The Best Beauty Buys

Makeup Colors That Flatter Everyone

Real Simple applied hundreds of lip, cheek, and eye colors to virtually every skin tone and found 15 that truly flatter. 

Model wearing metallic eye makeup
Charles Masters
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Foolproof Ways to Find a Shade that Works

Blander isn’t always better. “Bright shades of coral or pink that mimic the color your skin naturally flushes always perk up your complexion—nudes can wash you out,” says Ashunta, a Mary Kay makeup artist.

But when in doubt, go for see-through shades. “Sheer makeup is much more forgiving, as it doesn’t contrast as much with your natural skin tone. So the same color can work on a variety of complexions,” says Denver-based makeup artist Michael Moore.

Seek out shades with violet or yellow tones. “These are considered neutral on the color wheel, meaning they blend with any hue,” says John Stapleton, a senior artist for MAC Cosmetics. This may sound challenging, but even an untrained eye can usually gauge what has a tinge of violet (like the Clarins quad on slide 7) or yellow.

Natural light is the best setting for evaluating any color. If you can’t leave the fluorescents, keep in mind that they can make reds look more blue-toned and make nude shades turn pale. “It’s better to buy a shade that seems slightly too bright because you can always blend to make it more wearable,” says New York City makeup artist Nick Barose.

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