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How to Make Purple Lipstick Work for You

This bold color will always make your pout the focus of your makeup look.
April 10, 2023


Even if you consider yourself a beauty risk-taker, there are plenty of looks that will just seem too outlandish or too bold for you to pull off — purple lipstick falling under the latter. What you should keep in mind is how much makeup has evolved since the days of your mother’s red press-on nails, pink lips and one-tone blue eyeshadow

Now, colors like purple that were once only made for certain skin tones can be worn by everyone; you just need to find the right undertones, formula and finish to make it complement you. And purple lipstick doesn’t have to be reserved for red carpet moments, fashion week runways and editorial spreads. 

If you’re not sure where to find the best purple lipstick for you, keep reading as we share some of our favorites from L’Oréal Paris, including matte lipstick
picks and more, based on your skin tone.
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What Skin Tone Looks Good With Purple Lipstick?

Since purple lipsticks are offered in a variety of shades, just about anyone can rock this hue — from those with ultra-fair skin to people with dark complexions. As we mentioned above, the key is to find the shade that flatters your skin tone to give your beauty look just the right amount of oomph. Check out how to make purple lipstick work for you no matter your finish preference.

The Best Purple Lipsticks for Deep and Dark Skin Tones

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Despite what many have historically thought, purple lipstick was made for rich, dark complexions. It’s a color that complements deeper skin tones in an array of makeup products, including lip makeup. Get ready to explore a variety of shades that will take your makeup look to the next level.

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte-Jestic

Perfect for those with cool undertones, this deep purple is a match for those with dark and fair skin tones alike. The matte formula goes on like a cream and wears comfortably without drying out your lips.

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Shine Lipstick in Sil Vous Plait

This deep purple offers a satin, berry color especially stunning on beauties with warm undertones. The formula won’t bleed, migrate or feather and it includes a blend of oils to keep lips moisturized and feeling soft. 

L’Oréal Paris Les Nus by Colour Riche Intense Nude Lipstick in Nu Exuberant

When you want a more subtle take on purple lipstick, reach for this creamy lipstick. With a bullet made to help you color within the contours of your lips perfectly, it lets you skip the liner while still avoiding smudging and feathering.

L’Oréal Paris Infallible 8 Hour Pro Lip Gloss in Undeniable Mauve

For those days when you want that wet lip look, this lip gloss will come in handy. You can wear it on its own or layer it over your favorite purple lipstick (like the one mentioned above) to give it a high-shine finish.

The Best Purple Lipsticks for Medium and Olive Skin Tones

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Since those with medium skin tones can get away with almost any purple shade ranging from pale purple to deep violet, options for a gorgeous purple pout are nearly limitless. Here are some of our favorites:

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Luminous Hydrating Lipstick + Nourishing Serum in Plum Wine

This creamy, long-lasting lipstick feels nourishing; made with a vitamin and serum blend it hydrates for hours without sacrificing color. The rich plum hue looks especially scrumptious on those with medium skin tones and warm undertones.

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Plum Bum

This equally gorgeous plum color will add effortless intensity to your look with just one swipe. The perfect match for those with neutral undertones, you can’t go wrong with adding this lipstick to your collection if you want a matte with staying power.

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Satin Lipstick with Precious Oils in Pinot Noir

This vibrant purple helps to brighten up any complexion with its luminous, satin color. The creamy, non-drying formula keeps lips feeling comfortable and it doesn’t feather or emphasize lip lines

The Best Purple Lipsticks for Light Skin Tones

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It can be hard to find the right purple shade to complement a light skin tone — the fear of going too dark or too light may be top of mind. We’re here to steer you in the right direction with the below recommendations.

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in At The Drop Of A Matte

If you’re working with warm undertones, this pinkish-red toned purple is worth a try. Perfect for highlighting your unique skin tone, this shade works wonders for those willing to give purple a go with a classic touch.

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Rosewood Ambition

This ashy, cool-toned purple lipstick glides on like a creamy formula (thanks to hyaluronic acid) and dries down to a powdery, long-wear matte. The color looks great on all skin tones and is especially stunning on those with light complexions looking to make a bold statement with their lip look.

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick Matte-Gic

This matte lipstick is also comfortable and has a hydrating, creamy feel even though it stays put like we know mattes to do. The shade is virtually universally flattering but we love it for beauty lovers with light skin tones looking to give their pout a candy-colored hue.

L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip Balm-in-Gloss Pomegranate Extract in Fete de Fleurs

When it’s time to reach for something with a dewy look, opt for this nourishing purple lipstick. Made with a hyaluronic acid- and pomegranate extract-infused balm, it wraps the lips in hydration and offers a glossy finish. It gives the lips a light wash of purple color that can be worn alone or layered with lipstick.

The Best Purple Lipsticks for Fair Skin Tones

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While you may feel like you need to play it safe with your fair skin, there’s no need to shy away from purple lipstick, especially if you stick with light, cool purples. We’re serving up the best purple shades to help you step outside your comfort zone while complementing your skin tone.

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte-Jestic

We mentioned earlier that this purple lipstick is stunning on dark and fair complexions. See, with the combination of your fair skin and a bold shade like this one, you can try out the purple lipstick trend and emulate the fresh off the runway look. It’s a win-win for those with cool undertones.

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Color in Raisin Revival

Play up the paleness of your skin with this contrasting vampy lipstick. The deep purple color gives off an almost sanguine look against a fair complexion. The high intensity color prevents bleeding and feathering while the pro-seal balm locks it in, leaving lips moisturized and full of shine.

L’Oréal Paris Brilliant Signature Shiny Lip Stain Lipstick

We love a fruit punch purple lipstick for those with fair skin because it can pair with so many other makeup looks (you’re on our radar smokey eye). Best for those with neutral undertones, this punchy color lets you get adventurous with your makeup even when you’re not wearing anything else.

Can Redheads Wear Purple Lipstick?

We covered that every skin tone can pull off purple lips, but some may be wondering about how purple lipstick fairs with different hair colors. A common question we hear is whether redheads should embrace the purple trend. Up until recently, it was common to see redheads on social media and IRL wearing more pinks and nudes. 

While redheads may be skeptical about giving purple lipstick a try, we’re here to tell you that this rich shade will complement your red hair perfectly. The key to bringing this look to life without stepping into clown territory is to pair your purple pout with neutral eye and face makeup. It’s all about balance. Think of soft glam makeup for the perfect inspiration. The truth is, no matter what hair color you’re working with, you can rock a purple lipstick shade. It’s all about allowing your bold lip color to be the center of attention.

How to Apply Purple Lipstick Like a Pro

Now that you know the best purple lipsticks for your complexion, let’s go over how to apply it for an eye-catching lip look. Follow these simple steps to pull off the look like a pro.

Step 1. Lip Scrub

The starting point for any lip makeup look should always be a lip scrub. After all, you want your lips to be as smooth as possible for an even lipstick application, especially if you’re wearing purple matte lipstick. Use a lip scrub to polish off dead skin cell buildup from your lips.

Step 2. Prime Your Lips

Just as your face makeup requires primer, your lip makeup deserves the same treatment — especially if you want your lip color to last. Swipe a lip primer across your lips; if you don’t have one, a dab of foundation or concealer will get the job done.

Step 3. Line Your Lips

To keep your color in place and prevent bleeding, reach for a lip liner that matches your lipstick. Be sure to define your cupid’s bow for precise application. Feel free to overline your lips slightly with your liner if you’re attempting to make thin lips look fuller.

Step 4. Add Your Lip  Color

Now it’s time for the main event: your purple lipstick. Whether you're using matte, cream, glossy or satin lipstick, starting at the center of your upper lip, swipe the color on and work toward the outer edges of your lips. Repeat on your bottom lip, making sure to follow the contour of your pout.

Step 5. Blot Your Lips

Once your lip color is beautifully in place, it’s time to blot. Place a thin tissue (separate the sheets of two-ply tissue to create one-ply if you can) between your lips and smack them together to remove excess color. This will keep your purple hue from accidentally transferring to your teeth, which is never a good look.

Step 6. Finish With Translucent Powder

Finish off your look with a touch of translucent powder to set your lips. Grab a fluffy brush and lightly tap the product onto your lips. If you find this to be too drying, press a sheet of that one-ply tissue against your lips first, then lightly brush the powder onto the tissue to lock in your purple lipstick. 

Next: 10 Best Long-Lasting Lipsticks to Pucker Up to Right Now

Photo: iStock

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