Lip color has come a long, long way throughout history.

Anthropologists once found pots of red oxide of iron at ancient Sumerian and Egyptian sites—believed to be red lip color—and today we have thousands and thousands of formulas to choose from.

But where’s a gal to start? Well for starters, classic lipsticks come in a variety of matte, shimmery or sheer formulas, all in a rainbow of shades, depending on how bold you really want to go.

COLUMN: Embrace Bright Lipstick

For those who want a more playful or flirty look, a light gloss with a little pigment can be the better option. If you work in a conservative office or prefer muted, polished looks, try filling in your lips with a matte lip pencil.

And for those times you want a lot of knockout pigment? Try a long-wearing lip stain that packs a punch. Just like cheek stains, lip stains are a great way to get natural-looking color-payoff, without having to reapply over and over.

Picking the best formula for you depends on your lip shape. For fuller lips, opt for a medium-to-deep shade of lipstick, says makeup expert Jose Rivera, but avoid ultra-shiny glosses that accentuate the fullness too much.

Have thinner lips? Stick to matte formulas or lip pencils that sculpt the lips into a shape that looks slightly larger, and then apply a touch of lip gloss in the center. Play around with colors to find what suits you best, but in general, avoid super-dark shades that can make lips look even thinner. Rosy pinks and shiny peaches are usually your best bet.

DISCUSS: What’s everyone’s favorite red lipstick?

As for color, take a cue from your skintone. Red lipstick might be the most classic lip color (i.e., 1,500 tubes selling every minute!), but there are loads of other hues out there with which to experiment.Fair-skinned beauties look great with softer petal, nude and peachy shades, says makeup expert Jose Rivera. Medium skintones are gorgeous with dark rose, pink brown and apricot hues.Berry, bronze and coral lip colors look striking on golden-tan skin—whether its natural or your summer fake-bake. For very dark skin, wine and chocolate shades look drop-dead gorgeous.You can test and play with any colors you want of course (which is half the fun and freedom of makeup!), but just keep your natural skintones in mind as you do. You want the most flattering colors for you!

We recommend:Clinique Full Potential Lips Plump and Shine in Cream Soda, $18L’Oreal Paris Infallible Le Rouge in Enduring Berry, $10Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Bettina, $24