I love wearing bold lip color. I don't do it often, but when I do, I like to go all out. I'll wear a dark burgundy hue to dinner, a vivid cherry red to a holiday party, and an electric pink on a night out with friends. However, as I, unfortunately, know all too well, there can be an unforeseen side effect of wearing lipstick—that is, your teeth look a bit yellow.
Blame it on my incessant coffee drinking (I refuse to start the day without at least one cup), but every so often, I'll swipe on a bold lipstick only to grimace at my reflection in the mirror. No one—myself included—wants yellow-tinged teeth. While the right teeth-whitening products can certainly help, so can choosing the right shade of lipstick. Yes, really. The shade you choose can either make your teeth look whiter or do the opposite.
To avoid choosing a shade that dulls my smile ever again, I reached out to makeup artists. I wanted to know which specific shades of lipstick they swear by for making teeth look whiter and brighter. And let me tell you right now, their recommendations didn't disappoint.
First, let's talk about why each shade of lipstick matters. According to Nick Lujan, Kevyn Aucoin global director of artistry and education, "Color choice can make a big difference in how bright your teeth appear. It has to do with the color next to and reflecting off your teeth when you smile. It comes down to basic color theory. Opposite colors on the color wheel cancel each other out."
"The three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue," Lujan explains. "If your teeth are a bit stained (very common), chances are that they appear yellowish. You want to move directly across the color wheel from yellow to spot colors that would work to brighten up when partnered with your smile. In makeup, the goal would be to choose shades of lipstick that contain a bit of blue/purple in their base. Opting for a bold blue red over a terra-cotta or brick red will be your best bet. You can also use variations of those shades, like a cool-tone pink or mauve."
Code8 global makeup artist Sasha Ghodstinat, agrees, saying, "If you want the illusion of whiter-looking teeth, wear color with a cooler undertone, a color with more blue than yellow in it. Blue is the opposite of yellow so will make your teeth look whiter and brighter."
On the flip side, the makeup artists recommend avoiding shades that contain yellow as a base, those orangey-reds I love so much (sigh). Lujan references certain brown and coral shades, specifically, since they "can tend to make teeth look a bit dingy."
Shop 15 Cool-Toned Lipsticks
Ghodstinat says this is one of her favorite lipstick shades. "It's a beautiful fuchsia pink, and not only does it give the illusion of whiter teeth, but it's also universally flattering no matter your skin tone," she says. "This a color that will enhance your mood and give you that extra boost, day or night."
This cool-toned berry color is so pretty, and this high-pigment formula offers the prettiest shiny finish.