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With fall in full swing (and winter soon upon us), you’re likely finding yourself opting for darker shades in both your wardrobe and your makeup choices. Out go the peach, pink, and coral lip colors and in comes the vampy shades of plum, oxblood, and burgundy. These sultry colors are no longer reserved for goths and those who like to experiment with their makeup. So, why not inject some edge into your daily lipstick rotation by rocking a dark lipstick this season? Just like with lighter lipstick shades, not all dark hues are created the same—you have to find one that best suits 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 how to apply dark lipstick for a chic look.
If you’re looking for a way to dip your toe into the dark lipstick trend, we don’t blame you. These moody hues are definitely not for the faint of heart. Get over of 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 high-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 Colour Riche Le Gloss in Mystic 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 are actually ready to take a walk on the dark side? Here’s how to find the best dark lipstick for your skin tone:
If you have fair skin…opt for rich berry tones. Contrary to what you might think, dark lipstick can look amazing on fair skin. Many people shy away from using these vampy hues because they’re afraid of the lipstick acting as 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 pick: L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Doesn’t Matte-R
If you have light to medium skin...opt for reddish brown and plums. Those of you with light to medium-tan skin tones usually have neutral or warm undertones. This means you have more of a variety to choose from when it comes to dark lipstick. 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 is in the reddish-brown or plum color palette for a daring look that truly delivers. To ensure your dark lipstick really pop against your skin, make sure to wear foundation, as any redness on your face can distract from your dark lip color.
Dark lipstick pick: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Paints/Lips Matte in Cinna-Bomb
If you have olive skin…opt for deep maroons. 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 to a deep maroon hue, but you can also experiment with mulberry and dark plum shades.
Dark lipstick pick: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Stirred
If you have deep skin…opt for deep purples and blue-based reds. For those who have darker skin tones, 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, stick to more of a brown hue, while if you have cool undertones, go for blue-based purples and reds. Pro tip: You can dab a bit of lip balm over your dark lipstick if it gets dry during the day.
Dark lipstick pick: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Paints/Lips Metallic in Smoldering Eclipse
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.
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. Covering 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.
Step 5: Apply the dark lipstick. If you want more accuracy, you can work the color in with a lip brush.
Step 6: Clean up edges. If you’ve gotten some color around the edges of your lip, clean it up with a cotton swab and makeup remover. Another way you can cover up mistakes is by applying a little concealer around your lips.
Want to add more lipstick to your makeup bag? Next up, check out our article, Our Best Red Lipstick for Every Skin Tone.