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How to Choose the Right Pink Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

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Tips to Help You Look Pretty in Pink
How to Choose the Right Pink Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

Nicki Minaj, the "technicolor Barbie" inspired two MAC lipstick shades.

Photo: MAC Cosmetics

Nicki Minaj has brought a lot attention to pink lipstick. She even had her own MAC limited edition lipstick back in 2010 called Pink Friday which coincided with the release of her album of the same name. Then in February 2012 MAC Cosmetics released yet another Nicki Minaj-inspired lipstick to its VIVA Glam limited edition collection called VIVA Glam Nicki, described as a bright yellow pink satin lipstick.

Not everyone can pull off neon pink or the cotton-candy shade of Pink Friday, in everyday life. The average woman is not usually wearing the over-the-top hair, eye makeup and fashions that Minaj can get away with as a recording artist, but women of color can wear pink lipstick when it complements their skin tone.

Most of us can take a cue from our natural lip color to determine what pink lipsticks will work with our skin tone. Warm skin tones work well with rich pinks, like fuchsia, cool skin tones might be overpowered by too bright colors. You’ve probably seen very pale and light-skinned women in bright lip colors, but more than likely they have warm skin tones or yellow undertones.

See how Nicki Minaj and other celebrities look in pink lipstick.

Fair/pale complexions. Some women of color can still have very pale skin and should avoid colors that are too bright and loud. Opt for sheer hues, beige-pinks, mauve, light and nude pinks, pale rose.

Light complexions. If you have a light skin tone you can wear pink lipsticks that range from pale to deep. Try pink shades with hints of violet, bluish-red shades like magenta, or peachy pinks.

Medium complexions. Those with medium skin tones can wear almost any shade of pink - deep pinks, magenta, mauve, pinkish-berries, caramel and brownish pinks, wine-pinks.

Olive complexions. Some advise those with olive skin to avoid pinkish-reds if you have yellow undertones. Try darker pinks with shades of purple.

Dark complexions. The darker the skin, the more pigment you can have in lip color, but avoid light pale pinks or you could look like you just dipped your lips into a powdered donut. Use darker pinks and pinks with shades of purple.

Finding the Right Shade for You

Many shades can look like they will work on your skin tone but don’t, or vice versa, so experiment with inexpensive drug store brands to find the right pink shade. Some companies have mini- or trial-size lipsticks that you can try. If a color is too light or dark, you don’t need to toss it. For a too dark shade, try going over it with a brighter pink gloss or if a shade is too light, use a dark, bright gloss on top.

Also when wearing pink lipstick, make sure that your lipstick and blush don't clash. For example, pink lipstick teamed with a too much bronzer, or simply going a bit too heavy with blush will look overdone. For a more subtle, even look, use a matching blush or smooth a little of the lip color on the apple of your cheeks and blend well. If you opt to wear a bright pink, make your lips the focal point of your look.

Read Hot Lips Quick Tips for more about wearing bright lip colors and the right colors according to skin tone.

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