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If you’re not familiar with all the different kinds of cosmetics, or you haven’t worn a lot of lipstick in the past, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start when looking for a shade and style to complement your face. Luckily, there are several easy to remember notes that can help you select the right lipstick, and it doesn’t have to take you all day either.

How to pick the correct lipstick for your Skin tone

Firstly, it’s important to remember that we’re all individual, what might suit your friend or your sister won’t necessarily be the perfect choice for you. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, perhaps, but you’d be surprised how much a slightly different tint of lipstick can work for one person and completely clash with another. Make up companies are well aware of this, and are constantly pioneering new products to meet their customer’s needs.

Assessing your own skin tone shouldn’t be too difficult, cosmetic retailers – such as Boots or Superdrug – usually have a chart that can help you determine which category you come under.

A brief overview of skin tones matched to lipstick shades looks something like this:

Best lipstick for fair skin

If you want to make an impact, you should look for dark colours, such as plum reds or deep purples. ‘Starry-eyed’ or ‘Drop of Sherry’ from Rimmel are two great options; the blue undertones really complement porcelain features, and make light coloured eyes sparkle. For everyday wear, light browns or beiges give a subtle look, with pink undertones that won’t wash the face out. Colours to avoid are bright pinks and oranges; they’ll clash with the natural tint of the skin and draw attention to the lips for all the wrong reasons.

Best lipstick for medium skin

Stick to deep, rich colours if you find yourself in the middle of the shade chart. It can be a pain to be judged as ‘medium’ (what’s medium?) but you can work it to your advantage by choosing colours from either end of the spectrum. Caramels and darks reds will make your lips dazzle, try ‘Damson’ by The Body Shop. Daywear shades include creamy coffee colours with yellow or pink undertones; avoid paler colours that might make your skin look drab or brassy.

Best lipstick for dark skin

Dark reds and deep plums really accentuate the lips and other facial features as well, if you have a darker complexion. Mahogany colours and dark coffee browns balance perfectly with big brown eyes or long lashes, chose eye shadows that complement the shades to flatter the skin tone and give a more even finish. Orange toned lipsticks should be avoided generally, but even more so for those with dark skins, it won’t look natural or classy, and will suck all the texture out of your face. Any shade of brown can generally be relied upon to give the face and mouth a subtle, natural appearance; ‘Coffee Toffee’ by Max Factor is a great everyday choice.

Types of lipstick

Okay, so you’ve picked a colour, but what sort of lipstick should you go for? Well, when it comes to choosing from the (very) long list, it’s all about performance, what sort of routine have you got and what will your lipstick be expected to withstand? There are products designed to last all day, or some to moisturise the lips whilst you’re wearing it, so consider your working day, your average night out and – inevitably for most of us – your budget, when selecting a lipstick.

Here are a few other points to bear in mind:

Long Lasting Lipstick

There’s no such thing as a lipstick that lasts twenty-four hours without losing a hint of its colour, so don’t expect miracles if you’re looking for a long lasting product. That said, there are some great lipsticks on the market that give it a sterling effort, ‘Pure Colour’ by Estee Lauder has consistently topped the polls for as one of the best long lasting lipsticks, and they’re still perfecting it for a new generation of cosmetic consumers.

Matte Lipstick

For a dinner party or night out, matte lipsticks make sure you won’t leave a greasy smear on glasses or cutlery – and you’re also less likely to end up with it all over your teeth. Because of the kaolin contained in this type of lipstick, they can sometimes dry the lips out slightly, but the colour stays put, and if it’s only for a few hours give Revlon’s Matte range a try, it provides a creamy, lightweight performance.

Sheer Lipstick & Sheen Lipstick

Clinique offer a great range in sheer lipsticks that are perfect for the casual wearer, who wants to add a little colour to their normal routine. If you’re heading out for the evening but you don’t feel like reapplying all your make-up, slick on a sheer/stain type lipstick. They’re easy wearing, but give just a hint of sparkle; they’re also known to be more moisturising than other kinds of lipstick.

Moisturising Lipstick

It’s a common problem among lipstick wearers, dry lips cause the colour to crack and fade, but there is a way around it; ‘Glam Shine’ by L’Oreal is full of conditioning ingredients that keep the lips looking soft and kissable. Although they can sometimes wear off easier than other types, it’s well worth considering if you have problems with dry skin, as they might only need reapplying once or twice throughout the day.

Lipstick Tips

Once you’ve chosen the right product for you, it’s important that you know how to use it correctly. That may sound dramatic, but to get the most out of your lipstick, take a few moments to read the tips and guidelines, it could save you time and money:

1.Apply a coat of foundation to your lips before you begin with the colour, it makes the surface even and helps the lipstick to last longer.

2.Use a lip liner that is the same colour or slightly darker than your lipstick, and line the inside of the lips if you’d like them to appear smaller, or the outside if you’d like them to appear larger, blend it gently to avoid an obvious ring around the mouth.

3.A brush is best for applying colour, it means you won’t ruin the lip liner and you’re less likely to end up with clogging in the corners. Using a brush provides a thinner, more even application that will last longer.

4.Lip-gloss can be a girl’s best friend, or her worst enemy. Chose one with a sponge applicator that won’t give your lips a greasy texture – or stick to your hair, to give your mouth a subtle shine without overloading it.