No7 blazed a trail a couple of years ago when they were the first company - under then creative director Lisa Eldridge - to create technology that chooses your foundation shade match for you. When I hear people say that they're going to a makeup counter to get their shade matched, I always cringe a little. There are so many competent makeup artists out there who could shade match anyone in their sleep. But I've never been correctly shade matched by a makeup artist on a counter - ever - and I trained as a makeup artist!
I've been through the process many, many times, but my pale skin seems to baffle counter artists, and instead of telling me that they just don't have a shade that will work for me, they tend to try to force a match by putting on the wrong colour, and then pretending it doesn't look horrific.
If you want some evidence of this, look here at a matching I underwent which is referred to in Beaut.ie HQ as 'Loompagate'. It was very funny, yes, but it isn't what you want to happen when you're genuinely looking for the right foundation.
When human error fails you, you can always put your faith in a machine, and No7's colour matching doohickey does not make mistakes. Certainly, it will match you to a shade in the No7 range closest to you, so if you are an outlier in terms of your skin tone (ie with rarer colouring), the match may not be 100% perfect. It won't look wrong, though, and for almost everyone, it will match you to the shade that's just right for you.
The success of their shade matching service has led them to branch out - they'll now match you to your perfect lip colour in the range. You can go instore - I went in to Boots in the Crescent Shopping Centre in Limerick when I was visiting with the Mammy - and get matched. No7's counter artist there - Maria - was so nice, friendly and helpful that I feel as though I have to tell No7 here and now to give her a raise! She used the magic machine to find my foundation match - which is always the lightest one in any range - Calico, and from there she explained how I can find my lipstick match.
The lipstick colour ranges are broken down into reds, pinks, plums and corals, and there's a handy card in-store for each foundation shade which lists all the lip colours that will work with that shade (see picture).
If you can't be bothered to go in store (you lazy thing, you), you can play around online - provided you know your foundation shade, you can click on the colours recommended for your foundation shade and see what they look like on a face of your skin shade with an obliging set of lips to bedeck with trial colours.
After poo-pooing all the pinks - I just don't like pink lipstick on me all that much - I decided to go for Brick Red, which is a properly loud shade, and I love it. The only drawback is that there are - as far as I can see - no actual nude shades in the No7 range. If you don't like nudes, you won't mind a bit, but I love them. None of the pink shades are nude-toned or understated. A pink lip isn't an everyday, pared-back lip colour. At least, not for me. So that's a disappointment.
Apart from that one drawback, I'm impressed by the service and it will really help you if you're baffled by the notion of trying to figure out which colours to wear! It's free - you have nothing to lose by giving it a go.
What do you think of a lip matching service - gimmick or godsend? To the comments!