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Here’s How to Pull Off Dark Red Lipstick

This rich hue packs flair and drama.
April 17, 2023

When it comes to timeless beauty, a sharp wing, glowy skin and a dark red lip are a few things we will never tire of. While glossy lipsticks and tinted lip balms are having a major moment, there’s always time to embrace a velvety coat of dark red lipstick. If you’re intimidated by the bold color because you don’t stray from your neutrals all that often, we’re here to tell you that you shouldn’t be. With the right prep work and application technique, anyone can master a stunning crimson pout. Take notes as we share the best dark red lipsticks and how to apply your lipstick like a pro, below.

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Is Dark Red Lipstick Good?

Dark red lipstick is a gorgeous, highly pigmented shade that looks good any time of year. The rich, indulgent hue makes a dramatic statement and it truly looks good on everyone. When you find the right shade for your skin tone, this power color makes for the ultimate timeless look.

The Best Dark Red Lipsticks

Fact: Everyone needs a dark red lipstick in their makeup bag. If you’re in need of a recommendation, here are 10 of our favorite shades.

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Plum Dominant 

This powdery matte lipstick with a hyaluronic acid-infused formula is unlike any matte lipstick you’ve tried before. The slim bullet makes for easy application and it doubles as a lip liner when needed. The bonus: the velvety finish never feels dry and crackly.

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L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Reds of Worth Satin Lipstick With Saturated Color in Hopeful Red

This satin lippie saturates your pout and stays put. It's formulated with a luxurious cocktail of argan oil and vitamin E that saturates lips with moisture, while rich pigments deliver intense color with a stunning, satin finish. 

L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Reds of Worth Satin Lipstick With Saturated Color in Ambitious Red

Prepare for all eyes to be on you when you wear this dark burgundy hue. Not only does it look incredibly flattering on all skin tones, but you’ll never have to worry about a dry pout since this formula provides flawless color while conditioning your lips.

L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Golden Grape

A dark red lipstick is a statement maker, yet it can also be great for everyday wear. Infused with argan oil and sesame seed oil, this oh-so-soft lipstick melts onto your lips to provide a bold and beautiful color that never disappoints. It also has a smudge-proof formula that never bleeds, migrates or feathers.

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Luminous Hydrating Lipstick + Nourishing Serum in Perfect Burgundy

Treat your pout to the luxurious feel of this hydrating lipstick. It's infused with a load of nourishing ingredients, such as vitamin B5, that provide long-lasting hydration to your lips. You can expect a smooth pout every time you apply the lippie, so we have a good feeling it’s bound to become one of your favorites.

L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Les Nus by Colour Riche Intense Nude Lipstick in Nu Artistique

If you love a creamy coat of lipstick, then you’ll love the Colour Riche Les Nus collection. This classic formula feels pillowy-soft on the lips and Nu Artistique delivers a gorgeous merlot-like color, plus the formula is smudge-proof and doesn’t feather.

L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Raisin Rapture

When it comes to the perfect satin dark red lipstick, this one checks all the boxes — it provides an eye-catching wash of color, hydrates your pout with argan oil and vitamin E and stays in place all day long, sans smudging and feathering. 

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

One coat of this ultra-buttery lipstick delivers the same beautiful lip stain you’d get from drinking a glass of your favorite merlot. Bonus: It has anti-aging properties, like a nourishing serum with vitamin B5 that leave your lips looking and feeling smoother with continued wear.

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

Nu Exuberant is a super bold hue that flatters all skin tones. If you’re intimidated by a dark shade of red, this is a great starting point, plus we love that the formula is silky and creamy. 

L'Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick with Pomegranate Extract in Ecstatic Mulberry

Perhaps a lip color as vibrant as dark red is too extreme for you and that’s okay. For something a bit toned-down, try this lip balm-lipstick hybrid. The pomegranate extract-infused product glides effortlessly across lips and melts on contact to instantly envelop and hydrate your lips with a glowy finish. Wear one coat for a sheer glow or build up the color for a more dramatic look.

How to Apply a Dark Red Lipstick

Now that you’ve chosen your perfect shade of red lipstick, it’s time to learn how to apply it for a flawless look. Follow these tips to apply dark red lipstick like a pro.

1. Exfoliate Your Lips 

One of the easiest ways to disrupt the look of a beautiful red pout is by applying your dark red lipstick over chapped, flaky lips. Luckily, buffing away those flakes is a breeze and it makes a huge difference in the final result. Take a damp towel and lightly buff it across your lips to remove all the flakes. A damp towel is a perfect texture to do the job without hurting or damaging your lips. 

2. Use a Lip Primer 

Primer isn’t just for foundation or eye makeup — it can also help keep lipstick in place and create a smooth canvas for lipstick application. Look for a primer that’s specifically designed to be used on the lips and layer a small amount on your lips before painting any color onto them.

3. Start With Lip Liner 

Lip liner can be a game-changer when it comes to dark red lipstick application. Outlining your lips before applying lipstick can help to keep your color from seeping outside the lines — just make sure that you don’t pick a shade that's too dark. A little tip: Choose a shade that’s two shades darker than your lipstick to add some subtle contour and definition to your pout, anything darker may detract from your red lip.

Use the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Anti-Feathering Lip Liner or L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner (depending on your finish) in a shade that closely matches your chosen lipstick to put this beauty tip to the test.

4. Apply Your Lipstick the Right Way

When you start applying lipstick at the corners of your lips, you’re more likely to go outside the lines. To avoid this dilemma, start applying your dark red lipstick at the center of your lips, moving outward towards the corners. It may feel off at first, but we promise you’ll get the hang of it with practice.

5. Clean Up Any Mistakes

Even when you apply dark red lipstick using all the best beauty tips and tricks, there’s still a chance that your lines won’t be quite as precise as you’d like. If you notice any color outside of your lip line, use a makeup wipe, like the L’Oréal Paris Ideal All Skin Types Makeup Removing Towelettes to touch up the edges. 

Then, use a concealer brush and a full-coverage concealer, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer Waterproof, Full Coverage to clean up around the edges for a seamless result.

Next: How to Make Purple Lipstick Work for You

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Mirna Jose, Hair Assistant: Keila Rivera, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Model: Omega

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