Find Your Tribe

 

Hatch Tribe, women entrepreneurs

I love owning a business. It’s one of my favorite things about my life. It’s given me the freedom I crave, the confidence boost I needed when I started it in my mid 20s, and the opportunity to both give work to others and support myself. I can’t imagine ever working for someone else again! Being an entrepreneur is perfect for me and I have no doubt it’s what I should be doing.

But it can be mad lonely. I’m the sole owner of my company, so it’s been just me from Day One. Before I get too woe-is-me, let me first say that I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of the friends and family who matter to me, and I realize that’s not the case for every entrepreneur. I consider myself especially lucky that my father is a serial entrepreneur (he’s opened six businesses that I can remember), and my brother now runs a business my father opened. They are great resources for me because even though the beauty industry is seemingly very different from the real estate and property management industries they work in, there are similarities with the operational and expansion sides to these businesses. I also have a close friend who works in the beauty industry and owns her own business. It’s been great to have someone who completely understands almost the exact problems I encounter because of our industry and the similarities in our business models.

Even so, until recently, I never felt like I had a community of entrepreneur friends and contacts. I’m grateful for those three people I have, but three people is not the majority of the people in my life. (Like come on, I’m more popular than that.) And that’s where the loneliness comes in. I haven’t been sitting in a room crying for the past ten years, but I’ve felt it. It’s not loneliness in the sense of “I have no one to hang out with,” but more “I don’t have a lot of people I can relate to.”

So damn true.

Being an entrepreneur is career choice, but also a lifestyle choice. If you own a business, chances are your personal life and career life are interwoven. It’s unlikely that as an entrepreneur, you work eight hours, turn it off and go home to your personal life. (I know not all employee jobs are like that, but let me generalize for a minute.) If you broke my typical day into chunks, it would be Work, Personal, Work, Personal, Work, Personal (with the Work times being the longest) and repeat. And that’s seven days a week for me. It’s not the traditional work schedule, and I can tell that some of my friends and relatives (understandably) don’t get it.

It can also be hard to relate to non-entrepreneurs for a lot of other reasons, but you can read my Prep School series for more on that. What I want to talk about now is Hatch Tribe, an amazing group that I joined last year. You know me–I either love something or I hate it–and I love Hatch Tribe.

Let’s start at the beginning, because this isn’t Memento. (I love a good early 2000s movie reference that only 20% of my readers will get.) I moved to Charleston for my first snowbird winter in January of 2017. I became friends with a tall and witty attorney named Mairin, who I’m convinced is my long lost sister. She got me immediately, right down to the way I approach situations due to my entrepreneur status. (Like she gets mad for me when she thinks someone is wasting my time because she knows I’m already running at a time deficit.) At one point last winter, Mairin told me about the Hatch Tribe Speed Meet and Greet event she had seen on their Facebook page. I went to that event, and I was hooked.  I went to a few other events while I was there, and attended some virtual events (or watched replays) after I moved back to Rhode Island last spring. Everything was helpful, inspiring and valuable, so I continued to follow Hatch Tribe on Facebook, and joined their Facebook group

This year, Hatch Tribe created the Members Circle. It covers the four big areas that I think are essential for a community of entrepreneurs. You ready for this list format?

Advice. Got a question about social media? Accounting software? Hiring practices? If you can think up a question, someone in the Members Circle can answer you or direct you to someone who can. Every single question gets answered, so no one is left hanging. Do you have any idea how amazing that is? In many other parts of my life, I’ve found that people struggle answering direct questions. (So much so that I once wondered if a new punctuation mark replaced the question mark and I missed the press release.) A lot of the issues we come across as business owners are common issues, so even if someone doesn’t work in the same industry as you, they very well may have encountered the issue you’re facing. Or maybe, using my earlier example, an accountant in the Circle can recommend the best accounting software. I’ve been asking long winded questions in the Members Circle since I joined in February, and I’ve gotten tons of valuable advice. There are even topics that you can follow–like Growth, Marketing and Money, to name a few–so you can see what other people post about those topics. The level of organization in this group makes my soul happy.

Question mark
Is this thing on?

Education. You like to learn things to help improve your business, right? OF COURSE YOU DO. Maybe you have access to a ton of classes and the time to attend them in person, but if you don’t, you are going to love this. (And if you do, you’d get more of them in the Members Circle!) Each month in the Members Circle, there’s a new theme and mentor who works in an industry related to that theme. The Mentor of the Month and Hatch Tribe founder, Hilary Johnson, put out helpful 15 minute videos related to the theme, and also do an online masterclass that both connects the previous videos and delves more into the theme. So far I’ve learned a lot about Instagram stories and algorithms, social media content, SEO, perfecting the way we talk about our business to others, the fears that can hold us back in business, the importance of balance and more. If I wasn’t in the Members Circle, these are all things I would have had to research or take classes on myself, if I even thought to do so. But now, it’s offered to me in a way that is always clear and easy to follow, and I can ask followup questions. You find me a better situation than that. You can’t!

Women entrepreneur groups
That’s not me, but I am that happy when I’m learning stuff in the Members Circle.

Support. I’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of support from most of my friends and family in the ten years that I’ve had my business. My immediate family and closest friends have been unwavering in that aspect, and I appreciate that more than they will ever know. But now, with the Members Circle, I also have a group of girlbosses who are truly rooting for me (and I’m rooting for them). Need some examples? Every Friday, Hilary posts something encouraging us to share our wins from the past week. As entrepreneurs, we might not be used to stepping back and saying “I accomplished this” or “My company reached this goal” and taking time to appreciate that. We can do that in the Friday thread, plus give our support to everyone else who posts about their wins. (There’s also a whole “Celebrate” topic, so it’s not just a Friday thing.) Still not convinced? There’s no “Like” button in the Members Circle–because there’s a “Cheer” button. Try to not feel supported when people are cheering you! It’s impossible, like saying “Oh, no thank you” to chips and guacamole. There’s no cattiness in the Tribe–Hilary would shut that shit right down–and no feeling that you are being judged or doing something the wrong way. It’s 100% support, and not because people are trying to sell to you or recruit you. (In fact, there is only one area of the Members Circle where you are even allowed to promote.) If you’re craving support of your entrepreneur life, it don’t get no better. (If I have to get this song in my head, you do too.)

 

Just like that “Ocean’s 8” cast support, except some of us work from home in our pajamas several days a week…

Understanding. It’s real easy to feel misunderstood as an entrepreneur. If some of the people in your life don’t get or don’t like your entrepreneur lifestyle, can you really blame them? It’s not the norm. Only about 7% (depending on your source) of the US population owns their own business. I mean, damn. That’s some kind of rare disease statistic. You might have some people you are close to who aren’t entrepreneurs and get your lifestyle, although you’ve probably had to clue them in along the way. But in the Members Circle, everyone gets it because they are in it too.  This one is huge to me, because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to explain to my family and friends why I have to or can’t do something, or why I have to approach certain situations the way I do. And honestly, being in this group of only girlbosses adds another level of understanding. I know some male entrepreneurs and while I’ve gotten great advice from some of them, the level of empathy and the extent to which some truly listen is lacking. I’ve also found some male entrepreneurs to be condescending, and dismissive of my success because it’s in a female dominated industry. (Fuck those guys, though. If you don’t think the beauty industry is gigantic and growing like crazy, put down your golf clubs for a minute and do some research.) In Hatch Tribe, and particularly in the Members Circle, you don’t have to explain yourself. Everyone there is on the same page.

Entrepreneur meme
#entrepreneurjokes

I had a bit of a rough winter in Charleston this past year and Hatch Tribe–both due to the Members Circle and the friends I met through the Tribe that I spent time with–was one of the big things that got me through it. I’ve made some awesome, badass girlboss friends, and even thought I miss my weekly meetups with some of my them now that I’m back in RI, I still feel as connected as I did while I was in Charleston.

I really think if the Members Circle had been around when I first started my business, things would have gone a lot more smoothly for me. There were so many things I had questions about and needed input on in my early years, and I could have used the support and expertise of the Tribe. It’s still immeasurably valuable even as an owner of a ten year old business though, and there are people in the Tribe who have been in business longer than that. So no matter how long you’ve been paying those self employment taxes, the Members Circle can be beneficial to you.

This isn’t a sponsored post and no one asked me or even implied that I should write it. I wanted to because I appreciate Hatch Tribe, particularly the Members Circle, so much. To be fully transparent, there is an incentive for members who refer other people who join, but duh, every good business has some kind of incentive program. It’s not pushed on anyone in the Tribe (I actually had to look it up to remember what the rewards were). So yeah, I have an invite I can send people who are interested, but I’d be just as happy if you joined on your own. I wouldn’t write this post if I didn’t truly love Hatch Tribe. If you are a regular reader, you know I love promoting the things I’m into, and I’m not shy about saying what I don’t like. (Go ahead–try asking me about beauty influencers.)

As far as cost, joining the Members Circle is, I think, affordable for most entrepreneurs. It’s $34.99 (that’s what, a pair of pants from Express?) for a monthly membership, or $349.99 for an annual membership. One business-related class a month alone would likely cost you more than $34.99, plus you can get lots of free advice from people in the Members Circle who want to share what they’ve learned. And you can’t put a price on understanding and support. Plus, the membership fee is a write-off! (I checked with my accountant to confirm that.) Business owners love write-offs, don’t we?

If you’re a girlboss and you’re feeling unsupported or unsure about this whole entrepreneur thing, there’s a big group of us who want to help. So at least check out Hatch Tribe. Hope to see you in the Members Circle!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

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Look Breakdown

Chrissy Teigen makeup
Photo by John Shearer/WireImage

Chrissy Teigen has rocked some gorgeous makeup looks the past few years. I came across one from the 2016 Grammy Awards that I think is beautiful, classic and perfect to wear as a wedding guest, as it will work with any dress color. As it’s now wedding season pretty much everywhere, you might need this.

Here’s my take on what she had on. Some of this is verified info from Mary Philips, the makeup artist who did this look.

Foundation: Full coverage foundation. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation would work well. See how the center of Chrissy’s face looks highlighted? You can get that effect by using the foundation shade that matches your skin around the edges of your face, and one that is two shades lighter on the center of your face.

Concealer: As needed on the face and under eyes. It’s hard to tell where concealer went without seeing what someone looked like pre-makeup, because a good concealer should cover circles and blemishes and blend into the skin.

Powder: Powder all over to set. MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural Powder would do the job. For this look, I would apply it with a sponge to get more coverage.

Highlighter & Contour: There’s definitely some highlight on those gorgeous cheekbones. Mary used the Physician’s Formula Super BB #InstaReady Contour Trio BB Stick to sculpt Chrissy’s face. This multi-tasking stick has both contour and highlight sections, which I am guessing she applied separately with a brush.

Cheek Color: As luck would have, Mary also shared which two blushes she used on Chrissy for this look. The first one was Physician’s Formula Argan Wear Blush in Natural, which was applied to the apples of the cheeks, at the center of the hairline and lightly at the chin. Then on just the apples, Mary applied Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Blusher in Loveglow.

Eyebrows: Taupe brow powder to fill in sparseness/add shape where needed. I can see that the top of the brow was filled in to help with the shape and arch. Go with whatever color matches your brows for this, but don’t load it on. This look is not about the brows.

Eye Makeup: Mary said she used “warm bronzes and heated desert tones” for this eye makeup. I would go with MAC Eyeshadow in Swiss Chocolate for the initial color. This should be soft and very well blended. The shadow is extended past the outer corners of the eyes in a soft, uplifted angle shape. I would use a pencil brush to apply that same shadow at the lower lashline. On the lid, I would top Swiss Chocolate with MAC Bronze. Eyeliner is barely detectable, but I would guess some matte dark brown eyeshadow like Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Rich Brown was applied with a thin brush at the top lashline.

Mascara: Yes, top and bottom lashes. My go to is still Dior Diorshow Mascara.

False Lashes: She might have had a few small individual lashes on the outer corners, but you could achieve a similar look with just mascara.

Lipliner: Yes, same color as the lipstick. MAC Stripdown Lipliner would work. It looks different on the MAC site, but it is a creamy brown beige.

Lipcolor: MAC Velvet Teddy plus some clear lip balm like Glossier Balm Dotcom would do the job.

Because of the mostly neutral colors, this look appears natural and understated, but with the right hair and outfit, it looks very elegant. It’s technically an easy-ish look to do, but if you stay with the full coverage foundation, make sure to exfoliate first, and prep your skin with a moisturizer, serum or face oil (or whatever combination of those work for you) first. Full coverage foundation will catch on any dry areas and can cake up if you don’t work in thin layers.

This look is best suited for medium to medium dark skintones. The eyeshadow colors are especially complimentary on brown and green eyes.

If you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers, so comment away,

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Makeup Artist Dreaming: Who’s the Boss?

Do you want to be an Angela or a Tony?

Once you have gotten educated/licensed and decided which area or areas of makeup artistry you want to focus on, you’ll have to decide if you want to work for yourself or for someone else. If you want to work for yourself, as a freelancer, you will be responsible for finding your own jobs (and jobs for others, if you hire anyone). If you work for a company, the jobs will be provided for you, but you will have certain guidelines to abide by and possibly a specific product line or lines that you are required to use.

There are benefits and disadvantages to both approaches, but there is nothing that says you can’t change directions if you feel that particular setup is not working for you. Some artists who work for other companies have a tremendous degree of freedom and creative choice, and some freelancers may sometimes work as independent contractors for other companies. Initially going down one of the two paths will give you some direction to start with, but it doesn’t mean you career path is set in stone.

If you want to work for yourself, it’s up to you to be organized, disciplined and responsible. When you work for yourself, you don’t get sick days, paid vacation time, or someone to cover for you when you are unavailable. A freelancer makeup artist’s schedule is typically wildly unpredictable, which makes planning things in your personal life difficult. It is hard (and frankly unwise) to turn down a job because you want to go to the beach for a day when you don’t know when your next job will come in.

If you have some business experience, you will find that knowledge very helpful if you decide to work for yourself. You will be responsible for your own advertising, marketing, billing, ordering products, client communication, etc., so any experience in these areas will be beneficial. If you don’t have any business experience, try to find someone you know who can help you with the basics. Or consider taking a business class for entrepreneurs.

Another huge part of being a successful freelancer is keeping yourself motivated. No one can fire you if you decide to sleep until 11:00am every day and take off three days every week, but you will never build your business by doing that. You have to hold yourself accountable and get things done, and especially when you are starting out and don’t have a client base, it can be difficult to stay motivated. But it is critical to your success, so whatever inspires you to work hard—maybe it’s motivational quotes, books by successful entrepreneurs, or goals you want to accomplish—keep them at the forefront of your business. Working for yourself has its challenges, but it can be extremely gratifying. It also gives you the most creative choice and allows you to run your business the way you want to. This is a good path for makeup artists who are independent, motivated and organized.

If you want to work for someone, you have several avenues to explore. You can work at a salon or spa, for a cosmetics company, as an independent contractor for one or more companies, or at a makeup counter. Depending on the position and the company, there are varying degrees of scheduling freedom and travel available. With some of these jobs, you may have a regular schedule and possibly some benefits. You may also be collaborating or working with a team, which is a plus for those who work best with others.

Keep in mind that working for someone else also comes with certain rules and guidelines. The owner/your manager has the ultimate say, which can stifle creativity in some cases. Depending on the company, you may have to use only their products. This is great if you love every single product they make—especially if they give an employee discount, which many companies do!—but if you don’t like the line you are working with, it can make your job difficult.

Most the successful makeup artists who have been in the industry for a while end up as freelancers. Some started that way, while others worked for someone else until they felt ready to make the move. Don’t force yourself to do what goes against your nature and personality type, but also be open to making a change if you realize the situation you are in does not work for you.

Best of luck with your adventures in makeup artistry!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

 

Thoughts On Social Media For Business Owners

Is this a closeup of brain cells in 2018?

If you’re a business owner or freelancer and you’re ignoring all social media platforms, it’s going to be hard to survive. (Not impossible, but very difficult.) Like it or not, a strong online presence is necessary for your company. 89% of consumers do online research before buying a product or booking a service. You can’t ignore that number.

My company website has great SEO and I keep the site updated, but one of my goals for this year has been to improve the Allison Barbera Beauty Instagram, our two Facebook pages and this here blog. I’ve been taking classes and consulted with some great companies who specialize in digital marketing, because there is only so much this tech-challenged boss can figure out on her own.

I understand why there is an emphasis on digital marketing and specifically on social media because it can be a great way to reach a lot of people, but if I’m being real with you, I don’t love it.

Let me explain. I’m approaching this all from a small business owner standpoint, so some of this doesn’t apply to some people/companies you may follow (and this post has nothing to do with people’s personal accounts). I’m all for social media as a marketing tool used to promote books, shows, podcasts, tours, etc. My issue is with our society’s focus on social media and the deception of some people’s professional online presence.

I’ve got two main issues with social media, and I am ready to vent.

What About The Business? I am not negating the importance of social media, but I think some people forget that you also have to be good at running your business. A ton of Facebook likes or a beautifully curated Instagram feed doesn’t mean a business provides great services and/or products. A person or company could have 21 million followers but if they can’t answer an email and make it to client appointments on time, are they worth hiring? (By the way, you know a lot of people buy followers, comments and likes, right? Keep that in mind before you get impressed by what you see.) I would love to see some of the focus shifted back to how good a company is at the work they do instead of how pretty their feed is or how much they tweet.

The cool thing about online presence for a business is that you can make it as good as you have time (or money) for. But that’s not the entirety of a business. How is everything inside the business? Is it organized? Are there systems? Are employees being paid on time? Are taxes being done? Are client calls and emails responded to promptly? Are followups sent? How are those invoices coming along? Has an attorney reviewed all legal documents? What are they doing to improve the business? Are there plans for growth? I don’t care if a Facebook post has 1.3 million likes–if a business is not doing what people hire them to do, they are not a good business. Put that in your feed and Like it.

Are you spending hours putting filters on your photos instead of taking care of essential business tasks? If so, you, it’s time to rethink your priorities. #youcantonlydothefunstuff

Show Me Your Credentials. There are social media influencers in all industries. If someone is true working professional and expert in their field, then more power to them! My problem is with those–and we see this a ton in the beauty industry–who pass themselves off as professionals when they are not. Speaking again about the beauty industry, I’ve seen influencers who do hair/makeup on themselves that I know would look horrible in person. But through the magic of filters and retouching, they make it look good (or what many of their followers consider to be good). They often have no training, no professional license and no experience doing hair or makeup on anyone else. But they can Facetune the hell out of their photos and videos, then buy some followers to get their fan base going. New followers see these people with a huge amount of followers, so they assume the influencer knows what they are doing/talking about. But so often, they don’t and people think that what they are seeing/watching/reading is expert advice. Nope! They’ve been duped.

In the beauty industry, it’s easy to find out if someone is a real professional, like Lisa Eldridge, or what my father would call a “phoney baloney.” Check their website portfolio and/or IMDB page and you’ll figure it out.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not jealous or hating on anyone. Even with a team of 17 people, my company still turns down work weekly. We get that work from a decade of providing excellent service that has lead to five star reviews and a pipeline of client referrals that #cantstopwontstop. We have fantastic SEO, thanks in part to my website creators but also because people click on our site after putting in certain search terms and find what they need, which is key for high rankings in a Google search. So I’m not sitting over here, upset that my company isn’t getting business but my competitors with better social media are. We are doing very well, and I do consistently post on Instagram, Facebook and right here, dawg.

The thing is, it really doesn’t matter that I think too much emphasis is put on social media. I would never hurt my company by being a dinosaur and refusing to utilize social media. I’ll continue to post consistently and try to stay on top of things. I’m aware of what I could be doing better, which I will continue to try to improve. But if I have one hour to work on something, I am answering current and potential clients before I post a story on Instagram. Because if I don’t answer that new potential client then, but I post a story then answer the client hours later when I have time again, they very well may have booked with another company. (This could be specific to my industry, as a bride is 8x more likely to book wedding services with a vendor who responds within 15 minutes than one who responds four hours later, but I’ve found it to be the case with corporate and commercial inquiries too.)

You get this, or you’re under 35.

I don’t care what anyone says–I’m not willing to give up decent chunks of revenue and hurt our reputation as the most responsive beauty services company in RI because there might be 300 people out there who want to view a behind the scenes story. I will get them their story later, after actual real time clients have been responded to. My clients come first, but I don’t ignore social media. I prioritize clients and time sensitive issues, but it would be ridiculous to use that as a reason to ignore the social media platforms my client base uses.

Likes, follows, re-tweets, etc. are great, because they give you exposure. They certainly may evolve into clients/customers, and my company has benefited from that. All I’m saying is please don’t equate pretty pictures, likes or follows with expertise, excellent service or high quality products. Anyone with the knowledge or budget to pay a good social media company can make it look like they do well or know what they are talking about. But a true pro will sniff them out, and an annoyed pro will write a blog post about it…

There are companies who do a fantastic job running their company and their social media and to them, I give mad props. That’s an impressive accomplishment and one day in the near future I hope I’ll have the budget for a social media coordinator so that AB Beauty can knock it out of the park there too. But we will continue to provide excellent service not only the day of a job but before and after the services have been performed. Maybe we won’t have 100,000 followers, but if my team is happy, the business is growing and clients are still taking the time to leave us 5 star reviews, what does it matter?

I had to write about this because I have both heard about and experienced lackluster service from businesses who have beautiful and consistent social media. (I’m talking within and outside of the beauty industry.) As an entrepreneur and as a consumer, I’m not impressed by a person or company’s social media game if they can’t answer an email, return a call or provide great service. You can filter the hell out of that Instagram post, but if you dropped the ball on a time sensitive the project I hired you for but I saw two Facebook posts and an Instagram story while you seemingly ignored my question, you’re dead to me. (I know posts can be scheduled so it doesn’t mean someone is actively ignoring me, but it can feel that way.)

I’ve always felt I had a lot in common with Don Vito.

I want to be clear that I’m not knocking companies who provide social media services. I know a few who are awesome at what they do, and I recognize that social media has an important place in a small business’s marketing plan. I’m just saying, let’s not forget that a beautiful feed doesn’t mean a business is good, and a lot of followers doesn’t mean an influencer is an expert.

And with that, my vent is over…for now.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Lip Service: Part 2

Looks like someone found several lipstick colors that work on her.

So you’ve read Part 1 and you’re feeling good about your lipstick knowledge base. Great! Now you’re ready for Lipstick 202. Get that (lip) pencil out and take some notes.

It’s time to talk about color choices. Remember that time your friend was wearing a lipstick than looked so good on her, then you tried and it made you look sallow, tired and dull-skinned? That doesn’t mean you can’t wear lipstick, boo. It just means it wasn’t the right color for you, which could be due to several factors. Such as:

  1. Your Brow Color. Those face framing arches have their own color, and if that color (or the warmth or coolness of it) is different than the lip color you choose, it can look off.
  2. Your Hair Color. If you are someone who has tried a myriad of hair colors over the years, you already know that makeup looks different when your hair is lighter or darker than its natural color (does anyone even know their natural color anymore?). So that lipstick that makes you look sexy-vampy as a blonde can make you look like a straight out vampire when you’re raven-haired.

    Cameron knew how to change it up.
  3. The Rest of Your Makeup. Especially with a bold or bright lip color, the rest of your makeup has to be complimentary. A gray smokey eye might look perfect with a nude or light pink lip, but if you add an orange-red lip, it all goes to shit. The general rule is (and I’ll admit this can be broken if you do it right) that you should put the focus on one feature at a time. So if you want to do a watermelon pink lip, this isn’t the time to also do a glossy eye, electric blue winged liner and thick brow. (For what not to do, see: Instagram beauty influencers.)
  4. Your Skin Undertone. In the most basic sense, there are three skin undertones: warm, cool and neutral. Within those undertones, your skin can be more yellow, pink, beige, golden or peach. If your skin undertone isn’t the same as or complimentary to a lipstick undertone, sometimes it can work, depending on your hair, brows, the rest of your makeup and your outfit. But other times, it will look way off. When you are starting out with lipstick, it might be easiest to figure out your undertone then stay with lipsticks that have that undertone. This might need to be a blog post of its own…

    Any of these look familiar to you?
  5. Your Natural Lip Color. We all have a natural lip color. Lips contain a small amount of melanocytes (the cells that produce pigment and give our skin color) compared to the rest of the body, so blood vessels show through and give us a pink, red, brown or purple toned lip color, depending on our physiology. Consider it Nature’s Lipstick. But when you put a man-made lipstick over whatchu already got, that underlying color is going to change the way the lipstick looks. If your NL is a reddish pink or brown and you put a sheer or shimmery pale pink over that, the pale pink won’t be so pale or pink anymore. You can cancel out your natural lip color with the tiniest bit of foundation or concealer over your lips, but give that practice run or two before you debut it to the world.
  6. The Top You Are Wearing. Go grab a bold or bright lipstick you have as well as a white shirt and a black shirt. I’ll wait…. Okay, thanks. Now put on a black shirt and look at the lipstick. How does it look? Perfect or scary? Take a note of that, and repeat with a white shirt. Friggin’ game changer, right? The color that is closest to your face makes a big difference as to how your makeup looks (that’s why I ask brides to wear a shirt similar to the color of their wedding gown to their makeup trial). Play around different shirt and lipstick colors to see if there are combinations that work with each lipstick color. Sometimes there won’t be. Not every lipstick is for you. Think of it like dating, except easier and you don’t need to enlist your best friend’s help to decode texts your lipstick sent.

    If she wore that same lipstick with a black top, totally different feel. You’ll have to use your imagination for this one.
  7. Contrast. This is a real basic rule, but something to keep in mind–lighter colors are more of a contrast on dark skin, and dark colors are more of a contrast on light skin. A deep wine lip color is going to be way more obvious on someone who wears the lightest foundation shade than the darkest, and that pale pink lipstick from before–even if it’s applied after your NL has been cancelled out–is going to be more obvious on a darker skintone. So if you try that lipstick that looked fly on your friend but it doesn’t pop as much on you (or it pops too much, and not in a good way) it might be because of the contrast.
  8.  Your Hair Style. Ok, so your brow color, hair color, the rest of your makeup, skin undertone, NL, skin and lip color contrast and clothing are all working beautifully together, but somethin’ ain’t right. Is your hair pulled away from your face? Take it down. Is your hair down? Put it up. Your hair style is part of your overall look and sometimes it needs to be tweaked to work with everything else. For example, I have dark brown, almost black hair with blue ends. My eyebrows are black and my eyes are hazel, veering towards the green side most days. If I go for a dark berry, burgundy or oxblood lip color and my hair is down, things can get Elvira-y real quick. But pull my hair up into a top knot? The Halloween feel disappears. If you have short hair, this up or down thing won’t be an option, but for the rest of us, keep it in mind as you dabble in the lipstick arts.

    Bey knows.

Here are some very general lip color choices that work on a different eye and hair color combinations.  Take the eight factors above into consideration too, but this can be a good starting point if you don’t have any lipsticks, or any lipsticks that look right even after trying different hair styles and clothing colors.

  1. Brown Eyes & Brown Hair: Deep pink, fuschia, coppery tones.
  2. Brown Eyes & Blonde Hair: Peachy nude, deep pink, mid-tone pink.
  3. Brown Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, pinky nude, sheer wine tones.
  4. Blue Eyes & Blonde Hair: Petal pink, orange red, oxblood.
  5. Blue Eyes & Brown Hair: Deep red, blue toned pink, petal pink.
  6. Blue Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, coppery tones, orange red.
  7. Hazel Eyes & Brown Hair: Coral pink, berry tones, wine tones, true red.
  8. Hazel Eyes & Blonde Hair: Peachy nude, mid-tone pink, wine tones.
  9. Hazel Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, coppery tones, berry tones.
  10. Green Eyes & Brown Hair: Berry tones, deep red, pinky nude.
  11. Green Eyes & Blonde Hair: Wine tones, petal pink, peachy nude.
  12. Green Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, coppery tones, orange red.

If you’re more of a visual learner, I found a few good articles with pictures to show you how different lip colors can look on different people.

  1. This Buzzfeed article does a good job showing four different skintones and coloring, although I wish they threw a redhead in the mix. It’s partly a review of certain lipsticks, but the pictures alone tell the story of how different the same lipstick can look on varying skintones and coloring.
  2. There is some bad makeup and heavy editing in some of these pictures, but this article shows several different colors on different skintones.
  3. These two girls with totally different hair, eye and skin colors have an Instagram account dedicated to showing how different lipsticks look on each of them! I love this idea.
  4. This article shows several women wearing one of MAC’s most popular lipsticks.
  5. And one more from across the pond.

I think you’re now ready to find the right shades for your coloring, and figure out which shades look better with certain shirt/dress colors and the different hair styles you rock. The right color lipstick can emphasize your eye color, brighten up your face and make you sing “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me” to yourself. (Here’s the video if you’re feeling nostalgic for 2005.)

Have a beautiful day 🙂