post + photography by: amy nadine, graphic design by eunice chun

Lips come in many shades with some darker than others, regardless of your skin tone. My clients with darker skin tones tend to have darker lips or a dark line on the perimeter of the lip area. My client Krysten Ritter has very fair skin and raspberry red lips naturally. I also have fair skin but my lips barely have any pigment to them at all. So it’s the luck of the draw, really. But if your lips are naturally pigmented, you’ve probably struggled with lipsticks looking different on you than they do in the tube. If that’s the case, then this tutorial is for you! Grab your favorite lipstick and do a comparison of what it looks like directly on your lips versus what it looks like after these four steps. 


  • Your favorite foundation — I used MAC Face & Body Foundation on our model Ashley because it’s a cult classic offering shades for every undertone out there.
  • Sponge — I used the Beauty Blender pink egg-shaped sponge because it’s the best but you can use any non-latex sponge. Honestly if you haven’t invested in a Beauty Blender yet, you’re missing out on the prettiest foundation application ever!
  • Powder — I used Shiseido Pressed Powder but you can use pressed or loose powder that is translucent.
  • Puff — I used a Covergirl Powder Puff but you can also use one that comes with your powder.
  • Lip liner — I used MAC Lip Pencil in Redd (gorgeous on every skin tone).
  • Lipstick — I used Estee Lauder Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick but this technique will make any lipstick wear like its actual true color.


  1. Squeeze a pea-sized amount of foundation into the palm of your hand. Tap the sponge into the foundation to load it up then close your mouth and stipple (tap) the sponge over your entire lip area.
  2. Tap the puff into the powder to load it up then tap it all over the lip area as well.
  3. Outline and fill in the entire lip area with the lip liner.
  4. Go back over it with the lipstick.

If you follow this four-step process, you can neutralize your natural lip color and wear any lipstick in its true color. You don’t have to do this every day (we should all embrace our natural lip color and wear clear lip gloss with confidence!) but every now and then when you want your red lipstick wear like a true red, give this a try!