Holiday Lip Colours for Every Undertone (That Aren’t Red!)


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Crimson lips for the holidays? Not so fast.

By Lauren Knowles

Date December 8, 2021

Ah yes, it feels like every holiday season the age-old debate of which holiday lip colours reign supreme resurfaces — but why must it always be red?

We all know the classics — from cult-favorite MAC Ruby Woo to the universally adored Dior 999. No doubt they’re gorgeous, but if they’ve been your go-to for too many holidays past, it may be time to part ways with your dearly beloved red lipstick in exchange for something new. The simplest way to find your new favourite selection of holiday lip colours? Consider your skin’s undertones.

Though she believes in wearing whatever makes you feel good (and so do we!), Toronto-based pro makeup artist Jasmin Winnie Stephen says that matching your makeup to your skintone and undertones can make it easier to find your perfect match when it comes to finding the most flattering lip colour. We’ve gathered a list of shades and finishes to flaunt at your next holiday party based on both. From glittering glosses to sugar plum purples, here are our top picks for festive holiday lips that aren’t red:

Lip colours for fair skintones: Metallic magic 

This time of year calls for glitz, glam, and excessive opulence — so why should your makeup be any different? In the name of holiday spirit, metallics are the perfect way to amp up makeup for fair skin. The contrast of bolder, brighter colours against porcelain complexions can feel a little over-wrought and just too much, says Stephen, a former assistant to Fenty Beauty’s Global MUA, Priscilla Ono. Luckily, the shimmer of a metallic shade is the perfect medium. “Having some lip gloss or even a metallic or highly shimmery finish that breaks up the colour so it’s not as saturated and opaque helps bolder lips become more approachable for those with fair skin,” says Stephen.

Try these shades for warm, cool and neutral undertones

Lip colours for light skin tones: Fuchsia fun

For light skintones, upgrading your classic pink to a vibrant fuchsia is a surefire way to brighten up your holidays. “This pink really pops on lighter skin,” says Stephen. “It gives that classic red vibe without it being red.” Where those with fair skin may steer clear of its boldness, and deeper tones risk losing some of its dramatic contrast, this party pink is the perfect transitional shade for beige complexions.

Try these shades for warm, cool and neutral undertones.

Lip colours for medium skintones: Teddy talk 

Though snowfall signifies kissing fall goodbye, don’t even think about leaving your brown lipsticks behind. If you’re tan or olive skinned, you’re in a prime position to take your nude lip game up a notch with a true brown. “For a deeper skintone, brown can look too much like you’re not wearing anything at all,” says Stephen on the brown lip debate. “It’s also a bit vampy for fair skin, and not in a holiday way.” For those with medium complexions, these chocolatey hues are sure to warm your complexion right up.

Try these shades for warm, cool and neutral undertones.

Lip colours for medium-deep skintones: Merry, berry and bright 

With red out of the picture, nothing says, “Hello Holidays!” quite like a bright berry shade. According to Stephen, medium-deep complexions can often have yellow undertones that flatter these picks best. Fearlessly embrace the bold berry lippies below as they compliment rather than contrast your skintone in an overbearing way.

Try these shades for warm, cool and neutral undertones.

Lip colours for deep skintones: Vampy purple

‘Tis the season for those with deeper skin tones to go bold — and by bold we mean purple. These show-stopping plum hues are a perfect match for melanin-rich complexions. Why? “Dark skin often has an undertone of red or purple,” says Stephen. “That’s where those shades really shine.” Shine on, we say.

Try these shades for warm, cool and neutral undertones.

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