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The Best Makeup Colors for Your Skin Tone

You’ve probably seen those people who can rock the rainbow on their eyelids or get away with bright neon lipstick. Maybe you are afraid to try those bold choices, or maybe you already did – but you shouldn’t have. You never know exactly which looks you can pull off until you know the best makeup colors for your skin tone.

It’s easy to feel lost in the makeup department (or an entire store dedicated to it) when faced with rows upon rows of choices. Here's a basic guide to getting you started on the path toward finding makeup that suits your skin!


The Best Makeup Colors for Your Skin Tone

Light Skin

In general, cool-tone makeup is going to be your friend. A cool-toned bronzer (well blended) is going to look good on lighter skin. For the eyes, stick with creamy, neutral colors, tans, and even greens. You can be playful with your lip color: Anything from nude to peach to red will look great against a fair complexion.

If you have very fair skin, a lot of bright colors are going to be overpowering and harsh. You’ll want to avoid reds and oranges on the eyes and cheeks. For your lips, don’t reach for a wine or berry color. Browns are great for eyeliner, but brown hues are not so great on the lips.

Medium Skin

If you're between light and dark, you might have found yourself in the sweet spot! That's exactly what you need to keep in mind as you choose your best colors. For example, if you go for a blush that's too dark, it will appear harsh on your face. But if you go too light, you'll suddenly find yourself washed out. Stay golden! Gorgeous gold tones and coppery browns will accent your beautiful medium skin tones.

For your lips, you’re in luck! You can get away with any color pop on your pout. You can go from nude to dark or just about anything in between.

Dark Skin

You might just be the envy of everyone because you can go bold! Colorful makeup looks on dark skin are gorgeous. You can use a whole palette of terrific deep, rich colors. Consider metallics, like silver, gold, and bronze, for eyes in addition to browns, blues, and greys. For lips, you can go from a neutral nude all the way to red hot.

Olive Skin

If you have skin tone that is more olive, you’ll want to stay away from yellows and bright, cold blues and greens. Instead, opt for a palette of shimmering bronze or gold, deeper blues (like navy or teal), and darker hues of green. As your olive skin is already warm and neutral, you can play with a lot of colors. Deep, rich shades of pink and apricot are beautiful on the cheeks.

For the lips, choose a deep plum or a shade of mauve. But the choices don't have to end there; olive skin can look great in nearly any lip shade. For a perfect nude lip, your olive skin will rock a caramel hue.

All Skin


Something that works for everyone is a good neutral color. For one of many beautiful neutral makeup looks, stick to this rule of thumb: Choose a neutral color that is either one or two shades lighter or darker than your natural skin color. Start with a good skin tone makeup, such as foundation or BB cream, depending on how much coverage you want. Using a great concealer is also important to pull off a natural look. You can also highlight your contours with something a little shimmery. That will bring extra attention to your best features.

No matter how dark or light your skin is, there are a plethora of products out there made for you! If you’re interested in becoming an expert on how to choose the best shades for different skin tones, or have always wished to advise others, consider our makeup artist program. Contact us at Cortiva Institute today.