Party-Season Lip Shades For Every Skin Tone
Party-Season Lip Shades For Every Skin Tone

Party-Season Lip Shades For Every Skin Tone

Party season inevitably means a statement lip and with so many great shades, finishes and textures on offer, there really is something for everyone. Here’s how to find the shades that will work for you…
By Georgia Day

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.


How To Define Your Undertone

Working out the spectrum of colours within your own skin is as good a place to start as any. You’ll know you have a cool undertone if the veins on your wrist are mostly blue and your skin has a pinkish, red or blue hue to it. If you have a warm undertone, your veins will probably look green, and your skin will have a yellow, golden or olive hue to it. Those with neutral undertones will usually have a mix of blue and green veins, as well as both pink and yellow tones to their skin. With all that said, the most important thing to remember is there are no hard and fast rules; wear what you love and what makes you feel good.

The Best Products For Cool Undertones

Whether your skin colour is pale, medium or deep, the rule of thumb is to stick to shades that have complementary tones. A bold red is a classic look and some of the most striking around are those with a bluish hue – perfect for cool skin tones. Look out for cherry or berry-based reds and opt for a satin finish if you want something comfortable enough wear all night. Max Factor’s Colour Elixir Lipstick in ‘Ruby Tuesday is just about as perfect a shade of red as you can imagine and is a great option for those with fair skin, while the ‘Dora Milaje shade from M·A·C’s Black Panther collection is a slightly deeper, earthier red with a more matte finish. If nudes are your comfort zone, look for something with some pink in it and avoid anything too beige or yellow as it will wash you out. If you’re not sure, stick to a shade or two darker than your own lip colour. Vieve’s 90s-inspired Modern Matte Lipstick in ‘Ninetease is a cool-toned nude that’s the perfect foil for everything from dramatic smokey eyes to a more low-key daytime face.  

For darker skin shades, Bobbi Brown’s Luxe Lipstick in ‘Bond is a rich plum-coloured brown with subtle hints of lilac. Although you might dismiss pink lips as summery, the right shade can be a playful alternative to the traditional red lip and black liner Christmas party duo. If you have cool undertones and are feeling bold, bright pink is the way to go. Violette’s Petal Bouche Matte in ‘Coeur Infidèle is a juicy fuchsia with a velvety texture that looks vibrant on every skin shade. For a more understated finish, Elizabeth Arden’s Lip Colour Lipstick in ‘Virtuous Rose is a pretty but less in-your-face mauve-based pink.

The Best Products For Warm Undertones

Skin that has a warm base looks good with lip colours on the warmer side too, so think oranges, reds and browns, while anything with a hint of metallic, such as Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque in ‘Rouge Ombré, is a glitzy option for party season. Wintry nights are the perfect opportunity to venture into darker shades. Keep it chic by choosing something with lustre that will add dimension to your face. Hourglass’ latest must-try, the Phantom Volumizing Glossy Balm, is a game-changing formula that fuses the comfort of a balm with the proper glass shine of a gloss, as well as giving you decent colour payoff. ‘Lure is a beautiful vinyl-coated burgundy shade. For something with a bit more pigment, Victoria Beckham Beauty’s Posh Gloss in ‘Top Down is a creamy cocoa that lacquers lips in real reflective shine. Finding the right neutral can be tricky, but those with warm undertones will find solace in peach or golden tones. NARS’ limited-edition Starstruck Audacious Lipstick in ‘Ava is a gorgeous warm beige that not only wins the prize for the prettiest bullet, but will flatter warmer skins across the board.

The Best Products For Neutral Undertones

If you have neutral tones in your skin, the good news is that pretty much anything goes. The bad? Good luck choosing from the myriad shades out there. To keep it simple, start with three options, a flattering flesh tone, a classic red and then something more daring, whether that’s a bright or dark. Lust: Gloss in ‘Nude Négligée by Pat McGrath Labs is a fool-proof glossy nude that really keeps its shine and looks stunning on the darkest of skin tones, while Code 8’s Glazé Lip Laquers, which come in a range of wearable shades, have plenty of pigment and a glossy finish that feels soft but not tacky. For lots of drama, try ‘Midnight in London, which looks lovely on black and brown skin while ‘Safari is a fun coral that reads slightly differently on everyone, veering from orange to pink depending on your colouring. Finally, for a great all-round red, you can’t go far wrong with YSL’s Rouge Pur Couture The Bold in ‘Rouge Paradoxe. Although the colour is saturated, the texture is thin and lightweight, which makes it incredibly easy to wear. If the thought of any kind of lipstick or gloss still feels like a step into the unknown, then get yourself over to Summer Fridays. Its Lip Butter Balms have just enough sheer pigment to gently coax you into colour but function like an elite lip balm – nourishing, cushioning and giving a beautifully silky sheen.


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