Should nails and lip color match?

hot pink lips and nails
Matching lips and tips are a hot trend again.

In 1952, Revlon launched its Fire and Ice Collection ad campaign starring Dorian Leigh, one of the earliest supermodels. Leigh, with her piercing blue eyes, long lashes and sophisticated sex appeal, donned a silver gown and flowing wrap of bold red fabric designed to mimic a Balenciaga cape.

In the ad, she positioned her hands near her face to highlight her matching deep red Revlon nail polish and lipstick. The iconic ad's tagline, worthy of Peggy Olson and the "Mad Men" crew, read, "For you who love to flirt with fire ...who dare to skate on thin ice." This "lips and tips" ad campaign kicked off a long-lasting beauty trend: matching your lipstick to your nail polish.


Although no longer a fashion must (it fell out of favor a few decades ago) the trend is now hot again. Many beauty companies are releasing lipsticks and nail polishes in the same color. Matching "lips and tips" is a fun way to create a bold or ladylike look – think "Mad Men" again. And it takes some of the guesswork out of makeup.

But there are other ways to coordinate besides being matchy-matchy. You can match either your nail or lip color to your outfit (like a red lipstick with a red dress and French manicure.) Or, you can coordinate your nail polish to your eye shadow. For example, if you're wearing smoky-colored eye shadow, wear a dark nail polish and downplay your lips by choosing a more neutral lipstick color.

How far you coordinate everything depends a lot on how dressed up you are. In jeans, you can wear any color lipstick and nail polish. But, if you're showing off a more polished, evening look, make it a point to coordinate your nail polish and lipstick with your dress.

When choosing lipstick and nail polish, always go for colors that work with your skin tone. If you have fair skin, go with nudes, pinks, sheers and pastels. For a more dramatic look, occasionally choose a pop of dark color to contrast your fair skin.

If you've got olive skin, choose polishes and lipsticks with gold, orange, red or yellow-based brown hues; avoid tones with blue bases. Berry, chocolate and wine shades will all look great on dark skin.

But no matter the style or season, the most important thing is to choose colors that fit your personality. If you're on the conservative side, you may want to stay away from flashy shades. But if your personality is more fire than ice, then by all means go for them!


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  • Adeeyo, Dara. "Trend to Try: Matching Lip and Nail Color." Marie Claire February 9, 2012. (May 4, 2012).
  • Bella Sugar. "Match Your Lips and Tips Like Lara Stone with These Combos." October 13, 2012. (May 4, 2012).
  • Hardison, Tamara. "Should You Still Match Your Nail Polish to Your Lipstick?" Yahoo. January 27, 2008. (May 4, 2012).
  • Douglas, Martin. "Dorian Leigh, Mutlifaceted Cover Girl of the '40s." New York Times. July 9, 2008. (May 9, 2012).
  • Seigel, Holly. "Vain Glorious: Revlon's Fire and Ice." NYTimes. November 10, 2010. (May 4, 2012).
  • Wall, Natalie. "Beauty trend: matching your lipstick to your nail polish." Cosmopolitan UK. April 24, 2012. (May 4, 2012).