Whether it’s the sheerest nude-beige, brightest matte red or darkest plum, lip color is the most wearable beauty trend to emerge from fashion’s spring runways. A bright new lipstick will most certainly perk up any wardrobe—plus it’s far more affordable and convenient than a new pair of shoes. Thanks to the variety of important lip colors for this season, there really is a shade that suits everyone—just follow our guide to choosing and wearing a new color to find out what fits you the best.
The first step in choosing a new color is to be a little experimental. Although there are many factors to consider—eye color, complexion, hair color, even clothing—just try relying on natural instinct. Spend a few minutes at a local cosmetics counter to really study the lip colors in person and learn about different finishes such as matte and sheer. Bear in mind that lip color can look drastically different once applied, so remember that it’s crucial to test both compatibility and texture before making a final decision. Once you’ve made your selections, apply each shade to the backs of your fingers and hold each one slightly in front of your mouth while looking in the mirror.
Regardless of existing trends, it can be somewhat of a challenge to choose a new lip color—particularly if you are new to wearing lipstick at all. The best approach to avoid color-change-shock is to try the new shade for one day, which will allow you time to adjust to the look and to ideally receive feedback from those who know you. An unexpected and honest reaction is often the best opinion.
As far as the latest lip color trends go, it’s important to remember that certain looks denote a certain style. Remember to keep color, cosmetics and clothing in practical harmony so as not to end up looking overly eclectic or trend-seeking.
Sheer shades can be the simplest way to ease into wearing a new color, since they are much less opaque than a matte or satin finish. Available in forms from transparent tinted balms to vibrant, shimmery veils and in colors that range from the barest flesh-tones to much deeper, darker shades, it’s easy to find one that feels right for you. A well-equipped make-up wardrobe should include several shades of sheer lip color as it is great for layering over other colors or can stand alone as a polished minimalist look.
Pale lips look best when combined with a stronger and more graphic eye. Smokey or simply lined eyes will definitely be compatible with this look—try using a kohl pencil on the inner, lower rim of the lash-line along with a good coating of black mascara for an understated yet sultry look. Blush, meanwhile, should be soft and subtle, perhaps in a light pink or peach shade. For a more modern approach to wearing pale lip color, stick to simplicity with a soft, dewy-skinned look and only a light coating of mascara. Finish either way by brushing up the brows with a bit of gel for a perfectly fresh expression of beauty.
Red lips have always been classic and chic, but the look also serves as the perfect accent to the current minimal “well-scrubbed” face. Generally, eye make-up with red lips should be kept to a minimum. Black eyeliner offers a good balance, but a more seductive eye in rich tones of beige, brown, grey or even pastels such as aqua or lilac can be extremely complementary as well. Mascara should be neat and clean and perhaps only on the top lash-line, while brows must be well groomed and blush kept to a minimum in a subtle rosy color applied on the apples of the cheeks.
Like red, darker more intense lip color also looks great as the focus for a modern, minimal face, but can also be balanced by a more dramatic eye. Metallic eye shadows look beautiful when paired with a deep lip color, as do brighter colors—all topped with a good coating of mascara. Select a vibrant blush shade for contouring the cheekbone with the more dramatic eye or no blush at all for the more minimal. Eyebrows can also be defined but not overly exaggerated with definition—and a truly adventurous fashionista might even combine dark lips with a bleached eyebrow.
Final Note: Always be certain when you try on a lip color at a counter that it has been properly sanitized—never take a tube from a tester unit and apply it directly on your lips. Ask the sales associate for a clean or disposable spatula to scrape off a sample of the color and also for a sterilized or disposable lip brush to apply it with.