How to Wear Dark Lipstick

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A bold lip is one of my favorite accessories. While I love my hot pinks and fiery reds, a dark vampy lip lends an air of drama and elegance that you can’t get with lighter, brighter lip colors. I think dark lipstick sometimes gets a bad rap as being too “goth” or too “1990s,” but the truth is that a dark lip can make a really sophisticated statement if you know how to apply it correctly. For daytime, it’s important to keep the rest of your face as simple and natural as possible, letting the bold lip shine. In the evening, it’s okay to apply a little more eye makeup to add some edge to your look, but you must remember that less is more. Here are my tips for making dark lipstick work for you, both during the day and at night: 
How to Wear Dark Lipstick During the Day
The key to wearing dark lipstick during the day is to keep the rest of your face bare- or at least make it appear as though it’s bare. When wearing bold lipstick, I like to pay special attention to my complexion, so I tend to apply more concealer and foundation than I normally would on a day when I’m not wearing any lip color. 
Start with a primer to minimize pores and fine lines and even out your skin tone. I love this one, but I really want to try this one. Apply concealer under your eyes, to the corners of your nose, and to any other areas that need it. Apply foundation. Contour your cheekbones with bronzer if you like. Apply a light touch of blush to the apples of your cheeks. Apply two light coats of mascara to your top lashes, and only one very scant coat to your bottom lashes. When wearing dark lipstick in the daytime I never wear eyeliner or eyeshadow, with the exception of a light nude shadow with a matte finish like Urban Decay’s Limit from Naked3 to cover the veins in my eyelids. That’s it! Perfect your complexion, apply blush to apples of cheeks, apply your mascara, done. NO eyeliner.
How to Wear Dark Lipstick at Night
To transition the look to evening, I like to add a little bit more drama. Still keeping a light hand, apply one coat of eye shadow in a light-to-medium taupe or other neutral color. Remember that, since you are wearing dark lipstick, you don’t want lots of dark colors on the rest of your face. Instead, choose a shadow that’s just dark enough to add a bit of depth to your eyes and apply it very lightly. I like to think that the rest of my makeup should be something I would wear to church or to work at a corporate office- light, simple, and natural. This ensures that your other features won’t compete with the dark lip, allowing the lip to be the focal point. 
Apply a thin line of eyeliner to your top lash line. Then apply 2 coats of mascara to your upper lashes, a third coat focusing on the outer corners of your upper lashes, and 1-2 normal coats on your lower lashes. 


How to Apply Bold Lipstick
Exfoliate lips using a clean soft-bristled toothbrush or a lip scrub. You can whip up a homemade lip scrub by mixing a small amount of sugar with some coconut oil and rubbing it in a circular motion on your lips. Rinse with warm water. Pat dry. Next apply a coat or two of a moisturizing lip balm. This will prevent the lipstick from looking too cakey or settling into the fine lines on your lips. Let dry for a minute or two. Now your lips are prepped, and you’re ready to apply your lipstick. 
I know experts say you should use a lip liner with bold lipstick if you want the color to stay…but I hate lip liner. I never use it. If you prefer to use a liner, apply it before you apply your lip balm.


  • Reply
    March 16, 2014 at 12:45 am

    YES — I love dark lipstick!! Looks so great on you :] Check mine out at Color Me Courtney

    XO Courtney Quinn

  • Reply
    Dina's Days
    March 12, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    What a beautiful color on you! My default is pink but every now and then I apply a plum and I’m always surprised at how pretty it is. I have to remember to skip the blush or really tone it down when I’m wearing a bold lip color because I start to look like a clown. Your tips about how to apply the lip color are great! I add translucent powder at the end to make it look matte.

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