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How To Swatch Lipsticks

Harlotte Cosmetics Brand Image

The beautiful range “Harlotte” by Michelle Crofts is exquisite. The lipsticks are custom formulations and the scent is subtle like those little musk sticks we got a kids here in Australia. The tubes are pearly pink and her colours epitomise the perfect colour selection. There are light nudes, pink nudes, warm nudes, medium nudes, brownish nudes – she has the nude lips covered. Harlotte have also introduced the bright mattes as well and these are so pigment right it’s just crazy.

So you can imagine how happy I was to get a bundle of all the shades, as Michelle has asked me to create colour swatches for her print and digital needs. I’ve done this for a number of brands before, so I have a system and wanted to share it:

  1. Create a table in Word or Pages and print it out – 2 columns, one for the shade name and one for the swatch itself.
  2. Write down all the shade names and literally draw on the paper with the lipstick. If you have a pot of colour, use a cotton bud (Q Tip) and draw it on.
  3. If you are wanting this as a permanent record, laminate the sheet so that the listick doesn’t go everywhere.
  4. Photograph a swoosh of a light shade, mid shade and dark shade so you can colour match it within the same tonal values in Adobe Photoshop (CC 2015 is my version). Or you can probably find a stock image of a swoosh that you can use and simply change the lightness and contrast to make a light, medium and dark shade that looks realistic.
  5. Select all of the white around the swatch and invert the selection, then create a clipping path, so that you only change the colour of the swatch and the background stays white (or if you are showing the swatch on black, contract the pixels so that none of the white is visible and you don’t get a halo of white on the black background.
  6. Turn your path into a selection, then, using the hue/saturation tool click “colourize” and move the sliders, holding your swatch next to the screen, until you have the perfect match. Save it is the shade name and add the suffix “sw” so you know it is a swatch.
  7. Repeat this for all the colours and voila, you have a swatch library you can resize down for web or use as high resolution for print.

This is how I am spending my weekend, and I will post one I am done. Oh and if you want to stock up on these lipsticks, go to – if you have time the flash site is stunning.



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