
You can experiment with the different lipstick shades as you provide salon services to your customers. But if you want to play safe, these suggestions should at least have decent results.
Also, apart from relying on the customer’s skin tone, there are other useful tips when deciding on a lipstick shade. You can, for instance, refer to a natural lip color chart from the internet.
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