Dark Rose Lips Are the Romantic Take on Y2K Liner

Equal parts goth and glam.

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As a child, I was deeply fascinated by Grimms’ Fairy Tales in all their gothy glory, and now certain makeup trends instantly capture my cursed princess heart. Case in point: the dark rose lip, a romantic twist on the ombré lip that has had TikTok in its grasp for much of the past six months. With its deep wine-tinted perimeter and luscious gradient of color, it resembles an enchanted rose in full bloom, but like those legendary fairy tales, this rose has a dark side.

The Trend

The dark rose lip has its roots in a handful of trends, including TikTok’s beloved ombré lips, the resurgence of super-shiny lip glosses and slick lip oils, goth textures and colors, and the dark liner looks popularized by people of color in the ’90s, all rolled into one gorgeously unforgettable lip technique. “With ’90s makeup trends making a comeback, we are seeing the resurgence of bolder and vampy lip looks, like the dark liner,” explains makeup artist Jenna Kristina. “This speaks to the ongoing trend of nostalgia in the beauty industry.”

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“Dark liner has and will always be a classic, particularly for women of color, and right now we’re seeing such cool variations and twists and lip looks done from this base,” says makeup artist Mollie Gloss, who attributes its popularity to a reaction to the “clean girl” aesthetic of 2023. “We went from colorful and glittery Euphoria eyes to ‘clean girl’ skin and classic clean beauty, and now we’re moving into a femme fatale vampy lip era.”

According to Gloss, “lip art is really taking over” in general; just scroll through ombré lip variations on TikTok to see what we mean. Gloss cites makeup artist Sophia Sinot as the go-to pro for all things lip but also thinks lip art is a natural progression from the masked days of the early 2020s (not to mention the overall mood and vibe of 2024). “We aren’t wearing masks as often after a couple of years where lip looks weren’t too practical, and I think the harder mood and aesthetic is a reflection of how a lot of people are feeling in this world right now,” she explains.

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Though the dark rose lip can be either glossy or matte, depending on your preference, the glossier takes do resemble the goth-glam latex dresses and catsuits that have been a mainstay of the red carpet and social media for several years, as well as punk and industrial looks from the ’70s and ’90s. “As a lifelong alt girl, I could never not love a dark liner moment,” says Gloss. “I think of punk and goth subcultures when painting with them. To me, it’s subversive, it’s not something that pleases the male gaze, and it’s tough. And we’ve all had to toughen up lately. It says, ‘I am not one to be messed with.’” The contrast of that richly pigmented, dark liner fading into a vibrant rose red is both pretty and punk.

“Makeup is all about experimentation, and I love seeing trends come back with a bit of a twist,” says Kristina. “The dark rose lip is a bold statement and is a beautiful way to tie together a look. It’s a great lip option for a night out and will have you feeling ultra confident.” Kristina has used the technique on clients like Megan Fox, who wore a deep red glossy lip to the People’s Choice Awards.

How to Get the Look

It probably comes as no surprise that lip liner is the centerpiece of this glamorously goth look, but this isn’t the time for your go-to neutral rose or brown shades. You gotta go dark and dramatic. “My biggest tip is not to skip out on the liner,” says Kristina, who likes Maybelline Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner ($8) in Divine Wine or Raw Chocolate as the foundational liner colors. First, outline your lips with your shade of choice, and then take a small brush to “smudge” the product inward, says Kristina. “It’ll help define the look.”

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Once your lips are fully lined to perfection, it’s time to layer in the color. Kristina recommends applying a shiny liquid lip color like Maybelline Super Stay Vinyl Ink Liquid Lipcolor ($13) in the shade Fearless, a deep brown, or Unrivaled, a dark berry, as the second color in your gradient. Then, apply a brighter red shade in a similar finish to the center of the lip and use that same small brush to blend the colors. If you want extra gloss and a plumping effect, Kristina recommends a touch of Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid ($11) in Pearl, a translucent gloss with silver shimmer. With all that shine, you’d think the lip would migrate in seconds, but technological advancements in the lipstick world mean your dark rose lips can stay on all night. “This lip is going to stick with you all night. It has an awesome shine and it won’t smudge or transfer,” says Kristina of her go-to combo.

Gloss likes to use actual eyeliner on the lip versus traditional lip liner, specifically “gel-based formulas with a longer wear time,” like Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eye Pencil ($25), Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl ($29), or Sigma Beauty Wicked Long Wear Eyeliner Pencil ($16). “Those formulas apply much faster and smoother than a traditional liner and last longer too, which is great for me on set, as lips are usually the last thing before a client needs to run out the door.” Gloss also recommends experimenting with shadow or pigment on the lips instead of lipstick. “It often gives a very soft finish to the lip even if dark and can help with blending the liner into the natural color of the lip.” 

Read the original article on Byrdie.