How To Pull Off Dark Lips

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, it’s the holiday season, which means it’s time for me to hit the holiday parties with my vampy, black cherry lipstick in tow—and I won’t be alone: According to Birchbox’s Beauty Pulse Survey Holiday Edition, tons of women are excited about breaking out the bold lippy: 23 percent of women polled said dark red was their lip color or choice for the holidays. But sometimes the color can look more scary than sophisticated. Here, we explain how to pull off a deep lip without looking like an extra in the Twilight movies.

Prep your lips. To remove dead skin, use a lip scrub (Sara Happ makes a good one) or buff with a wet towel or clean toothbrush, and then apply lip balm. This will prevent the lip color from settling into the dry spots that can prevent the color from going on smoothly.

Think about formula. For parties (where you’re drinking and snacking on hors doeuvres for hours,) it’s crucial to choose a longwearing formula, like a stain or densely pigmented lipstick. My favorites are Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Lust,NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, and CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor in Euphoria.

Pick a color that’s right for you. If you have fair skin, choose a rich cranberry shade with red (not black) undertones, like Tom Ford Lip and Cheek Stain in Tainted Love. For medium skin tones, try a true burgundy shade like M.A.C.’s Hang-Up. Blackberry colors, like Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry, look best against dark skin.

Apply carefully. Start by outlining your lips with a matching lip pencil, then fill in to keep the color put all night long. Starting at the center of the lips moving toward the lip line, apply lipstick straight from the tube for the most intense color payoff. If you prefer a subtler look, apply lipstick just to the bottom lip, press your lips together, and distribute the color with your finger. Finish with a dab of clear or wine-colored gloss just on the center of the lips to make them appear fuller.

Pair it well. To avoid looking goth, keep the rest of the face minimal. Try a luminizing foundation and a touch of warm blush or bronzer on the apples of the cheeks. You can also subtly define your eyes with a swipe of black or brown liner—just don’t be too precise, or you’ll look too retro.

Will you wear dark lips this holiday season?
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