How to Find Your Signature Lip Color

We spend years looking for that Holy Grail of lip colors.
How to find your signature lipstick shade

A person could spend years looking for that Holy Grail of lip colors. You know, that perfect lipstick that will make you look beautiful without any other makeup. The one that will make your features pop and complexion glow. The signature lip shade that completes every outfit. But there are so many lipsticks out there — how do you choose the most flattering one?

If you’re having difficulties choosing lipstick color, look no further! Try these simple, step-by-step tips to find your signature shade.

Step One: Determine Your Skin Tone

To figure out your skin's tone, examine your skin in natural lighting with a hand mirror. Pay special attention to your skin as it appears along your jawline, where the tone is less likely to be affected by sun exposure. Which of the following most accurately describes your skin tone?

Light — Your skin is pale. You sunburn easily and you may have freckles.

Medium — You tan easily and generally don’t burn.

Dark — Your skin rarely or never burns in the sun. Your skin is tan or dark all year round, even in winter.

Step Two: Determine Your Undertones

axiology swatches

Swatch lip shades on the underside of your arm in natural lighting for best results.

Most people's skin has either pink (cool) or yellow (warm) undertones. Knowing your undertone is essential to finding a shade of lipstick that will make your complexion glow and your teeth look whiter. 

To find your skin’s undertone, take a look at the veins on the underside your wrist in natural light. If your veins appear blue, you have cool-toned skin with pink undertones. If your veins appear green, you have warm-toned skin with yellow undertones. If your veins appear both blue and green, lucky you! You have neutral undertones, and almost every shade of lipstick will look great on you.

If you can’t see your veins or you’re not sure, another trick for determining your undertone is to hold up silver and gold jewelry next to your face. Disregarding personal preference, which one looks better next to your skin? Those with cool-toned skin will look better with silver jewelry, while those with warm-toned skin will look better with gold jewelry.

Step Three: Choose a Shade 

Now that you know your skin tone and undertone, it’s time to put them together and choose a shade. Match your skin combination to one of the shades below.

Light Cool — For a subtle look, try cool-toned mauves and pinks. For a bolder look, go bright with cool-toned reds and berries.

Try: SorbetIdentityRaspberry

Light Warm — You’ll look best in warm neutrals and corally pinks. For a dramatic look, try warm-toned reds and wine shades.

Try: RoséBonafide

Medium Cool — Your unique combination really pops will cool-toned reds, nudes, and vibrant pinks.

Try: AttitudeIdentityRaspberry, Grounded

Medium Warm — Warm-toned nudes, oranges, and reds will make your honey complexion glow.

Try: RadianceCinnamon, Peach

Dark Cool — With your skintone, you can really rock plums, berries, and cool-toned reds.

Try: Clarity, EthosAttitude

Dark Warm — Warm-toned reds, wine shades, and oranges look fabulous on you!

Try: Worth, Infinite, Elusive 

Step Four: Choosing a Finish

We're living in a golden age in which both matte and glossy finishes are considered chic. Matte finishes tend to have more staying power, while glossier finishes tend to make your lips appear larger — it's really whatever floats your boat. If you're on the matte boat, go with a Balmie that you can pat down; like some good sheen? Go with a Color Cream for a color punch, or Tinted Dew for maximum... well, dew.

Putting Our Guide to the Test

We put together a small group of test subjects to show our guide in action! We identified each woman’s skin tone and undertone, then had her test a few lipsticks that we thought would work for her. These were the results!

Axiology Vibration Modeled

up close Vibration Axiology

Shelby has light skin with cool undertones. She loved Attitude, a bold pink to match her bold personality.

Intrigue modeled Axiology

up close Intrigue Axiology

Joerelle has medium skin with warm undertones. She’s wearing Elusive, the perfect “your lips but better” color for her. 

Elusive Axiology Modeled

Elusive up close Axiology

Amber has dark skin with warm undertones. Her favorite lip shade was Cherry, a rich burnt berry that matches her glam personality. 

Finding your signature lip color is a journey — one that takes a lot of trial and error. Experiment with different shades, even those outside of your recommended skin tone range. Ultimately, your signature lipstick is up to you. If you want to rock bright orange, navy blue, or deep purple, more power to you! Wear what makes you feel beautiful.

Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram at @axiology_beauty and show us your signature shade!

By: Colleen Welsch



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