Finding the perfect lipstick can be like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack and just about as much fun, especially when you're faced with a bewildering range of reds, pinks, browns and purples and have no idea where to start.
But according to beauty journalist Alice Hart-Davis, the best thing to do is eliminate by trial and error.
"There are a few rules – such as, if you have a cool skin tone you should be better off with peachy and pinky colours, [rather] than rosy browns that suit warmer skin tones. It all depends on what looks right with your particular complexion," she explained.
You will also need to consider what colours suit your personality. "Some people love nothing more than rocking a bright red lip, while others can't bear to wear anything so attention-grabbing, however much it suits their skin tone," the beauty expert said.
Things like the colour of your teeth will also influence your lipstick choice, as certain orange or brown shades can make a smile look yellow, while coating lips with blueish undertones – plum, wine, violet and pink tones – can brighten up teeth.
Ms Hart-Davis also stresses the importance of texture when selecting the right lipstick, as this effects how the colour turns out.
"A sheer, shiny lipstick will give just a hint of colour, so this can be a good choice for anyone who feels cautious about bright colour, whereas a thick, creamy lipstick packs more of a punch colour-wise."
Once you've picked out a shade that complements your skin tone and goes with your personality, the next step is to ensure it goes on properly, for which you may need a lip liner.
"If you are going to wear a lip liner, it's not a bad idea to use it to shade in the lips too, before you apply your lipstick. That way, as the lipstick wears off, you are left with a bit of colour," the beauty writer added.
Don't be tempted to draw your liner slightly outside your natural lip-line, as this is "rarely a good look".
Just make sure you blot all excess colour off your lips with a tissue before walking out the door, to minimise the number of lipstick rings on wine glasses or giant kiss shapes on your boss's cheek as you sashay into the office Christmas party.
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