Welcome to Do It Better. While we love all things skin care here at The Klog, we also adore makeup. In this series, we’ll break down the most popular makeup techniques, how you can execute them better, as well as the best products for achieving your perfect look. This week, we’re helping you home in on how to find a MLBB lipstick for your skin tone.
TTYL, SMH, IMHO, MLBB. Wait, what was that last one? Acronyms may have taken over the internet a zillion years ago, but it has taken beauty fiends a few extra years to come up with a must-have code of our own. Don’t worry, we made up for it by scheming up the most useful one ever (okay, except for LOL): MLBB aka My Lips But Better. After all, what better way to describe that distinct, soft, perfectly personal shade that dials your no makeup makeup game up to an 11 and keeps even your boldest eye looks from leaving the rest of your face zombified. It’s nude. It’s neutral. It’s the healthy, flushed lip color fate should have given you from the get-go, and it is one of the few items in your makeup kit that’s guaranteed to never ever go out of style.
It’s also insanely frustrating to nail. Too pink, too brown, too pale, too dark; the tiniest variation in shade can take a lipstick from that Goldilocks sweet spot to obvious, or worse, obviously sick (looking at you, washed out runway lips) It’s okay, picking exactly the right MLBB shade is totally doable, you just have to keep an eye on a few vital factors. This is how to find a nude lipstick for your skin tone:
Step 1: Find your undertone
“Undertone” is one of those terms that crops up in the beauty world all the time, and like skin types we all… kind of, pretty much know ours. Mostly. Maybe? Alright, so most of us aren’t completely confident of exactly where on the shade spectrum we sit, but that can be fixed.
There are lots of tests out there for figuring out what your true undertones are, and in turn, what makeup shades will work best on you (whether your veins show through in blue or green, whether you look best in gold or silver jewelry, etc.) but the easiest, most reliable test is already in your closet. Take a look at your wardrobe and you’ll probably notice certain colors popping up over and over again and some that don’t feature much at all. We all tend to gravitate toward colors that are flattering to our skin tones, so if your drawers are chock full of rich blues, emerald greens, purples, and fuschias then you’re probably cool-toned.
If you’re stocked up on chartreuses, golds, terra cottas, and reds, count yourself among the warm-toned. And since what’s flattering on your body is going to be flattering on your face too, once you know your tones, now you know what to keep an eye out for sorting through the neutral lipstick masses.
Step 2: Know your pigmentation
Everyone’s lips have different levels of pigmentation depending on how thick the skin is, how much melanin you produce, and where it’s all concentrated, so finding your ideal MLBB shade means you want a lipstick with enough pigment to make your mouth look distinct from the skin around it, but for a natural lip look, you also don’t want them to be too bright or dark and obviously “lipstick”-y. In most cases, the best option is to aim for a shade with buildable coverage like the Peripera Peri’s Cushion Lips or the chiffon formulas of the Etude House Dear My Blooming Lips Talk.
For those with minimal natural lip pigment, test out the look by aiming for an intensity two shades deeper than your skin (for a handy guideline, try looking at the inside of your lip) then add or subtract layers of color from there until the shade looks effortless. Others whose lips already rock a pretty intense shade may want to try subduing things a touch; pick a shade with slightly warmer, orange-y undertones which will help take down the contrast of your all-natural pop.
Step 3: Use your cheeks
Still not sure you’ve nailed a natural shade? Then it’s time to color outside the lines; way outside. To make sure your lipstick shade really hits the mark, test it out on that most famously flushed facial feature, your cheeks. Just dab the tip of your finger over the lipstick and then blend it onto the apples of your cheeks just like you would with blush. If the color comes across like something you might see after a workout session, then congratulations, you’re the proud owner of a perfectly real-looking shade. That’s right: MLBB.