I’m sure you’ve heard that wearing a blue toned lipstick is supposed to make your teeth look whiter, and I’ve held this belief without question since I bought my first purplish pink lip-gloss at the Benefit counter, over 10 years ago.
I’ve been thinking about this piece of beauty advice for a while now, and the more I mull it over, the less sense it makes to me. I studied Art in University, and I’ve been a Makeup Artist for nearly 8 years, so if there’s one thing I can confidently say, it’s that I understand Colour Theory.
Basically Colour Theory is understanding what colours enhance each other, and what colours lessen the impact of each other. Today I’m going to talk about “complimentary” or “contrasting” colours. These are the colours opposite each other on the colour wheel and they are they enhance each other.
You can see that yellow and purple complimentary colours, and so are orange and blue, red and green, etc. So how does that translate to makeup? Well, we use it everyday in makeup application. If you have green eyes, chances are you love to wear copper eyeshadow because you can see it enhances the green and makes your eyes look bright and vibrant. If you have blue eyes you probably own heaps of bronzes and warm browns, because orange is your complimentary colour.
Conversely, most makeup artists would tell you to avoid blue eyeshadow if you have blue eyes, and green eyeshadow if you have green eyes. The reason being, rather than enhancing your natural eye colour, as a complimentary colour would, it will compete with it, and distract.
Have a look at this picture. The red poppies really stand out against the green grass. Can you imagine if the poppies were green too? You would barely see them.
So what does this have to do with making your teeth look whiter?
What the what?? Blue and orange are complimentary colours! So if anything, blue toned lipstick should make teeth look more yellow!
Consider it in the opposite direction. The much maligned orange colour, which we believe to make your teeth look more yellow, should in fact bring out the blue (which would definitely make them look whiter).
Hmmmm… So have we had it backwards this entire time? Does orange toned lipstick in fact make your teeth look whiter?
I decided to test it.
Apologies for the extreme close-up
Here I’m wearing Vegas Volt Lipstick by MAC, a very orange toned colour. I even pressed orange eyeshadow over the top to really amp up the colour. My teeth look OK, I don’t think they look overly yellow, or overly white. (I am very lucky to have fairly white teeth naturally though)
And here I am wearing an Inglot Lipstick #15, which you can see has a very blue purplish undertone in it. And you know what? My teeth look whiter!
Nope, I don’t understand it either. I was completely certain I had debunked a makeup myth and was going to change the way women chose lipstick forever. But no. I just proved it even further.
So there you go. I can’t tell you why or how this happens, it makes no sense at all from a colour theory perspective, but at least you can confidently wear your blue toned pinks now, knowing that your teeth do indeed look whiter.
What do you think of all this? I’m so confused…….
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