Miss Matchy: Is wearing matching shades OK?

While wearing matching nail and lip color can look classic, it's easy to go too far with this idea.
While wearing matching nail and lip color can look classic, it's easy to go too far with this idea.

Your makeup should match your skin tone. It could match your clothing, or your hair color. But, say, should your lipstick match your nail polish? Should your makeup match with ... itself?

To get to the bottom of this, we turned to the professionals: Revlon. Their advice? First, answer two questions: Have you ever danced with your shoes off, or wanted to wear an ankle bracelet? If you answered yes, according to Revlon's "Fire and Ice" ad campaign, you might be the kind of person interested in a new beauty trend: color coordinated lips and fingertips. At least, that is, in 1952, when the campaign ran.


Today, we spend about $34.5 billion a year on makeup (that's including makeup for eyes and face, lipstick and nail polish, and that's spent globally) [source: MarketLine]. That's a lot of makeup. We mix and match and try out new trends from color mascara to glittery powders. But when we swirl a brush into a new eye shadow and twist open a new lipstick, should those shades be color coordinated, or a la carte? Sometimes, if the winds are currently blowing the trend our way, yes, it is OK to wear matching shades.

One of the most popular matching makeup trends is the coordinated lips and tips combination, a match considered classic and sophisticated. Matching your lipstick with your nail polish is an easy way to steal from the glamorous look of the 1950s.

Current fashion trends show models with highly pigmented, bright and saturated colors on their lips and nails (and sometimes lips, nails, cheeks and eyes). While this look isn't for the timid, just remember one thing if you're ready to give it a go: If you're wearing the color-coordinated look and you're wearing bright colors, it's OK to match within the same color family rather than all one shade such as plum or all lavender. For example, plum, grape, lavender and violet are all colors in the purple color family, and can be mixed and matched on your pout, your lids and your nails. Alternatively, those three-in-one (eyes, cheeks and lips) products are a quick and easy way to try on the trend without busting your makeup budget. Don't mistake the matching shades trend as a bright or colorful makeup trend, though. The monochromatic look can also mean natural or neutral shades, such as a healthy glow from a soft peach palette applied to the eyes, cheeks and lips (and nails, too, if you must).

Since Revlon first gave us the ability to match our lips and fingertips, the trend has come and gone and come again.

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More Great Links


  • Harvard Business School. Baker Library. "Lehman Brothers Collection -- Contemporary Business Archives. Revlon, Inc." (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/lehman/chrono.html?company=revlon_inc
  • Hebert, Emily. "Summer makeup trend: Monochromatic color." Elle. 2010. (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/summer-makeup-trend-monochromatic-color-452071
  • Jackson, India-Jewel. "The Epitome of Pared-Down Pretty: Bronzy Matchy-Matchy Makeup." Glamour. 2012. (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.glamour.com/beauty/blogs/girls-in-the-beauty-department/2012/08/hilary-duffs-peachy-matchy-mat.html
  • MarketLine. "Global Make-Up." 2011. (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.reportlinker.com/p0171556-summary/Global-Make-Up.html
  • Panych, Sophia. "Makeup Ideas: Coordinating Lips and Nails." Allure. 2012. (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.allure.com/beauty-trends/blogs/daily-beauty-reporter/2012/06/makeup-ideas-coordinating-lips-nails.html
  • Revlon. "Fire and Ice." 1952. (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.beautybombshells.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/1952-Fire-and-Ice.jpg
  • The Huffington Post: Stylelist. "What We're Trying Now: Monochromatic Makeup." 2011. (Sept. 14, 2012) http://main.stylelist.com/2011/07/21/what-were-trying-now-monochromatic-makeup/
  • US Weekly. "Spring's Top 10 Beauty Trends." 2012. (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-style/pictures/stars-spring-beauty-trends-2010182/6919