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How To: Find your perfect shade of lipstick

Think you’ll never get the hang of lipstick? Think again! Finding the perfect match for your skin tone or figuring out which color will lend just the right finish to your outfit may seem difficult to master, but keep these few simple tips in mind and you’ll soon be wielding this beauty tool like a pro.

Before we get started, it’s important that you know whether you lean toward a warm or cool complexion. The easiest (and most fun!) way to figure it out is what we like to call the "shirt method." Take two shirts—one white, and one in an off-white, cream color—and try them both on. If the white one complements your complexion better, then you probably have a cool skin tone. If the cream-colored shirt looks better, your skin tone is most likely warm.


If you’re finding it difficult to tell (or you just want a little more confirmation) take a look at your wrist really quickly. Veins that look green are a sign of a warm skin tone. Veins that look blue mean cooler tones.


Once you’ve determined your skin tone, the rest is a matter of mixing and matching. As a general rule, pale/neutral or solid bright shades tend to look best with a cool complexion while bold, dark or berry colors nicely complement warmer tones.


But, as we all know, skin tone isn’t the only factor in what lipstick you decide to go with. Check out how the celebs are balancing their skin tones with their outfits and other makeup as they hit the red carpet.


Taylor Swift’s pink pout

In this close-up taken at the 40th annual American Music Awards, country cutie T-Swizz oozes pure class. Her pale pink lip not only complements her cool skin tone and white/gold accented gown, but offsets her heavy eye makeup perfectly.


Tip: Pick only one thing to emphasize—eyes or lips. That way, you won’t run the risk of looking too overdone. If you’re busting out the dark liner and shadow like Taylor did, make sure you also follow her lead on the pale pink lipstick. For ladies with a medium or darker complexion, beige is also a good choice or a nice and subtle apricot.


We heart: Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Peachy Pink, $22, sephora.com


Rihanna’s rad red

Bold red lips: probably the most popular lipstick trend out there and for good reason. Bright red seems to be the solution for everything, whether you’re looking for the effortless glamour that Rihanna exudes, a retro vibe or even just a little pop of color. Until, that is, you get to the store and find yourself faced with a million different shades of red. It’s times like these when knowing your skin tone will definitely help you out of a potential lipstick disaster!


Tip: For those of you with fair skin, try a red that leans more toward cherry (with bluish undertones). Medium tones look best when paired with a true red, or a brown-based red. For those of you with a more olive skin tone, stick with an orangey-red. And dark skin can look good with any red, but we suggest trying something a bit off-beat, like an eye-catching fuchsia. Psst: A matte formula makes it feel more modern.


We heart: NYX Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Perfect Red, $6, ulta.com


Katy Perry’s purple pucker

Want to try a fun color, but aren’t sure what would look good? You could always take a page from Katy Perry’s book and coordinate with what you’re wearing. Here the whimsical pop star has paired a violet-inspired lipstick with purple hair and lavender-toned gown. Figure out one or two default shades that you know will complement you well, and try making them the centerpiece of your look.


Tip: For you gals with cooler tones, we recommend choosing a bright pink as your statement color. Also to consider are maroon or Katy’s dark plum. And for those of you with a warm complexion, a coral or burnt orange can be a fresh take on all the red that’s going around.


We heart: Becca Ultimate Matte Lip Color in Antoinette, $24, sephora.com


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