Your Guide to Picking the Perfect Summer Lip Color

In the warm summer months, makeup tends to lean towards the barely-there variety. Sweaty temps and long evenings outdoors leave people feeling like they want to wear as little makeup as possible. However, there seems to be one exception to the rule: lipstick. When the rest of the makeup is minimal, it’s the perfect time to pop that lip color. While there’s obviously time for the perfect beachy nude, summer is generally a time when even the most conservative of makeup wearers will bust out their most vibrant colors. From sheer washes of color to full-on pigmented matte shades, there is almost nothing that is off limits in the lipstick department. The only question remains: How is one to choose from so many fabulous colors?

Top Tips:
In choosing the right lip color, it’s important to understand whether you have a warm or a cool undertone. People with warm undertones tend to have brown or hazel eyes, while people with cool undertones tend to have blue or green eyes. If your skin flushes pink in the sun, you’re likely a cool undertone. If your skin tans, then you’re likely a warm undertone. Lastly, you can look at the veins on the inside of your wrist for an indication. If the veins look more green, then you’re likely a warm undertone. If the veins are more blue or purple, you’re probably cool.

Understanding whether you’re warm or cool can help you pick the perfect makeup, especially lipstick. Warm undertones tend to look fabulous in oranges, terra-cottas or corals. Cool tones tend to look great in fuschias or purples. But if you’re nervous about figuring out your undertones, you can always go with a good ‘ol nude or a classic red.     


If your skin is on the warmer side, a coral pop could be the perfect during the summer. However, Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche in Pickled Ginger is so multi-dimensional that both warm and cool tones can embrace a coral shade. Creamy, intensely-pigmented and comfortable to wear, this just might be your go-to summer color.
Buy it now: Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Pickled Ginger from Bite Beauty, $26


If you find a great, neutral red, it almost doesn’t matter what your skin tone is. A classic red lip can look great on any undertone during any time of year. Kjaer Weis’s Lip Pencil in Classic is a neutral red that can be worn alone as a lip color, or under any of your favorite reds. It can be worn year-round and dressed up or dressed down. It’s basically the perfect lip pencil.  
Buy it now: Lip Pencil in Classic from Kjaer Weis, $30


There are so many nude formulas out there—from high-pigment mattes to buttery moisturizing formulas. In summer, a sheer wash of color with SPF in it can often be the perfect recipe. ILIA’s Maybe Baby is a warm nude with an SPF of 15 and loads of nourishing ingredients. It’s a lip balm, a lip color and an SPF all in one.
Buy it now: Maybe Baby from ILIA, $28


When you’re going with a pop color in the summer, pigment is of the utmost importance. Pick a color that’s packed with pigment so you won’t have to reapply all day long. SPELA’s Liquid Lip colors are matte and long-wearing, perfect for when the summer heat is at its highest. Its shade, Tinder, is the perfect marriage between a vibrant orange and a red that just about any skin tone can wear.      
Buy it now: Matte Liquid Lip in Tinder from SPELA, $18


Some companies know just what their clients are looking for in a summer lip. Tarte’s limited edition lipstick in Sea Goddess is the perfectly-pigmented fuschia for people who are cool toned. The wear is extremely comfortable because of the blend of nourishing ingredients like algae extracts, shea butter and olive oil. The result is a creamy, pigmented lip color that you’ll want to wear long after summer is over.   
Buy it now: Color Splash Hydrating Lipstick in Sea Goddess from Tarte, $21


Lisa Bensley is the founder of BeautyByBenz, a health and beauty blog that is really just an excuse to buy too much makeup. When she is not writing, she's probably boxing, obsessing over her Dachshund, Stanley, reading, or binge-watching Law & Order: SVU. Follow her (and Stanley's) antics on Instagram.