If it sounds like a hyperbole to say that a bold lip is everything, perhaps you just haven’t yet found the right red (or fuchsia, or coral, etc.). Granted, finding one that perfectly perks up your skintone—there’s more to it than just fair, medium or dark—isn’t the easiest task, so this is where you let the experts do their thing. NARS Makeup Stylist Jake Broullard suggests testing lip shades on the lightest part of your forearm, where your natural undertones show through, and blending and mixing a few shades together for a custom finish. Although certain shades “pop” on different skin tones, he says there’s no rule about what looks best: If you feel beautiful, go with it!
1Your Skintone: Fair Cool
Dior makeup artist Ricky Wilson says a blue-based pink will add vibrancy without contrasting the color of the skin.
2Your Skintone: Fair Warm
An orange-based red or dark coral is perfect with the golden-yellow tones in warm skin. Wilson’s secret to a flawless application: Start by building the color in the center of the bottom lip, where the color tends to rub off first, and work your way out to the corners.
One to Try: Dior Addict Extreme in Délice Extreme, $31
3Your Skintone: Medium Cool
Broullard says that bright brick reds and true reds can be your staples, since they quickly brighten this skintone. He suggests prepping with a bit of foundation or concealer to help mute discoloration around the mouth, making the lip color really pop.
One to Try: Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, $25
4Your Skintone: Medium Golden
Broullard is all about shocking corals that he swears “are stunning against medium, golden complexions.”
5Your Skintone: Olive
Wilson says to pass on all blue-based shades, which can clash with your complexion, and reach for an orangey-red instead. He likes to use a matching lip liner for a bold, precise appearance.
6Your Skintone: Dark Cool
Broullard reaches for deep grape and berry tones to give depth to dark cool skin tones.
One to Try: Clarins Rouge Éclat in True Aubergine, $26
7Your Skintone: Dark Warm
Go as wild and crazy as you want, you lucky girls! Wilson says shades with a mix of warm and cool undertones add a kick to dark skin; just be sure to use a full-coverage option that will stay true to color even on more naturally pigmented lips.