"Pigments now are richer and look more vibrant because they've been formulated to reflect light better," says Wilson. There are no hard-and-fast rules for finding the best shade for you—especially because some of the new, more transparent formulas are flattering to almost everyone. But there are a few guidelines worth noting:
- If you want to play it safe, don't go more than a couple of shades lighter or darker than your natural lip color.
- Typically, fair skin is most flattered by colors with blue undertones, especially roses and pinks; olive skin looks great in warm plums and can pull off beiges without looking washed out; dark skin can carry deep, deep crimsons.
- Your hair counts, too: The lighter it is, the brighter your lipcolor will look.
- Consider your teeth: If they have a slight yellowish cast, lipsticks with blue undertones (including plums, wines, and pinks) may brighten them. (Or try Benefit California Kissin' Lip Shine; it has a slight blue sheen and can be applied over any lipstick.) Coral and orange lipcolors (not to mention that second glass of red wine) will make the problem worse.