This Lipstick Hack Breaks The Rules — But Looks So Good

Photographed by Tom Corbett.
When was the last time you walked into a shoe department, bolted past the designer floral wedges, and squealed over a pair of... tan sandals? Or scanned a nail polish wall and triumphantly held up a sheer, pinky-nude? There's a time and a place for basic — but nothing beats the excitement of bright, bold, unapologetic color. And if you're the kind of person who would probably never drop $800 on bubblegum-pink Louboutins, then lipstick is the way to go.
Now, you can obviously wear any lip color you damn well please — everything from mint green to fuchsia is fair game these days. But if you're looking for a tone that will be the most flattering for your complexion, that's where makeup artist Tiffany Patton comes in. Ahead, she brushed, patted, and blotted this summer's most popular lip shades onto six models with different skin tones. Find the one that's closest to you, then start swiping.
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Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Medium with Warm Undertones

The first rule of finding a flattering bright lipstick? There are none. "Usually, you'd go for an orange-red on warmer skin tones, but that blunts the color," Patton says. "By contrasting the tones — like a cool-toned red on warmed-toned skin — you allow the colors to pop against one another." Patton opted for a crimson hue with blue undertones, which stood out on Hannah's warmer skin.

Mercedes Salazar earrings; Altuzarra cardigan.
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Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Light/Medium with Warm Undertones

Shawn typically has fairer skin, but had spent a little time outside ahead of our shoot. "Hot pink looks amazing with a little bit of a tan," Patton says. (Check out our favorite sunless bronzers here.) She pulled out a bright Barbie pink to swipe on Shawn's lips. "It's a true, down-the-middle, hot pink," Patton says. "Tones like Shawn's can go either blue or orange, but something with a mix of the two packs a major punch." Apply this one straight from the tube — you want it to be as opaque as possible.

Altuzarra earrings; Altuzarra dress.
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Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Deep with Warm Undertones

The deeper your skin tone, the brighter your lipstick will look. For Mominatu, Patton opted for a warm orange shade. "When your skin is deep, [cool-toned] pastels can tend to look a little chalky," she explained. She pressed the shade into Mominatu's lips with her fingers for a worn-in, diffused effect that kept it from overpowering her face.

Paula Mendoza earrings; Christopher Kane blazer.
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Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Medium with Olive Undertones

Purple can be intimidating to some, but for those with medium skin, it's a flattering everyday color. "Purple tends to work well with olive skin," says Patton, who chose a lavender-pink hue for Bria. The purple balances (rather than clashes) the green undertones in her olive skin, resulting in a glowing complexion. The proof's right there.

Dinosaur Designs earrings; Monse top.
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Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Fair with Cool Undertones

When choosing bright lipsticks, people with fair tones tend to grab lighter hues — but Patton suggests taking the opposite approach. "On someone with a deeper tone, this color would be flat," she says. But for Phyllicia, this cool pink pops in the perfect way. To get a perfect, sculpted lip shape, try sweeping your lipstick on with a brush and touch up the edges with concealer.

Oscar de la Renta earrings; Cyclas top.
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Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Fair with Warm Undertones

Redheads are often told that bright crimsons tend to clash with their hair color. And we say, fuck that. Patton took her opposites-attract approach and swiped a tomato red across Tess's lips. "The color gives her a glow, because it help accentuate the warmer tones in her skin," she explains.

Dinosaur Designs earrings.
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