How to choose a lipstick for all different types of lips

Choosing the right lipstick for your lips can be overwhelming. There are many different types of lips out there, and not only is the shape individual to each person, just like skin colour, their natural shade will also be unique. That’s exactly why something like Charlotte Tilbury’s pillow talk may be someone’s holy grail nude shade, whereas for others, it’ll be too brown – or pink. Finding the find the right lipstick for every different type of lips can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Here are the some tips on how to find the perfect shade for all different types of lips.


Different types of lips


We know this is obvious, but lips come in all shapes and sizes. There are of course full lips and wide lips, thin lips and round lips, bus also have a prominent cupid’s bow, while others have a flat upper lip. Some are downward-tuned while others have heart shaped lips or bow shaped lips. To find the right lipstick, it’s important to first understand the different lip shapes, and find out which one you have.


Your unique lip colour


Lips have different shades because they contain melanin. Melanin is the pigment responsible for giving skin, hair and eyes their colour. Knowing this, it makes sense that your shade of lips would be unique to you. Different people have different amounts of melanin, which is why some lips, just like skin colours, are darker than others.


How to find the right lipstick


When it comes to finding the right lipstick for you, it’s important to consider your underlying base colour or your “tones”. Are you cool or warm? If you have cool undertones, you’ll want to choose a lipstick that has a blue or purple base. If you have warm undertones, you’ll want to choose a lipstick that has an orange or red base to make it really pop.


Choose your formulation


You’ll also want to consider the type of formulation you want. Do you want a matte lipstick, a satin finish, a stain or a gloss? Matte lipsticks tend to be more long-wearing, while satin lipsticks have a subtle sheen and offer good coverage, stains give a hint of colour (like you’ve just eaten berries) while glosses have the sheerest coverage and aren’t as long lasting.


Enhancing your lip shape


To further enhance your lips, you can use makeup to create the illusion of different shapes. If you have smaller lips, you can use a lip liner to draw just outside the lines of your lips (called “overlining”) and make them appear larger. You can also opt for brighter colours, such as pinks and reds, to make your lips stand out. On the other hand, if you have larger lips, you may want to stick to more neutral shades like pinks and nudes.
If you have issues with lipstick bleeding into lines around your mouth, use a lip liner to outline your lips before applying colour, and make sure your lips have been exfoliated before you apply the colour. For those with a less prominent cupid’s bow, you can use a lip liner to draw a more defined shape to your lips, and also add some highlighter just above the cupid’s bow to draw attention to that area.




The best way to find the perfect lipstick is to first understand there are different types of lips and then experiment with different shades and formulations to find what works best for your individual lip colour and shape. Here are some tips:
– Start by choosing the colour family you want (ie: red or pink)
– Knowing your undertones, look for a colour that will enhance your cool or warm colouring.
– Choose three lipsticks in similar shades, remembering that your lip colour is individual and it will look different on you to everyone else.
– Test them on your fingertips – yes really. You may be used to testing on your hand, but your hand colour is too different to your lips so it won’t be accurate.
– Have fun! With the right lipstick, you can make your lips look their best and complete any look.


Your weekly edit of the best beauty reviews and tips, from two of Australia’s most respected beauty editors, delivered straight to your inbox.


Beauty journalists and ex-marie claire beauty directors, Sarah Tarca & Sherine Youssef, have decades of experience between them and have written for some of your favourite print and digital publications, including Gritty Pretty, Broadsheet, Doré and Primer.


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