Olive complexions are all too often misunderstood or miscategorized, and therefore become victims of makeup mix-matches, even by makeup mavens. To figure out the best lipstick for olive skin, we wanted to give you a closer look at the color subtleties in olive skin. We then separate the dull from the dope in the best lipstick colors for olive skin types. Here at Mented, we understand the importance of having unique makeup for women of color everywhere, and that’s why we created a variety of lipsticks for women of color and help guide you to finding your perfect match.
What is an Olive Skin Tone?
Olive skin is generally understood to be a skin tone that is tan, or light to moderate brown, with greenish undertones. Women with olive undertones often - but not always - have Latinx, Asian, Mediterranean, or sometimes Middle Eastern ancestry.
When analyzing your skin tone, keep in mind that there are two key aspects to it: the surface color and the undertone. The surface color is called the skin tone and is usually described as fair, tan, medium, or dark. Your undertone, however, is the muted hue beneath your skin. The undertone falls into one of three categories:
- Cool undertones - have red, blue, or pinkish tones
- Warm undertones - have orangish, peachy, honeyed yellowed or golden tones
- Neutral undertones - a mixture of both cool and warm undertones
There is another undertone category, not always recognized, called an olive undertone. Olive undertones are sometimes considered neutral, but other times are included in the warm undertone category and described as yellow-green.
Given the different categorizations of olive skin tones, it makes sense why it’s been difficult for olive-skinned women to accurately color match makeup to their complexion. However, learning more about your skin tone and undertones will provide you the right direction for finding your best lip colors!
Celebrity Examples of Olive Skin
Oftentimes when people think of olive skin tones, a few popular celebrities will come to mind that have come to be associated with that complexion, such as Eva Mendes, Jessica Alba or J-Lo. All of these women are classic examples of a tan or light brown skin tone with a greenish undertone.
However, it’s important to note that you can also be fair or dark skinned and have a gorgeous olive glow too. A few examples on the lighter side are Mila Kunis, Olivia Munn, and Penelope Cruz. On the other side of the spectrum, Zoe Saldana, Gabrielle Union, and Lauryn Hill are darker skinned ladies with lovely olive undertones. What this variety of examples show is that your apparent skin tone doesn’t always correspond with your undertone. This is why it’s especially important to identify your undertone when making makeup decisions.
If you aren’t sure of your undertone, try an easy at-home test or use an online shade finder. If you’ve done an undertone test before, maybe try again with an open mind just to be sure - olive undertones can be easy to miss. Identifying your undertone is an absolute must before picking out lip color - or any makeup.
The Big Takeaway: Look for Warm Tones
The mixture of green and yellow undertones in olive skin can look sallow if the wrong makeup shades are applied. To avoid this, look for lipstick colors that downplay the green tones and amp up the warm tones in your skin.
Here’s an overview of the main lipstick color categories and specific shades that work best on olive skin:
Berry Shades - On the deeper end of the spectrum, plumbs and berry shades are a dream on olive skin. For something vampy, look for darker tones with notes of chocolate in them. Ladies who prefer something less brooding and more vibrant should keep an eye out for raspberry and claret - both real winners on an olive complexion.
Brown Shades - When it comes to brown hues, olive-skinned ladies have their pick. Brown shades with hints of caramel can warm up an olive complexion, especially a lighter or warmer one. Cooler hues, like a taupe, are striking on darker olive skin. Similar to the berry shades, an olive-skinned gal can go towards the deeper, chocolate end of the spectrum - the yellow in your complexion can stand up to a rich, coffee hue.
Nude Shades - This is the category of lipstick colors that can get trickier for ladies with subtle hints of green in their complexion. In the wrong shade, a nude lipstick can look too light, too pink, or cakey, as if you coated your lips with concealer. Generally, you’ll want to stay away from shades heavy on the pink. Instead, look for a nude lip color that leans more towards the brown end of the spectrum. Mented makes nude lipsticks for brown skin and olive skin with the perfect ratio of browns and pinks.
Red Shades - Rock a red lip shade leaning towards orange or yellow, rather than blue. Warm red shades, along the lines of crimson or cardinal, will complement your skin’s warm notes. Applying a matte lipstick like Mented’s Red & Butter Matte Lipstick, a brighter red with yellow undertones, is perfect for olive skin.
Bright Shades - Again, warmer is the way to go with a bright, bold lip color. Just about any orange shade - from eye-popping electric to a subtle deep apricot - will turn heads. Corals, magentas, peachy pinks and deep roses are fun, flattering colors to play with on your jade-touched complexion.
Makeup for Every Shade of Beautiful
Mented is a makeup line made by and for ladies whose darker skin tones were traditionally left out of the quality makeup market. We see you and we want you to look your best, which is why we’ve made sure to create the perfect lipstick color match for you! Check out our velvety lipsticks - and foundations and eye shadows too - designed with your perfect shade of beauty in mind.