Lipstick Cheat Sheet: Tips for Getting a Perfect Pout

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Picking a shade of lipstick doesn’t have to be a headache — once you know what you are looking for. Colors don’t have to be “off-limits” due to your skin tone, hair color, or eyes. Actually, if you try to follow that advice, you’ll be bombarded with contradicting rules. Instead, you should look for the shade within that color family that most flatters your overall style. What matters most of all is that you are happy with the way you look. To help point you down the right path, here are the terms and tips you need to know to get a perfectly colored pout.

Before diving into colors, it is important to understand the finish on the lipstick. Cosmetics companies may use different terms, but a few categories apply broadly which Robert Jones breaks downs in his book, Looking Younger: Makeovers That Make You Look as Young as You Feel. First up is the matte finish. Mattes have no shine or shimmer. The color will fully cover your lips, and because there is very little moisture, they can have a drying effect on your lips. It is unforgiving to chapped lips, so having smooth lips before applying is key. However, the payoff is big if you’re looking for a bold color, because all shades of mattes create a rich lip.

“Satins” or “crèmes” will have a color depth like mattes, but these finishes have more moisture built into the lipsticks’ formulas. With a slicker texture, they will not last as long as a matte, but they are also more versatile, complementing a larger segment of the population. A matte’s full-on color with no texture depth can be too jarring for some people depending on the hue. The finishes on a satin or crème can be natural, or introduce shimmer or shine to your lips. This makes them a great option for day or night in almost any shade.

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