How to Choose the Best Lipstick for Your Skin Color

Bold red lips are the epitome of Hollywood glamour, but pick the wrong shade and your name might as well be Bozo the Clown. The key to achieving a chic—not costume-y—beauty look lies in choosing the best lipstick for your skin color.

Fortunately, Canada’s all-natural makeup line BITE Beauty is here to help. Earlier this summer, the brand opened its first stand-alone shop in the heart of New York City. One part retail store, one part science lab, the Soho location offers a lipstick-mixing service that allows shoppers to customize a tube to their exact specifications.

Whether you’re trying to recreate your favorite discontinued shade, or just in the market for a fresh new look for fall, each shopper receives a one-on-one consultation with a makeup artist to determine which colors look best with your features. Then, it’s time to play scientist. After the artist mixes up your personal pigment, he or she will add a finish (sheer or matte), and a scent of your choosing (we were partial to the peppermint/cherry blend). The whole process takes about 10 minutes, and custom lipsticks cost $28, just $4 more than the brand’s regular Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipsticks.

The space at 174 Prince Street is open six days a week (closed on Mondays), and technically a pop-up store for now, but check back later in the fall for increased services and customization options.

Don’t live in NYC? Not to worry! We chatted with BITE makeup artist Sophie Ono about how to shop for the best lipstick for your skin tone, right from your own home.

What ingredients should women look for when buying lipstick?
They should look for nourishing and certified organic ingredients that naturally soften lips and provide a luxurious texture, such as Castor seed oil, Jojoba and Argan. They should watch out for any harmful substances such as lead, parabens and synthetic dyes.

Do certain lip finishes look better on different skin types?
When determining what lipstick finishes to use, my inclination is to pay attention to skin textures rather than tones. For mature skin I like to use hydrating creamy lipstick. Elastic, youthful skin can pull any lipstick texture. Also, when working on set with models or clients, I take in consideration the rest of their makeup. For example, for  dewy skin and metallic eyes I tend to use a matte lips or I pair matte eyes with glossy lips. Balance is really my goal.

How can you tell if a lip color is going to look good on someone’s skin?
Determining what color looks best on a person can be a bit subjective. When helping customers picking a color they feel complements them, I try to find out if they are adventurous enough to wear bold colors or if they are conservative and like to stick with soft colors. I also pay attention to their skin undertones, and eyes, and suggest colors that would complement them.