How to choose a summer lip color

The Met Gala gave us a hint of the wide array of lip colors that are hot this season. These steps will help you find the perfect shade — or shades! — for you.

“What really ruled the red carpet was the abundance of bold, beautiful lip colors,” says Heather Walczuk, New York Cosmetics Examiner. “From barely-there nude to prim and proper pinks, anyone worrying about keeping up with beauty trends, fear not, for there was a wide representation of varying lip colors rocked on the Met Gala red carpet.”

Step 1: Consider the occasion

In the past, your lip color would be light by day and dark by night. This season, you can be in style with just about any shade for any occasion… if you play by a few rules.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson‘s fruity lip color looked as if it had always been there! She pulled this off by keeping her overall hair and makeup truly simple. With a mere change of clothes, this peachy shade can go instantly from day to night.

Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara selected a luscious rose color for her perfect pucker. Complemented by dark, sultry eyes and sleek hair, this berry shade became instantly glamorous. The same fresh hue is also perfect for a casual lunch with friends — just tone down the eyes and tousle the hair.

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Step 2: Consider your eye makeup


Believe it or not, the way you do your eyes can make or break your lipstick color. At the Met Gala, Amber Valetta and Amy Poehler both wore black dresses but went in completely opposite directions lip-wise.

Amber went surprisingly dark for the season and it worked. Despite her plunging neckline, Amber’s rich burgundy lips were the first thing we noticed. To keep this risky bold shade from overpowering, Amber subdued her eye makeup and wore her blonde locks in soft, easy waves.

Amy did just the opposite. She wore dark smoky eyes and played down the lips with a natural, pale pink. The effect was pure glamour. To pull of this pinky shade in the daytime, pair it with light-color clothing and opt for less dramatic eyes.

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Step 3: Consider your outfit

This season, it doesn’t matter what your lip shade is, but it is trendy to match it to your outfit.

Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan looked like an impossibly perfect resident of The Hunger Games’ Capitol. Nude lips didn’t compete with her stunning golden gown (and matching hair and brows!). The pale hue works because of the ombre effect: Everything about her — clothes, ‘do, complexion — are varying shades of the same color.

Paula Patton

Paula Patton looked positively ethereal in the palest purple. The barely-there hue was matched with her exquisite lavender dress and was enhanced by dazzling jewels. When you select a shade as subtle as this, be sure to perk it up with a striking necklace, earrings or headband in the same color family.

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Step 4: Consider the product

You know about lipsticks, glosses, stains and more. But you should also know that the type of product you choose impacts the shade you select.

Leslie Mann

Pale and nude shades look dated if they’re too “dry.” Keep them shiny and glossy for a more modern look. Leslie Mann did that when she sported a natural shade to complement her nearly nude gown.

Janelle Monae

Bright, bold colors can be too much, even clownish, if they’re too gooey. Opt for a stain instead. There’s was nothing clownish or dated about Janelle Monae’s beautiful red lips. Janelle was all in black but for her beautiful red lip stain. Her mouth was like a work of art on a simple canvas. To die for!

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Step 5 (Optional): Try something fun!

Coco Rocha‘s lips matched the pink dyed tips of her hair. “You can really pull of pretty much anything with a face like hers — even hair that resembles a My Little Pony tail,” says Walczuk. “Which has probably always been a dream of little girls everywhere. I am no exception. Pink lips and hair: Welcome to 2012.”

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Bottom line: You really can’t go wrong this summer! Every lip color is trendy… you just have to know how to work it, girl!
Coco Rocha

More helpful how-tos for Summer 2012

How to talk to your hairstylist
How to use dry shampoo
How to choose the right hairstyle for your face shape

Photo credits: Caroline Torem Craig/, Andres Otero/, Lia Toby/, Andres Otero/, Andres Otero/, Andres Otero/, Lia Toby/


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