It’s nice to wear lipstick, perhaps not everyday, but when you want to look a bit more obvious. It can pull an outfit together. And it draws attention to your face, which is important. All this discussion about clothes and body shape – the most important part of your look, the part humans are fascinated with from birth, is your face.
Yet choosing the right shade can be very difficult.
One of reasons is that putting colour on the back of your hand doesn’t really help. We do it because we have seen people do it from time immemorial, but all it does is make your hand stained and sticky. Not nice. The only way to select a lipstick that suits you is to try it on – on your lips. This however is a health hazard. If you pick up a tester lipstick at a station or your local Boots, and put it on your lips (and often they don’t provide a mirror to discourage this rather disgusting habit) the best you can without seeing what you are doing, germs-wise it’s like kissing a total stranger.
The alternative is to go to a good department store where the assistants are trained and ask for help. I would recommend MAC, but you may have alternative brands that you like. Certainly they should sterilise the stick of lipstick before you try it. The assistant will offer her view, which may or may not be reliable. She gets commission, remember. But some are very good, and honest and I have had good experiences with MAC. Then go for a walk and see if you like what it does for you. Look in mirrors for the rest of the day. In addition try and gauge other people’s reaction to you. You might find everyone staring at you and you will have to decide for yourself if this is in a good way or not.
It maybe easier to start with thinking about what colours are most likely to suit you. My advice is to determine your personal colour direction first. You may need help from a colour analyst, or maybe you can use rely on a book, or your own eye. The six primary colour directions already introduced on this blog can be your guide to choosing a good lipstick. The shades here are just indicative – you will find lots of similar shades in your favourite brand. But always try the colours on because lipstick sits right in the middle of your face and it has to work for you, and you have to feel comfortable with it, or you won’t wear it.
These are the most saturated shades, including the strongest (not necessarily the brightest) reds, and can include wine-like and beetroot juice colours as well. You can wear the matt colours if you want a really dramatic look.
For people with light colouring the lipsticks need to be diluted – light reds, reds diluted with quite a lot of water. Imagine a few drops of red ink in a beaker, or watered down Baby Ribena or cranberry juice. Look at the sheer lipsticks or lip glosses.
Look for lipstick colours – pinks and reds – that have a blue undertone. You can go as light or deep as you feel suits your overall look.
Look for orangey-reds, or the oranges and peaches that are available. Go lighter or deeper depending on your secondary colour direction.
If you have a bright colour direction can and should wear lipstick often. They can choose the brighter reds, oranges and pink, depending on their secondary direction. “Brights” can choose the true, pure reds – falling precisely between orange-red and purple-red – pillar-box red. This red is clear and unsullied by grey or white. It sings.
Muted reds and pinks are the toned-down reds and pinks – they can also be a little bit browny, or purpley.
Lipstick can really help us feel glamorous, which is why it is perfect for evening and occasion wear. Not everyone wants to look to “out there” with their everyday make up. If in doubt look at the colour just inside your lips, where the skin is wetter. This will be a good colour for you – and you can wear a shade that looks like you, but just a bit more even. This would be my default position on day time lipstick. Or try a gloss or sheer version of one of your colours. An obvious lip-liner line is old-fashioned and ageing, although for older women it can help prevent your colour “bleeding” into any lines you may have. On its own, used over the whole lip, it can provide a subtle, matt look that lasts.