Bold Lips: How to Artfully Apply The Darker-Hued Look

Julia DiNardo

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Going darker and extremely matte with your lip color can feel awkward at first, but given the right tools and techniques, you will soon master it like a pro.

Statement-making lips are all the rage for the colder months, so getting accustomed to a technique and shade that you feel comfortable with is key to a successful lip stain look. Lip stains tend to last longer than regular wear applications of lip color, and can be drying (although some have moisturizing components) so first make sure your lips are properly exfoliated and given a dab of moisture. Make sure there is no uneven or flaky parts with the Smashbox Cosmetics Emulsion Lip Exfoliant, and add just a dab of Vaseline to seep in a bit.

So how do you decide on a color? Purple Lab Creatrix Karen Robinovitz explains, For light skin, the best way to turn runway dark lips into a wearable look would be to use a dark pink/berry color. Ruby red is also a great for light to medium tones. For medium skin, a plum or red wine-colored hue is perfect to bring out the natural colors in your skin and eyes. For deeper skin tones, dark reds and burgundys are perfect to match the rich color of your skin.

You can go the route of specific lip stain products, or use lip pencil. Robinovitz recommends to definitely use a brush or applicator when applying, so that you dont end up with lip stain on your fingers or worse around your mouth.

If you choose a lipliner, go darker than your natural lip color, rimming your lip line working from the top center, outward and around. From there, feather and fill in the rest of the lip by dabbing with your finger or a thin lip brush, like this Sonia Kashuk Retractable Lip Brush. If you use a skinny brush/applicator, you have more control over the amount of color you are applying and where it’s going.

For that runway darker-hued look, we like a plum or a red from the Maybelline Color Sensational Lipliner Collection.

For stains, our favorites are those that veer into the 90s dark lip category, or if you dont want to go as dark or acquire more of a daytime look, pick a vibrant red, such as Maybellines Color Sensational Lipstain in Cherry Pop (about $7.99)

Top dark-hued picks:

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Jane Iredale Lip Fixation in Fetish, $29, is a non-drying lip stain and lip gloss, found on each end of the tube, comes in complimentary colors, and sets in and lasts all day long.

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Stila Pomegrante Crush Lip & Cheek Stain, $24, contains pomegranate extracts and Vitamins A, C, and E to help increase moisture and doubles to add a bit of flush color to your face.

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Tarte LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Stain, $24, is almost like using a lip pencil, as it is precise and highly pigmented, but much better as it glides on smooth thanks to peppermint oil and carnauba wax, coconut oil to moisturize, resulting in a plumping appearance.

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