Ever notice how your face is instantly brightened just by applying a red lipstick? Lips are the easiest feature to play up, but the impact is long lasting. Even with a dramatic smoky eye, applying a clear gloss or nude lipstick makes the entire look complete. “Changing up your lipstick is a really great way to update your look,” says Stephanie Anne Daga, founder and creative director of BlushPretty: Makeup and Hair Artistry in Toronto.

We agree, and asked Daga to share her expert advice on why you should switch up your lipstick shade each season, and how to do it properly.

1. Upgrade your look—on a budget

Trying out a new lipstick shade is hands-down one of the easiest ways to transform your look each season without the huge time or financial commitment (like investing in a designer handbag, let’s say). “Whatever your budget, you can find a way to stay on trend,” says Daga about finding a lipstick that meets the seasonal shift to everything from nude to deep burgundy shades this fall.

2. Find your perfect formulation
We all have a go-to rosy or nude lip shade for daily wear. But if you want to upgrade to a deeper, sophisticated look at night, you have to find the right formulation that suits your lifestyle—think glosses versus creamy matte lip shades, deep stains or sheer balms. “Finding a shade that suits your undertone is number one,” insists Daga.

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A trick to detecting your undertone is to hold both silver and gold jewellery up against your face, and see which is most flattering. (If silver looks best, opt for cooler lip shades, while gold highlights warm undertones.) Next determine what kind of coverage you’re looking for in a lipstick—either full and opaque or bright and glossy. “Nailing down what you like out of the two will help you find more success in switching up your lipstick shade,” she says.

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3. Bump it up
Transitioning from a berry gloss to a deep red lipstick at night is an easy way to brighten up the face. But make it a gradual switch. “It’s all about taking it step by step and not doing the full jump,” explains Daga. “Women often scare themselves and put the idea of changing up their lip shade on the back burner.”

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To commit to the switch, start with a sheerer formulation first, like a merlot stain as opposed to a velvety matte red lipstick. “The key is to stick with a formulation you like, then bump it up with the colour,” says Daga. “Then you can work your way up gradually to an opaque lipstick.” Opt for a lip pencil that works double duty to shape and colour in lips. Daga recommends Nars lip pencils or Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm for a colourful way to upgrade your lip shade on budget.

4. Or tone it down
The same rules of gradual transition apply when dialing down your red lipstick to a neutral tone. “Don’t go bare all in one shot,” says Daga. Instead, step down a shade or two. If you’re used to a creamy red, go for a pared-down version in a lighter formulation. “Try a softer rose or go into a gloss,” she suggests. “It’s all about how comfortable you feel.”

5. Get a new signature shade
If you have a regular lip shade, now’s the perfect time to switch it up, considering the lush mix of berry and merlot shades now in season. For a brighter hue than you’re used to, opt for a glossy formulation (we love Maybelline New York Color Elixir liquid lip balm, which launches in January).

“Women are becoming more comfortable with colour,” says Daga, who adds that every woman should own some variation of a red lipstick. But if you’re looking for a new statement lip? “A brighter, bolder hot pink,” she says.

Read more:
50-plus fall lip colours

The best nude lipsticks
Makeup tips: How to create a perfectly stained lip

Beauty basics: The best makeup primers