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Lip Color Tips & Tricks:
Choosing & Applying Lipstick, Gloss & Liner Products


The best lipsticks are long-lasting, perfectly colored and made with ingredients that enhance not only your look but the health of your lips as well. The best lip looks rely on knowing the best colors for your skin. Use these lip tips to keep your makeup beautiful and your lips smooth and soft.

Basic Lip Care: Smooth Lips Help Lipstick Look Better
If your lips are chapped or dry, lipstick will go on unevenly and fade away fast. Tiny lines around the mouth can trap color, causing lipstick to "bleed"—never a good look! Use a soothing lip treatment or lip balm to moisturize and heal your lips, providing a smooth base for your lip color. Look for calming lip treatment with essential oil of sweet marjoram, lavender, and tarragon, which goes on with a warm tingle and promotes healing. With soft, beautiful lips, your lip color will look and feel better than ever!

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Choosing Lip Color: What Tone is Right for Your Skin?

One of the biggest makeup challenges is choosing the right lip color. Some women vary their lipstick in accordance with their wardrobe—a big no-no, since your lipstick is supposed to complement your skin tones!

It's not hard to choose lipstick colors once you know one simple fact. All you need to know is whether your skin tones are "warm" or "cool". It's not about how dark or light you are, or even about your hair or eye color, but what the undertone of your skin is—is it bluish (cool) or yellowish (warm)? Everyone is either warm or cool and it's all about your facial coloring: blondes, brunettes and redheads can be either one.

How to Find Your Skin's Cool or Warm Undertone

So how can you tell if you aren't sure? Dig through your makeup bag and find just two shades of any kind of makeup—lip color, eye shadow or blush. Find one color that is orange or rust and another that is pink or lavender. Rub one color on the apple of your cheek and the other color on the apple of the other cheek and then compare. Does one look more "right" than the other? Does one look garish or just wrong? The color that works will show you your skin tone. If the orange color looks right, you have warm tones; if the pink color looks right, you are cool.

Now that you know your skin tone, you are free to choose any lip color in that color family. But that doesn't mean you'll only wear one lipstick shade: you still have plenty to choose from! Take a look at this list of potential lip shades for either coloring:

Warm Colors
Coral, Peachy, Russet, Rust, Amber, Brown, Brick Red, Melon, Salmon, Orange, Sandalwood, Red with yellow undertone, Taupe

Cool Colors
Pink, Raspberry, Cherry, Mulberry, Lavender, Plum, Rose, Strawberry, Crimson, Amethyst, Lilac, Red with blue undertone, Mauve

As you can see, the color names associated with warm and cool tones tend to fall into two groups. The warm tones tend to be earthy, woodsy, with only a couple of fruit names (peach and melon). Cool tones tend to contain the names of berries, which are often shades of pink or purple or reds with blue undertones. Warm and cool women can both wear red lipstick, but the "true red" tend to be bluish, so warm women should look for reds with a slight leaning towards brown or orange. Once you understand your skin tone, the trick is not to fall for a pretty name when the shade doesn't flatter your skin. Lipstick makers know that a lush name, reminiscent of flowers or jewels or romance, can sell a lipstick even when the color looks terrible on most women. So beware!

Lip Liner: Apply Before Lipstick to Enhance Lip Shape
While you don't want to stray too far from the natural shape of your mouth, lip pencils can add clean definition while subtly but powerfully redefining your mouth. Drawn just outside your natural lip line, lip pencil adds fullness; drawn just on the inside, your lips appear slightly thinner.

Want to achieve a luscious pout? Add fullness to the bottom lip with a lip pencil two shades lighter than the one you use on your upper lip.

Love the Julia Roberts look? Soften and enhance your upper lip line by drawing with your lip pencil in a heavy stroke, then smudge ever-so-slightly upwards with the end of your pinkie. Blot, then apply your lipstick to the edge of the original line.

For total freedom in lip color, make sure you have lip liner pencils in several colors. One lip pencil just can't cut it: you'll want to use slightly lighter or darker lip pencils to create the illusion of fullness or to slightly thin out heavier lips.

Lip Gloss Should Add Fun and Shine...Not Goop!

You can't buy lip gloss from a drugstore—unless you want a gloppy, sticky, slimy mess, perhaps adorned with little bits of sharp glitter and a heavy bubble-gum scent. Store brands can have lots of confusing ingredients, but we have decoded the makeup terms for their true meaning. Perfect for 'tweens, lip gloss for grown-ups should add subtle shine and color. But the best lip glosses do more than shine you up: they add essential organic oils like tangerine, clove, peppermint, lavender, vanilla, grapefruit and rose. Essential oils not only add health to your lips: their natural scents create instant aromatherapy when applied to the lips. Vanilla and peppermint have been shown to increase happy feelings; grapefruit and tangerine give you a boost of energy; rose and lavender are perfect for calming and soothing stressed nerves. Lip gloss with essential oils that does more than make you look wonderful: it makes you feel wonderful too!

Warm and cool shades apply to your lip gloss choices as they do your lipsticks. Choose colors one shade lighter or darker than your favorite lipsticks for an extra layer of light-loving color, or wear them alone for a natural, pretty look.

How to Buy Lip Color on a Budget

Want to maximize your lip color wardrobe? Choose your lipsticks first, then add lip pencils one shade darker than each lipstick, and finish by picking lip glosses one shade lighter than each lipstick. Make sure your lip pencils, lipsticks and glosses are all from the same color family that matches your skin tone. Don't forget a calming lip treatment to protect and smooth no matter which colors you wear!

Change Your Lipstick Color from Day to Evening

Your daily lip color should be more muted than your night-time look, but we often dash from work to an evening out without returning home. With a small, portable lip palette, you can bring a daytime and a nighttime shade along with complementary lip pencils with no extra hassle—they fit into your purse! Take along a miniature compact with your daily shade, and add a second, more dramatic color alongside it. Or wear a gloss for day and add a lipstick for night. When you're getting ready for the evening, your glammed-up lip color will be right—and right where you need it.



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