Makeup Artists Reveal the Best Lipstick Shades for Every Skin Tone

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Red, fuchsia, berry, rose, nude—nowadays there are so many different lipstick shades to choose from. While we love having options, there’s no denying that the more there are, the more challenging making a selection can feel. With that in mind, we chatted with a few celebrity makeup artists about the most flattering lipstick shades for every skin tone.

“My most honest answer and the best beauty advice I can give is that the best lipstick for any skin tone is choosing a color that makes your heart sing, makes you feel like a million bucks, makes you feel empowered,” says celebrity makeup artist Molly R. Stern. “You can pretty much carry any color on the lip as long as your foundation/powder is on point.”

Before discussing exact lipstick shades, let’s take a beat to discuss undertones. “Generally speaking, skin is usually divided between cool undertones or warm undertones,” says celebrity makeup artist Gregory Arlt. “Even the fairest of skin tones can have more yellow, and some more pink.” If you have cool skin, cool-toned lipstick colors will look best; if you have warm skin, warm-toned shades will accentuate your pout; if you have neutral undertones, you can wear pretty much any lipstick under the sun.

Ahead, discover the best lipstick color for your skin tone.

Fair/Light Skin

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Peachy Nude

Arlt, Stern, and celebrity makeup artist Gilbert Soliz agree that peachy nude lipsticks are a gorgeous pick for fair and light skin tones. “Peachy nudes provide a natural look that blends well with fair skin—they add warmth and can balance out any cool undertones in the skin making the complexion appear healthier and more radiant,” Soliz says.

Soft Pink

Soliz and celebrity makeup artist Gita Bass love the look of soft pink lipstick on fair and light skin tones. “[It] adds just the right amount of color that won't compete with a strong eye, but will add enough of a pop to brighten up a paler face, without washing you out,” Bass says.


For a more neutral lip look, Arlt and Stern agree that mauve lipsticks—whether opaque or sheer—suit fair-skinned folks beautifully. “It will mimic the look of lip color,” Arlt explains.

Classic Red

Red lipstick looks gorgeous on everyone but it really stands out on fair and light skin tones. “A classic red lipstick can make a striking contrast against fair skin, creating a timeless and sophisticated look,” Soliz says. “Blue-based reds are particularly flattering as they can make teeth appear whiter and complement cool undertones.”


Bass’s suggestion? Go bold. “A bright tomato shade contrasts beautifully with a paler complexion,” she says. “I prefer a bright pop of color with pale skin, as a deeper shade can look a little harsh.”

Medium Skin

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Warm Nudes

Medium skin tones tend to lean more warm or olive. As such, Soliz says that warm nudes are a perfect lip pick. “They harmonize with the natural undertones without washing out the complexion,” he explains. “These shades offer a polished, everyday look that is both subtle and chic.”

Wine Red

As much as we love a vibrant red lip, when it comes to medium skin tones, Arlt says that richer, wine reds reign supreme. “For dramatic shades, go for a beautiful Bordeaux or deep berry lip which will add drama and flatter the skin tone,” he adds.


For a slightly cooler saturated lip, opt for blackberry lip shades. “Berry shades complement medium skin by adding a rich, vibrant pop of color,” Soliz says. “They enhance the natural warmth and provide a sophisticated, yet playful look suitable for both daytime and evening.” This is another lip shade that looks stunning whether it’s opaque or sheer. “A sheer blackberry is gorgeous on medium complexions,” Stern says, applauding their buildable nature. “It allows you to go from a wash of color to modern drama,” she explains.


Bass and Soliz agree that coral lip shades are a stunning pick for medium skin tones, especially during the warmer months of the year. “Coral lipsticks bring out the golden undertones in medium skin, providing a bright and lively finish,” Soliz explains. “This shade is ideal for adding a cheerful, youthful glow and works well for both casual and formal occasions.” When looking for the perfect coral lipstick, Bass recommends striking a perfect balance between pink and orange “to add brightness without taking over the face,” she explains.

Deep/Dark Skin

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'90s Brown

Brown lipstick was a hit in the ‘90s and it has ricocheted back into fashion in the past few years, and it looks especially stunning on dark skin tones. To perfect the look, Arlt says to pair a brown base with a slightly deeper lip pencil for an accentuated neutral pout. Soliz agrees that a brown lip is a must-try for darker skin tones. “Rich brown shades harmonize with dark skin tones, offering a natural yet polished look,” he explains. “These colors enhance the natural lip color and provide a sophisticated, earthy vibe suitable for any occasion.”

Coral Pink

Coral lip shades look gorgeous on dark skin tones, too. However, Stern specifically recommends pumping up the pink tones for a bold and playful look. Meanwhile, Bass says to try out a coral red lip to add “a gorgeous warmth to brighten up a deeper complexion.”

Brick Red

Speaking of red lipstick, Stern says that more muted brick reds make for a pretty blotted lip look on darker skin tones. When shopping for a brick red lipstick, look for deeper hues with burgundy or sienna undertones.

Deep Plum

If you prefer more dramatic lip colors, Soliz says to reach for a deep plum shade. “Deep plum shades look stunning on dark skin, providing a rich, dramatic effect that enhances the natural beauty,” he explains. “These colors complement the undertones and add a touch of elegance and sophistication.”

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