Choose the Right Lipstick Every Time

Turns out, there is such a thing as The One, at least when it comes to lipstick color. Don't settle for anything less than the ideal shade, the head-turning hue that perfectly complements your skin tone, eyes, and hair color. Having trouble finding your lipstick mate? Take our master class in color theory.

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Finding the right lipstick is, more often than not, way more difficult than it should be.

That's why we turned to Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist Kerrie Urban. With a clientele that has included Saoirse Ronan, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Keira Knightley, it's safe to say Urban knows a thing or two about applying lipstick (and applying the right shade of lipstick).

Look below for Urban's tips on navigating the wide world of lipstick options with ease, plus get some product recommendations along the way.

How to Match a Color

Your skin and its undertones will always be good guides to choosing the right lip hue—while color trends may change seasonally, shades that are complementary to your complexion will forever look great, no matter what.

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For Lighter Skin Tones

Model Anne Cleveland wears a deep purple shade to the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City. Photograph courtesy of WireImage/Getty Images
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"If you have cooler [that is, pink and blue] undertones, stick to blue-based shades," Urban says.

Product Recommendations

Lipstick in Russian Red, $17,
Audacious Lipstick in Liv, $32,

For Darker Skin Tones

Actress Aja Naomi King complements her glowing skin with a deep, warm shade of mauve at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival in Culver City. Photograph courtesy of Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
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Urban's take: "If you have a more golden complexion, warmer tones really bring your skin to life."

Product Recommendations

Saint in Fire Red, $24,
Full Throttle Lipstick in Loaded, $7,

Urban also offers us her keen expertise in matching lipstick shades to your eyes and hair for bolder, more surprising pairings.

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For Lighter Hair

Actress Tilda Swinton sports a poppy lip shade outside the Hammerstein Ballroom for the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City. Photograph courtesy of Ray Tamarra/Getty Images
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For blondes and other light hair colors, Urban suggests trying out a cool pink lip shade for a sharp contrast.

Product Recommendations

Rouge Allure Velvet Intense Long-Wear Lip Color in La Diva, $37,
Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink Cloud by Revlon, $9,

For Darker Hair

Model Ashley Graham gets glamorous at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 celebration in New York City. Photograph courtesy of Bennett Raglin/Getty Images
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Warm reds, according to Urban, pull together the tones in dark hair colors for a look that's high drama.

Product Recommendations

Lip Color in Burnt Red, $27,
Classic Color Lipsticks in Red Hot Red by Bésame Cosmetics, $22,

For Brown Eyes

Actress Lupita Nyong'o wears a coppery shade at the 82nd Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony in New York City. Photograph courtesy of Desiree Navarro/Getty Images
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Hey, brown eyes, it's your lucky day! "People with brown eyes can wear almost any shade," Urban says.

Product Recommendations

Opaque Rouge Lipstick by Hourglass in Muse, $28,
Vice Lipstick in Twitch, $17,

For Honey or Hazel Eyes

For honey-toned eyes, Urban suggests getting a little daring: "A blue-red really makes honey-toned eyes pop."

Product Recommendations

Tartiest Creamy Matte Lip Paint, $20,
Rouge D'Armani Lipstick in 400, $37,

For Green Eyes

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It's true, opposites attract! "If there are green flecks [in the eye color], I love a ruby red, since red and green are opposites on the color wheel," Urban says.

Product Recommendations

Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Ruby, $21,
Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red, $32,

For Blue Eyes

Miranda Kerr's blue eyes stand out with the help of a punchy lip color. Photograph courtesy of Jun Sato/Getty Images

Remember, if two colors are opposite on the color wheel, they make for the ultimate pairing. This is especially true for orange and blue. "Orange-reds really make blue eyes pop," says Urban.

Product Recommendations 

Matte Lip Velour in Dirty Love, $14,
Liquid Lipstick in Persimmon, $20,

How to Shop for a Color

Urban knows walking into Sephora or approaching a department store makeup counter can be intimidating. Remain cool and follow her two simple rules to streamline lipstick shopping.

1. Actually wear makeup: "When shopping for a new lip color, make sure to have the rest of your makeup done as you normally do. Then you will know what the completed look will be," Urban recommends

2. Let your hand be the color palette: "Before you try something on your lips, use the back of your hand to see how you like the color first," Urban says. "Lip colors can stain your lips easily, and if you're trying on multiple shades, you can end up layering the colors and not getting the true tone on your lips."

Oscar De La Renta spring 2016 fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Photograph courtesy of Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

How to Fix the Wrong Color

Though Urban is of course a pro at selecting lipstick shades, she says even experts make mistakes. Just in case you buy the wrong shade (and in the unfortunate case can't return it), Urban suggests getting creative: "Mix and match! If you aren't in love with your new shade of lipstick, mix it with a different hue to make a custom color."

And for a quicker alternative, play with texture. "Layer a gloss on top to instantly change the color," she adds. 

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