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How to Find the Best Dark Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

April 05, 2019

Just because spring is here doesn’t mean you can’t opt for darker shades in your wardrobe and your makeup choices. While peach, pink, and coral lip colors are totally in, we’re still equally excited over vampy shades of plum, oxblood, and burgundy. These sultry colors are no longer reserved for gothic makeup looks. So, why not inject some edge into your daily lipstick rotation by rocking a dark lipstick this season? Of course, just like with lighter lipstick shades, not all dark hues are created the same—you have to find the best burgundy lipstick (or any other dark lipstick color) specifically for your skin tone. Don’t be afraid to give these dark shades a try. Follow this guide on how to ease into the dark lipstick trend, find the best dark lipstick for your skin tone (and fully embrace the trend), and apply dark lipstick for a chic look.


If you’re looking for a way to dip your toes into the dark lipstick trend, we don’t blame you. These moody hues are definitely not for the faint of heart. Get over your fear by easing yourself into the idea of eventually wearing a dark lipstick by reaching for something less bold than lipstick to start.

Option #1: Swipe on glossy lip balm

The L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Glossy Balm comes in eight pretty colors—including a few dark hues, like Petite Plum. This lip balm helps to smooth and condition the lips and offers highly-pigmented shine.

Option #2: Lacquer lips with a shiny lip gloss

If you’re too timid to rock the full-on look, another alternative to a dark lipstick is a lip gloss. The L’Oréal Paris Infallible 8 HR Le Gloss in Undeniable Mauve is a good option if you want to try out a dark hue. This lip gloss provides long-lasting color and shine.


Decided that you’re ready to take a walk on the dark side? Here’s how to find the best dark lipstick for your skin tone.


Contrary to what you might think, dark lipstick can look amazing on pale skin—especially rich berry hues. Many people shy away from using these vampy hues because they’re afraid of the lipstick creating a major contrast against their skin. If you have cool undertones, opt for lipstick that has a blue base, like a dark berry hue. On the other hand, if you have warm undertones, go for something that has a yellow base to it. Overall, follow this rule: Stick to lipsticks that are in the berry family, like raspberry or blackberry. Avoid any shades that have too much brown in them because they could make your complexion look muddy—not vampy.

Dark lipstick pickL’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Doesn’t Matte-R


Those with light to medium-tan skin tones usually have neutral or warm undertones. If this is you, it means you have more of a variety to choose from when it comes to dark lipstick, with reddish browns and plums being the most flattering. While you can totally pull off a high-impact color like violet, you can also stick to a safer option like a deep red, depending on your mood. You can choose a dark lipstick that’s in the reddish-brown or plum color palette for a daring look that truly delivers. To ensure your dark lipstick really pops against your skin, make sure to wear foundation, as any redness on your face can distract from your dark lip color.

Dark lipstick pickL’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Les Chocolats Scented Liquid Lipstick in 70% Yum


If you have a tan or olive complexion, brown-based lipsticks are the most flattering for your skin tone. Your best bet is to stick with a deep maroon or burgundy lipstick, but you can also experiment with mulberry and dark plum shades.

Dark lipstick pickL’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Stirred


For those who have darker skin tones, opt for deep purples and blue-based reds. Select deep lip colors like purple and dark chocolate brown. These bold colors will really pair nicely with your skin. Again, your undertones will matter when choosing a lipstick shade. If you have a warmer undertone, opt for deep shades of brown. If you have cool undertones, you're the prime candidate for those blue-based reds we mentioned. Pro tip: You can dab a bit of lip balm over your dark lipstick if it gets dry during the day.

Dark lipstick pickL'Oréal Paris Rouge Signature, Lasting Matte Liquid Lipstick in I Dare


Before swiping on a dark lipstick, here are a few steps you should follow to keep your color looking its best throughout the day.

Step #1: Exfoliate your lips

Prior to applying a dark lipstick, make sure your lips are prepared. Start by exfoliating your lips with a lip scrub—we’re totally biased to using one of our sugar scrubs, which are actually multi-tasking face scrubs that can be used on your lips, too!

Step #2: Swipe on lip primer

Create an even canvas for your lipstick. Applying a lip primer can help ensure smooth lipstick application and long-lasting color. 

Step #3: Coat lips in a neutral concealer

Masking your natural lip color with concealer before applying lipstick can help make sure that you get the best color payoff.

Step #4: Line your lips

Choosing a lip liner that matches the dark lipstick color you decided to use, line around the perimeter of your pout. You can also use an invisible lip liner if you can’t find one that matches your lipstick exactly. Either way, a lip liner can help define your pucker and ensure you have a flawless lipstick application.

Step #5: Apply your dark lipstick

If you want more accuracy, you can apply the color with a lip brush instead of smoothing it on directly from the bullet.

Step #6: Clean up edges

If you end up with some color around the edges of your lip, clean it up with a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover. Another way you can cover up mistakes is by applying a little concealer around your lips.

Want to add another (totally different) lipstick shade to your makeup bag? Next, check out our article, How to Find the Right Nude Lipstick For Your Skin Tone.

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