Find your perfect lipstick

Find your perfect lipstick

Written : October 2006

Classic lipstick is back style this season. Here’s how to get it absolutely right:

The perfect colour for you

The colour of your lips might be saying more than you realise. According to colour therapist Paula Phelan, selecting the perfect shade of lipstick for you isn’t just about matching your skin, eye and hair colour; it’s about “outwardly expressing your inner self”. 

“Colour is a universal language,” Phelan explains. “Everyone reads and perceives colours.

“Colours communicate to other people, showing them how you’re feeling right now, in this moment. And you can use them to inspire yourself as well.”

Best make sure your lipstick’s saying all the right things about you then!

“Everyone associates red with passion,” says Phelan. “Though it’s also a colour of action. Reds say, ‘I’m here and I’m ready.'” Phelan states that siren red can be seductive, but also that it reflects a competitiveness – “red’s a colour for winners,” she says. More of a red/brown tint shows a committed reliability that’s “more than just fire,” specifies Phelan. And reds with flecks of gold/coral communicate “joy and a sense of fun.”

Phelan describes orange as the socialite’s colour, with the tenacity of a red, tempered by the joy of golds. “It’s a colour for the life of the party – it’s gregarious, it likes to be seen. And it’s also quite courageous.”

“Pinks are compassionate colours that express kindness and unconditional love – and not just in romantic ways,” details Phelan. “It’s gentle. It’s for carers.” Brighter, more fuchsia tints suggest a vibrant, “bohemian” vibe, she says.

Dusky, violet shades indicate a “creative, artistic side,” highlights Phelan. “But there’s also a real sense of care.” The more magenta the shade goes, the more of a perfectionist streak shows. Magenta is for a person who has an applied creativity, who “really wants to contribute,” Phelan explains.

Earth/ Browns/ Neutrals
People often mistake brown-wearers for boring, but that’s simply not true according to Phelan. “Browns have a natural reliability, they’re connected, they have a sense of consistency and continuity,” she says. It’s not just for plain Janes; people who feel good in earthy, more neutral colours are just “steadfast,” stresses Phelan. “They aren’t superficial, they’re just not feeling like they need to add anything to who they are. They’re comfortable.”

The right formula

Once you’ve got your colour sorted, think about the finish you want. Are you going to a laid-back lunch or something more glamorous? Consider how long you need the effect to last and how it will work with the rest of your make-up.

This is the lipstick you wear when you don’t want anyone to really notice that you’re wearing lipstick. Mavalia Sheer Lipstick, $23.50, is perfect for a subtle slick of colour.

A matte finish is right on cue for this season and keeps coloured lips muted if you’re going with bold eyes. You’ll need to make sure you keep your lips in tiptop condition though – the matte finish will accentuate any flakes or cracks immediately. Gorgeous Cosmetics Lipstick, $27, is perfect in Warm Mauve and Karma.

For kiss-me-quick lips with staying power, you can’t go past a glossy lippie. L’Oreal Paris Invincible KissProof Lipsticks, $26.95, come in a spectrum of shades that still look great post-smooch.

Nothing says vamp like firm, plump lips draped in rich colour. We use Naked Kiss Diva Lipsticks, $29.95, to boost circulation in the lips, smooth away lines and deliver double-pigment colour. The case comes with a handy built-in mirror too.

Just what you need for a night out dancing with the girls. The reflective particles in the colour will catch light and beam it back for lips that capture attention. Max Factor Colour Perfection Shimmers, $20.95, last like a lippie with the look-at-me factor of a shimmery gloss.

Lip service

Make sure your lipstick looks smooth and supple with these lip tips:

• Gently sweep a soft toothbrush over your lips to remove dry skin and debris
• Condition regularly with a moisturising balm
• Prime lips for colour with a base like Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Lip Service, $25

– Tracey Withers

Paula Phelan is an Aura-Soma Colour Therapist. An Aura-Soma colour profile aims to discover an individual’s unique qualities and identify colours that will best support the emotional, physical and intellectual self. Find out more about Aura-Soma at or call 1800 064 610.

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