Everything you need to know about wearing dark lipstick

From Harpers Bazaar UK

Attempting to pull off a bold lipstick may seem a tad intimidating. For starters, how do you find a dark lipstick that suits your skin tone? Secondly, how do you apply a statement lip colour when you can barely apply that Burt's Bees lip balm without smudging?

Well, bareMinerals' international make-up artist, SJ Froom, has gone back to basics, answering everything from the best bold lipstick for every complexion, to how you can keep it from smudging all over your face. Here's what you need to know…

Do your prep work:

Prepping your lips will make a massive difference when it comes to a neater, smoother lipstick finish. "One easy trick to keep lips in top condition and ensure a perfect application, is to lightly brush a toothbrush over them once a week" says SJ. "This helps to exfoliate the skin, leaving a smoother base for lipsticks and glosses."

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

3 steps to a perfect finish:

1. "I always buff lips with foundation first, this neutralises the natural lip colour and allows the pigment from the lipstick to stay true to the shade in the bullet."

2. "Next comes lip liner. A lip pencil will give you great definition and keep lip colour from feathering. It doesn't always have to be a full on line. Just line the bow, top and under the lower lip and blend with a cotton bud for a natural finish."

3. "I then apply lipstick using a lip brush, blot using tissue, dust a translucent powder (like bareMinerals Mineral Veil) over the tissue whilst placed on lips and then re-apply the lipstick."

If you're a dark lipstick beginner:

"I would always recommend choosing your shade to match your skin tone but if you are a beginner, go for a softer more mauve tone as opposed to a rich deep berry tone until you have perfected your lipstick application."

Avoid shades that'll make teeth look yellow:

"Because blue sits opposite yellow on the colour wheel, using a more blue based lipstick will make your teeth appear less yellow. Instead, blue undertones in your shade of lip colour will make your teeth look brighter and whiter."

Pick the right finish for your lip shape:

"Darker shades can often make thin lips look smaller, with this in mind, I would always recommend applying a gloss to the centre of the lip, making them appear fuller. If you are lucky enough to have naturally full, defined lips, I find a matte finish more flattering than a high shine."

Find the best dark lipstick for your skin tone:


"Dark lipsticks can look great on fair skins, thanks to the contrast between the light skin and the dark lip. Berry tones with a blue base are great on the cooler fair complexion but if you have a slighter warmer skin, try something more yellow based."

Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Lead The Way, £18.95

Too Faced Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Villain, £19

Christian Louboutin Velvet Matte Lip Colour in Eton Moi, £70


"If your skin tone is more fair to medium, it tends to be on the neutral or warm side. Both berry tones and rich terracotta tones can look great."

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Night Crimson, £24

Tom Ford Ultra-Rich Lip Colour in Purple Noon, £39

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colour, £5.99


"For tan to olive complexions, with a golden undertone, brown-based shades are the most flattering. The warmer the skin tone, the more orange based colours suit. Cool tones should opt for blue-based tones."

MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Double Fudge, £17.50

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Hates Pilates, £17.50

NYX Matte Lipstick in Goal Digger, £6.50


"Darker complexions can carry a much bolder colour, weather that be darker or brighter. The key to finding the perfect lipstick shade for your complexion is to choose the right base colour to suit the undertone of your skin."

NYX Macaron lipstick in Chambord, £6

NARS Audacious lipstick in Ingrid, £25

YSL Rouge Pur Couture lipstick in 39, £26

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