Why I Don’t Believe In All That “Choosing The Right Lipstick Colour” Jazz

Woman Applying Lipstick

© zea_lenanet

As you know, I’m a bit of a magazine junkie. Okay, the word “a bit” is really downplaying it; I love reading mags. When I’m reading a women’s magazine like Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue, etc, the first pages I usually go to are the Beauty pages. Most articles aren’t really anything new that I haven’t heard or read of before but y’know, there’s just something about flipping those glossy pages that make everything seem better.

Yes, I’m a sucker for glossies that way.

However, there are topics that I’m not a big fan of and unfortunately, I stumble upon them quite often. Just the other day, I read an article about “how to choose the right lipstick colour for you” and something about it rubbed me the wrong way. After mulling over it for days, I finally realised why I didn’t like it. I didn’t like how it dictated what colours women should wear.

Watch out, folks, I’m climbing on my soap box now. 😛

You see, I believe in choosing what you like and choosing what looks good on you. In this case, we’re talking about lip colour. Experts can tell you that warm colours suit warm skintones, cool colours suit cool skintones but really, you can cross over. I have very yellow undertones and I love wearing bright cool fuchsia. If I followed the rules, I’d think that I cannot simply wear such a colour because it’s going to clash tremendously with my skin tone.

I started out following the rules. I stuck to warm-toned shades and I thought I was fine with it until I started seeing more and more women sporting fuchsia on their lips. I knew I had to give it a shot. Turns out, it’s now one of my favourite colours to wear.

I believe that women should not be afraid to try out new colours. These are colours that take you out of your comfort zone. It could range from the very light to the very bright and all the way to the very dark.

When you’re at a makeup counter, if a beautiful pop of colour from the lipstick bullet catches your eye, don’t immediately assume you can’t wear it because you’re too young/too old (no such thing)/too yellow/too blue/[insert excuse]. Don’t just swatch it at the back of your hand and think “woah I can’t wear that! No way!“. If you’re at a makeup counter, have the makeup artist or sales assistant apply it on your lips for you. If you’re at Mecca or Sephora, use a disposable wand or cotton bud and apply it on yourself.

You’ll be surprised to find that more often that not, that colour that you thought you could never wear is the colour that looks really good on you. If the colour that is applied on you isn’t your thing, fair enough, remove it and move on. But at least TRY. Don’t pigeonhole yourself to just a small variety of colours because you think they won’t look good on you based on just the swatches on the back of your hand.

On the other hand, if you’re highly uncomfortable with a particular colour, don’t allow the makeup artist or sales assistant to bully you into buying the makeup. Give it a red hot go in store but if you know in an instant that nope, it’s not for you at all, just say no thank you. I once bought a very dark berry shade because the makeup artist wouldn’t stop badgering me. I knew I didn’t look good in it and I really didn’t feel comfortable wearing that colour out. In hindsight, I should have just walked away but you know what they say, hindsight, 20/20, all that jazz.

There’s no one “right lipstick shade” for any one. If you like very dark lip colours, you rock them. If you like colours that may clash with your skin tone but you still look damn good in them, wear them. If the colour scares you, at least try it out. Like they always say (who’s this “they?”) never try, never know! 🙂

If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try. – Seth Godin

Do you wear lip colours or any other sort of makeup that are out of your comfort zone?

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19 comments… add one
  1. Asha

    I agree completely! 4 yrs ago I had one lipstick, ONE! A boring mauvy sort of pink that I wore with absolutely everything. Ironically it was the glossy mags and celebs like Lupita Nyong’o and Rihanna who wore bright bold colors on the red carpet that convinced me that women of color (I HATE that term!) could pull off bright colors too. Now I have more bright colors than you can shake a stick at! 😀

    1. Tine

      Wayne Goss uses the term women of colour often. Personally, I don’t like the term either. What’s a better term for it that most if not all women would be comfortable with?

      Anyway, I digress. Ohh I love bright lips on darker-skinned women. I’ve been pinning up a storm on Pinterest on it. You should see the ones with really glossy, really bright fuchsia shades. SO GORGEOUS.

      1. Asha

        I’m not sure, I think I just hate the fact that that term lumps it together as ‘fair skin’ and ‘everybody else’ while the reality is that there are tons of shades between beige and ebony! Don’t even get me started on how the world of beauty pretty exclusively caters to fair skin and is extremely limiting for anyone south of beige!

        You now have a new Pinterest follower! 🙂

        1. Tine

          Oooh what’s your Pinterest? I’ll check it out and follow back. 😀

          Sigh I know what you mean. It’s bloody frustrating for me to recommend good BB creams to people when there are only 2 shades. Very typical Asian style – thinking that everyone is either a “light” or “medium”. >.<

          1. Asha
  2. Erin

    AMEN. I think “looking good” also sort of comes down to subjectivity and attitude. There have been plenty of colors that I think look shocking on me, but then my boyfriend just says, “hm, yeah, that’s cool!” like it’s no big deal. I really appreciate it because without that little bit of help, I have a tendency to limit myself.
    Erin recently posted..Shiro Cosmetics Blush in 1-Up and Highlighter in CuragaMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh I know what you mean. We are our worst critic. Why is it that us women can’t see what looks good on us, eh? If it wasn’t for my good friends who said that I could pull bright colours off, I would NEVER even touch those sort of shades.

  3. Sam Bear

    I totally agree with you here but I do think that these ‘guides’ are helpful for anyone who is just starting out in the big wide world of lipstick!
    I know when I first started dabbling in makeup (many years ago!) I would stick to the guides and it wasn’t until I was more comfortable with wearing make up that I decided to give anything I fancied a go.
    Also, I find that going with unconventional colours tend to divide my friend’s opinions – someone would go “WHY. This colour is so bright/dull/other dislike.” and someone else will go “I think this looks good on you!” But ultimately, I’ve learnt that the only opinion that counts is YOUR OWN!
    So go forth and conquer those lippies haha
    Sam Bear recently posted..*Review: Jord Watch – ElyMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Yes! Go forth and conquer those lippies! I love that! 😀

  4. gio

    Well said! There were so many shades, like bright reds and darker purples, that I thought I could never pull off because of my pale skin. But when I tried them, they looked really good. Now they are some of my fave shades. And yes, sometimes I come across one that looks awful on me, but if I limited myself to what the “experts” think I should wear, I would have missed out on some great shades.
    gio recently posted..Product Review: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil In SabbathMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I agree G. I too would have missed out on many beautiful shades if I limited myself to what those “experts” think. And to that I ask … who made them experts anyway? 😛

  5. Anita

    Agree!!! I also hate the you should wear this colour this season crap. If I want to rock a bright orange when its the middle of winter I damn well will! 🙂
    Anita recently posted..Loving: Colouring InMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Me too! Come on, burgundy, berry shades? So last season. 😛

      PS: Welcome back and congratulations! xx

  6. Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers

    Totally agree! I love to change up my lippy based on how I’m feeling and how my skin is, I’m fairly pale and always wear sunscreen but when I do get that little bit more colour in summer I make the most of it and go a little bolder! Not that I don’t love a nude lip too.
    Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers recently posted..Ambury Park in AucklandMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hello Toni! Wear bold colours in winter as well. Beat those wintery blues. 😉

  7. Lisa

    For me, I think if I like the shade of lipstick and it makes me happy with what I see in the mirror, then it is a go for me. I was gifted Michael Kors lip lacquer lipstick in the shade Bombshell. It is a lovely fuchsia color. At first I thought no way, but you can apply it lightly or more intense. It has decent wear time and feels great on the lips. It feels smooth like a gloss without the sticky feeling. I find the shade fuchsia looks better when I wear black, navy, or white colored clothing. I also like the shade Dame in Michael Kors which looks like a wash of burgundy, kinda dark cherry on the lips.

    1. Tine

      Fuchsia is such a stunning shade. I’m sure it looks fab on you. I Googled swatches of that Michael Kors lippie you mentioned. It’s gorgeous!

  8. BebeTaian

    I used to follow those guides and couldn’t figure out why everything looked so awful on me. >D I have ‘odd’ skin, I guess. My face tends to look burned all the time, and the rest of my skin is pink or greenish-yellow depending on what I’m looking at. Ah, ‘mixed’ skin. ::sighs:: I’ve found that first I have to level out my whole face with a yellow-toned foundation, then look for lip colour.

    While it’s true that some ‘warm’ spectrum colours work for me, there’s one I can’t abide- and it’s one of my favourites! Peachy-pink, in any shade. So pretty in the bullet! So… awful on me. Ever seen deli-sliced ham go bad? That odd pinky-peach shine it gets? That’s what happens to me. I’ve tried so many brands and shades of the apricot-pale pink range, and they’re all equally awful. Add that to the permanent pink ‘mask’ on my face, and it’s just pork-like. On the other hand, ‘cool’ deep reds are beautiful! ‘Warm’ reds turn orange or pink on me, but deep ‘cool’ reds turn brilliant rose-red. Eyeshadows are the same. Dark black-blues and any cool purples look fantastic. ‘Warm’ purples which lean more towards red, not always so much. You just have to experiment!
    BebeTaian recently posted..Handmade Skull Bracelet – Morigyaru Strega Style – Skull Bracelet from Carved Tibetan Bone Beads by BebeTaianMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh dear, so sorry to hear about you not being able to wear peachy pinks. Those shades are what “experts” call universal colours and that they should suit everyone! Well, clearly not! Oh I agree; experiment away! That was my point; don’t pigeonhole yourself to just one small range. 🙂

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