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As I was gearing up to splurge on a much-anticipated American release—nudus lipsticks hailing from Australia—a frightful thing happened. I could not decide on a color.

It had nothing to do with the beautiful selection. Nudus has that in spades. Nor was it a concern over the wear—I had already seen nudus lipsticks outlast a delicious 4-course, vegan meal. It whittled down to the issue of which one would look best on me. So I settled on five. [Slaps head.] Some colors look fabulous, and one…well, my girls will be having fun with that one.

Sure, virtual shopping has its perks. Whether it’s the convenience of buying whatever you need without ever leaving your home or the vast selection that surpasses any shopping mall, the web has got it all—except for one thing. The ability to try before you buy. Many of us have learned to brave this challenge heroically, but when it comes to lip colors, it’s like shooting an arrow and not knowing whether or not it will hit the mark.

Some websites offer an easy return policy, but the smaller natural beauty market simply can’t afford to be as forgiving. Lipstick returns are rarely accepted once used. The words “Final Sale” seem unrelenting and harsh. Yet there they are.

So how are we supposed to get it right? Thanks to Galina for asking the question on Instagram. Her question prompted me to head straight to the beauty pros—the founder of BeauTeaBar, the lovely Marissa Waller, and international makeup artist and green beauty expert, Kristen Arnett, founder of Green Beauty Team.  Here are their go-to tips for choosing the right lipstick color.

 

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Marissa’s top 4 tips:

1.Go for a trusted brand

“If it’s not a trusted brand, or you’re not shopping from a trusted website, then I would inquire about the ingredients just to be sure there aren’t any toxic ingredients in the formula that you don’t want near your lips,” she said. (You might want to check out this enlightening post about the hidden toxins lurking in allegedly safe, lead-free lipstick here.)

2. Ask for swatches

Most websites are vested in finding you the right shade and will either sell or give samples to try. Marissa was a great help when I needed to find my nudus lipstick color and offered photos for me on Twitter with different shades mixed together. They each looked so good—well, you know the rest!

3. Ask questions

Marissa explained that she likes to know if it is a long wearing formula, and if it is hydrating. The answer to that can cue you in to the texture of the lipstick. If your lips are dry, a long-wearing formula that tends to be matte may not be the best option. (Note: that is not the case with the nudus lipsticks that manage to be long-wearing AND not make your lips pucker up like a plum in summer, thanks to the infusion of 27 active ingredients, antioxidants, and moisturizing oils.)

4. Get to know your skin tone

“Make sure to know which types of colors look best on your skin tone and inquire about the undertones of a particular shade you’re eyeing,” she said. “I prefer cooler tones as opposed to warmer tones, so I generally ask about that (or you may be able to get a good read from the available swatches).”

Not sure how to determine your undertone?  Kristen offers these tips

“If wearing yellow-ish colors makes you look sickly, then you probably have a yellow (warm) undertone,” she explained. “If wearing pink makes your face look like a ball of fire, then you have pink (cool) undertones. One way to know is to have your colors professionally done with draping. Another is to ask four to five different people who work in cosmetics to tell you what they think. Or you might already know that certain tones look far better on you than others, so go with that.”

Hop on over to these posts that prove that anyone can wear nudes and reds.

Kristen also suggests finding swatches of the lipstick colors—virtually.  Usually the manufacturer has the closest match, but getting a glimpse of the color in other lighting or on a person really helps. Often that can be as simple as doing a google search or checking for blog posts and reviews. Another feature that can’t hurt is having accurate color settings on the computer monitor.

The bottom line is: don’t sweat it. Lipstick can be a fun departure from your regular look, so indulging in some color play may be hitting the bulls-eye after all. Even when I buy a shade that doesn’t work, blending with a few other lipsticks or glosses can turn it into the exact color that does.

 “I truly think that anyone can wear almost any lipstick shade if they have the right makeup on the rest of their face—and the confidence to pull it off.” ~ Kristen Arnett, Green Beauty Team

Meanwhile, I hope to help you narrow down your options for five out of ten nudus lipsticks here.

 

IMG_20150205_195021Bold and beautiful: Survivor bathes lips in a bright wash of pink. Whip out your inner wild child.

IMG_20150206_075807Survivor

Halo

Halo, a soft pink nude that combines well with the other shades.

IMG_20150206_080537Just like Jade, a berry purple that deepens the more you apply it (the “X” has two to three layers, the “O” doesn’t).

IMG_20150206_07561027 Kisses, is it orange or is it pink? Yes. It is. Confused? Me too. Some lighting makes this look pink and others more orange/brown which makes it the perfect shade for many skin tones and a brand top-seller.

IMG_20150206_075320Dirty Diana, a chic 1950’s red that’s just the right shade this side of sassy.

IMG_20150205_165646Colors left to right: Just like Jade, 27 kisses, Dirty Diana,  Halo,  Survivor

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How about you? Do you have any tips or tricks to share about choosing lipsticks from a website? What nudus lipstick/s do you own and love? Have you shopped BeauTeaBar’s other luscious lip colors? Let us know in the comments!

*Full disclosure: affiliate links in post for products I use and love only!