Find the Best Dark Lipstick to Flatter Your Skin Tone
If red lipstick is a classic color, then consider the new crop of ultra-deep hues to be their punk rock-loving sisters. While not for the faint of heart, dark wine or brown hues give an otherwise tame ensemble some bad-girl edge, and make as big an impact as the traditional red. "To pull off this look, opt for lipsticks that are on the flatter, more matte side, rather than a shiny finish. You have to find the right balance," says makeup artist Jerry Johnson. "However, there are exceptions to the rule—darker lip colors can make small lip shapes look thinner, so I'd recommend applying a gloss just in the center of the lips to help them appear fuller." Still, the ever-trendy berry tone your BFF has stashed in her bag may not flatter your complexion as well, so we asked Johnson to break down the colors that work best for every complexion. Scroll down to find your perfect match.
Dark lipsticks make the largest contrast against fair skin, so while it's important to determine your undertones no matter your complexion, as veering in the wrong direction can be the most dramatic in this situation. "You'll want to opt for rich berry tones with a blue base if you have cool tones, but if you're fair and warm, go for something more yellow-based," Johnson says. For those with neutral tones or who are unsure, a deep hue with slightly brown hints would be the best bet.
On Anna: Seduction by Laura Mercier, $28; sephora.com.
Light to Medium Skin
"Fair to medium skin tends to be on the neutral or warm side, so you have a bit more of a broader range to choose from," Johnson says. "You can really do whatever you want." Though berry-wine tones are always a safe bet, super-rich violets prove to be just as flattering as deep brick hues. Just be sure to test out the shade before making a commitment, and for continuity's sake, keep the rest of your makeup within the same color family.
On Marianne: An Affair by Laura Mercier, $28; nordstrom.com.
Also try: Butter London Moisture Matte Lipstick in Ruby Murray, $22; ulta.com. Too Faced La Créme Color Drenched Lipstick in Wham, $22; sephora.com. Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in Rosey Nude, $8; target.com.
For tan to olive complexions, brown-based hues prove to be the most flattering. "They're safe shades to play with, and they look absolutely incredible on this skintone," Johnson says.
On Sheryl: Cocoa Pout by Laura Mercier, $28; nordstrom.com.
Darker complexions can get away with much bolder colors, but the same rules of abiding by your undertones still apply. "It's similar to determine your undertones first before picking the shade, similar to fair skin tones," says Johnson. "You'll end up with a shade that's much more flattering." That being said, the warmer your skin, the more brown and orange you can wear in your lipstick. Cool tones should opt for blue-based reds and purples.
On Lashauna: Voyeur by Laura Mercier, $28; sephora.com.