How To Choose The Right Lipstick Colour For You

How To Choose The Right Lipstick Colour For You

By Em-J Williams, celebrity make-up artist 
See more of Em-J's work on Instagram  & on  

One of my favourite quotes is, “Give a woman the right lipstick and she can conquer the world”. There really is so much truth behind this quote. When we feel like we look good, we stand taller, we make more eye contact, we wear a smile on our face and we radiate confidence. There is so much power in make-up.  

In 15 years as a celebrity make-up artist, I have worked on thousands of faces with varying skin types, colours and undertones … learning a lot along the way and working out what looks beautiful and what doesn’t work! 

I am always being asked how to find the perfect lipstick to suit skin tones. So here I am today, your own personal make-up artist to help find the perfect lipstick for you and your skin tone.  

The Basics: your skin undertone

When it comes to finding the perfect lipstick, the first thing to work out is your skin undertone. There are three main undertones – warm, cool and neutral – and different shades bring out the best in each.  

Let me make it easy for you. Here are a few ways to work it out… 

  • Tanning 
    Do you tan effortlessly? Or start to burn after just 30 mins in the sun? Warmer skin tones tend to tan quickly and easily, neutral skin tones tend to tan softly and slowly, and cool skin tones struggle to tan at all and are more likely to burn easily. 
  • Jewellery  
    Are you more drawn to gold or silver jewellery? If you find gold more flattering, you are likely to have more of a warm skin tone. If you feel best wearing silver, you are perhaps cool toned. If you can fluctuate easily, or are drawn more to rose gold, then you may well be neutral.  
  • Vein colour  
    Take a look at your wrists where veins are visible through the skin. If your veins appear greener through your skin, you likely have more of a warm skin tone and if your veins appear blue/purple, you are probably neutral or cool.  
  • White clothing 
    Wearing white can help you figure it out! When you are wearing white, it starts us off with a blank canvas.  You should be able to see whether you have more warm tones in your skin, with hints of olive, or cooler, with more pinky tones, to your skin against the white. If you feel more comfortable in an off white/pale cream top over white, then this could also be a good sign that you have warm undertones.  

(Pictured: Honeysuckle, Dahlia, Mallow, Tulip, Poppy, and Snapdragon)

Now you know your skin tone, let’s find the perfect lipstick for you and your skin tone! 

The general rule to finding a flattering lipstick colour is to work with the tones already in your skin. Just a note: I have a neutral skin tone, so most of the shades below suit me. 

It’s actually very simple… 

Lipsticks for warm skin tones

You can wear any colour - red, pinks, berries or nudes - but shades that have warm undertones (orange, red, peach) will work best to complement your natural beauty. Try: 

Honeysuckle Dahlia Hibiscus


Lipstick for cool skin tones

If you have a cool skin tone, then cooler tone lipsticks will be very flattering on you. This can also be pink, red, brown, nude, whatever colour you like, as long as it has more blue or purple undertones.   

Mallow Tulip

Lipstick for neutral skin tones

If you’re looking for lipstick for neutral undertones, then you have a few more options to play with. Most of the time you should suit either warm or cool lipsticks, as well as more neutral shades. Lucky you!

Poppy Snapdragon


So, this is the general rule: 

  • warm skin tone = warm lipstick 

  • cool skin tone = cool lipstick 

  • neutral skin tone = either.  

When you stick to shades in your undertone, your lipstick will be beautiful and look like it’s made for you. However: make-up should be fun and is made to be experimented with, so please take this advice as guidance but absolutely not the gospel.   

We would LOVE to see you wearing the new Ethique lipsticks, make sure you tag @ethiqueworld and myself @emjedit so we can see you and your perfect lipstick, 

Love & Lippy, Em-J