The Best Lipstick Shades for Women Over 40

If you prefer a younger-looking pout
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated May, 2023
Best Lipstick Shades

Let’s be real—you can wear whatever lipstick color you want, whether it’s red, pink, orange, or rainbow! But if you feel like your dark tones are suddenly making you feel like a younger version of your mom is staring back at you in the mirror, you can always consider a lipstick shade that will help bring out your younger self. Do you know about the best lipstick color for over 40?

Remember that the best lipstick shade is one that you feel good in and that matches your skin tone (with the ultimate prerequisite being the one that makes you feel good!). If your lipstick matches your skin tone, the sky’s the limit on what color you can pull off. 

That being said, what is the best lipstick color for over 40? There are so many shades you can wear even as you approach middle age, so get ready to experiment with different lipsticks. We have your guide here for how to choose the best lipstick color when you’re over 40.

How Do Your Lips Change With Age?

Lips Change With Age

Like the rest of your skin, your lips will naturally become thinner, drier and more wrinkled with age. Most commonly, lips can look thinner and less plump.  

While that doesn’t quite sound like the future you’ve envisioned for your beautiful lips, don’t panic—the right lip products can help you show off your lips while making you look more youthful.

In addition to choosing the most flattering colors, it’s essential to choose lip products that are hydrating and consider those that contain SPF to protect your lips from sun damage. Excellent hydrators to look for include ceramides, shea butter, vitamin E and plant oils such as rosehip oil for smooth and moisturized lips that will help you look youthful at any age.

You can also consider exfoliating your lips regularly with a good lip exfoliator. It can help remove dead skin cells while softening and hydrating skin: the perfect priming practice before applying lip color.

The Best Lipstick Colors to Consider If You’re Over 40

The Best Lipstick Colors to Consider

First, a quick note on your skin’s tone and undertone, because the best lipstick color for over 40 will really depend on your unique skin tone and undertone.

Your skin has both a regular tone and an undertone. While there are generally six different tones (based on the Fitzpatrick scale) that your skin could be, there are only three undertones: warm, cool and neutral. Neutral undertones will have the same skin tone and undertone.

However, with the Fitzpatrick scale, keep in mind that there are certainly skin tones that fall outside this range. So simply choose the one that’s closest to your actual skin tone.

So what lipstick colors look great on women over 40 according to skin tone?

Firstly, Fitzpatrick types I and II (pale or fair skin) look best with:

Fitzpatrick types I and II
  • Peach or blush
  • Nude tones
  • Soft pinks or reds
  • Pinks with violet undertones

Secondly, Fitzpatrick types III and IV (medium-toned or olive skin) look best with:

Fitzpatrick types III and IV
  • Berry tones
  • Caramel or taupe shades
  • Nude shades
  • Reds such as rose or cherry
  • Mauve tones

Finally, Fitzpatrick types V and VI (dark brown or black skin) look good with:

  • Bright reds and corals
  • Dark brown or cocoa shades
  • Brighter pinks and purples
  • Darker reds such as rust or wine shades

And what about your skin undertone?

skin undertone

If you have a warm undertone: Avoid cool-toned lipstick and instead look for lighter colors with warm undertones, such as yellow or orange, or even a brown or copper lipstick. 

While you have a cool undertone: Avoid fiery hues, such as orange or bright red, and instead look for berry shades or lipsticks that have a subtle purple or blue undertone.

If you have a neutral undertone: You have it easiest because you can simply wear whatever color flatters your regular skin tone!

Shades and Finishes You May Want to Pass On

Shades and Finishes

There are a few shades and finishes you may want to pass on if you’re looking for the best lipstick color for over 40. 

  1. Very dark shades are generally not as flattering on women over 40. These shades can take away from your natural skin tone and make your mouth look smaller and darker (which is not necessarily a good thing, since lips can thin and look smaller with age). Dark shades may even accentuate natural skin imperfections, such as hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.

If you’re over 40 and love dark lipstick, don’t worry—you can still pull off your favorite shade. Just make sure your lipstick has hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or shea butter. And consider using a soft lip liner to help define your beautiful lips.

  1. If you have visible wrinkles on your lips, skip matte lipstick. Matte lipstick can still look great on women over 40. But if it doesn’t also hydrate your lips too, it may end up looking very dry, which can accentuate the dry skin and wrinkles that can come with aging. Instead, choose lipsticks that have a cream or glossy finish for best results.
  1. Are you one of those people who adore red lipstick? You don’t have to stop wearing gorgeous reds, but you may want to avoid cool-toned red lipstick, also known as blue-based red lipstick, as it may make you look older than you really are. Of course, if you love a good cool red and have a cool skin undertone to match, we say go for it!

Remember Lipstick Is About What You Love

Lipstick Is About What You Love

Like beauty, lipstick is about what you love and find beautiful, not necessarily about what others think looks good. If you have a signature shade you want to continue wearing well into your 40s and beyond, don’t let our suggestions stop you. Of course, playing around with new lip colors can be fun and provide a way for you to try shades you may not have known would flatter you!

What’s Your Favorite Lip Color?

Every person has that favorite lip color they are drawn to. So what have YOU found is the best lipstick color for over 40? Leave a comment below and let us know what shades you have found to be the most flattering for your particular skin tone and undertone!

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