If you're new to lipsticks, try filling in your entire lip with a nude lip pencil first before applying a sheer pinky-nude lipstick on top. The lip pencil will act as a base to help the lipstick stay on for longer. (Lau says MAC's Lustre Lipsticks are sheer and easy to wear. She recommends the shade Sweetie if you're fair, or Freckletone if you're more tanned.)
Compliment your skin tone with this simple guide:
Fair skin with yellow undertones: blue-red, light pink and light peach
Avoid: dark plum and caramel
Tanned skin with yellow undertones: red, orange-red and apricot
Avoid: blue, pink and purple
Fair skin with pink undertones: berry, wine red and deep plum red
Avoid: cool tones like blue-pink and mauve
Olive skin: deep red, caramel and brownish-red
Avoid: pinks that are too cool or light, pastel shades, and orange
Dark skin: dark brown, brown-red, deep plum, and dark berry
Avoid: mauves, pinks, orange, orange-reds, pink-reds, and pastel shades
If you're not ready for lipstick yet, lip glosses are a good way to transition into wearing their bolder sisters. Lip gloss has a wider range of colours, and because it's sheer, it's more forgiving. Even a shade you'd avoid in a lipstick might look great on you as a lip gloss. It's only make-up - if you don't like, just wipe it right off.
Don't forget your eye make-up will affect the colour you should wear on your lips. If you're going for a dramatic look - like a smoky eye - then keep your lips neutral, and maybe glossy if you still want that extra wow factor. But if your lips are the stand-out feature - in a bold colour, for example - then keep your eyes simple, with just a flick of eyeliner along the upper lid and a bit of mascara.
DO keep your lips well conditioned to avoid flakiness and an uneven application.
DO start off with a natural lip shade for your skin tone to get used to having product on your lips.
DO apply a lip pencil as a base before lipstick for an even and long-lasting look.
DO let a professional make-up artist show you the simple way to apply your lip make-up, and then practise it on your own. You'll be your very own make-up artist in no time!
DON'T start with a lip colour that's too extreme - think bright reds, purples or neon oranges - until you are confident with your make-up skills. (Bolder colours are trickier to apply and easier to mess up.)
DON'T underestimate make-up tools! A lip brush can help with a more precise application, and is perfect for creating bright, classic looks.
DON'T stick with one lip colour! You'd be amazed at the number of colours that will look good on you. Make-up can be washed away, so don't be shy.
DON'T apply gloss right to the edge of your lips when wearing a bright lipstick underneath. The gooey gloss can make the lipstick run beyond the lines of your lip - très embarrassing!