Lesley Rotchford Jul 18, 2017

Most of us are lipstick monogamists. We fall hard for one particular color—and tend to stick with it. But with so many pretty shades to choose from (Urban Decay’s new Vice Liquid Lipsticks come in 30—30!—captivating colors, ranging from the subtlest of nudes to the deepest of purples), it’s time to start cheating! And according to makeup artist Melissa Walsh, each skin tone can pull off a wide range of different shades. “You can wear almost any color as long as the undertone of the shade goes with your complexion,” she says. In other words, certain lip colors have more of a blue cast to them—and are often referred to as “cool”—while others have more of a warm, yellow undertone. (Test for yourself by swiping shades on the back of your hand—you’ll notice the difference.)

 Urban Decay’s Vice Liquid Lipstick line 

Here, Walsh reveals how to choose a shade based on your skin color, and recommends a natural, red, berry, and an edgy, statement shade for each complexion—all from Urban Decay’s Vice Liquid Lipstick line. These waterproof lipsticks are totally smooch-proof, and for precise application, simply outline your mouth with the tip and then color in your lips once (a little goes a long way with this stuff). No blotting necessary. And of course, having healthy smooth lips to begin with is a must and knowing the rules of wearing lipstick. Let your love affair with Vice begin…

Fair Skin

Women with fair skin should look for lip colors with blue undertones that play off the pinkish or blueish undertones of their pale complexion. Walsh warns that anything too orange-y could make skin appear sallow.


  • Natural—“Trivial”
  • Red—“Tryst”
  • Berry—“Double Crossed”
  • Statement—“ZZ”

lipstick for fair skin

Medium Skin

Look for golden undertones that match the warmth of your skin. “And don’t be afraid to go really bold (think vibrant pink or purple)—bright colors can look really pretty on medium skin tones,” says Walsh.


  • Natural—“Naked” 
  • Berry—“Disturbed”
  • Red—“Crimson”
  • Statement—“Crank”

medium skin lipstick

Dark Skin

If you have dark skin you can wear any undertone—lucky!—but it’s important to steer clear of anything too pale, which doesn’t tend to flatter darker skin.


  • Natural—“Amulet”
  • Red—“Rock Steady”
  • Berry—“Blackmail”
  • Statement—either go for something wild like “Time” or something really bright “Firebird.”

 dark skin lipstick



About the Author:Lesley Rotchford is a freelance writer and editor who has been covering beauty, health, fitness, and entertainment for 18 years. She was an executive editor at Women’s Health and prior to that held editorial positions at Self, Cosmopolitan and Allure. Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, Self, Health, Shape, Allure, Cosmopolitan, In Style, Redbook, Seventeen, Fit Pregnancy and Baby, and other magazines. She lives in New Canaan, CT, with her husband and three sons.

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