The Dark Side of Lipstick

Lipstick takes on a moody vibe this season


Take your look to the dark side with a trendy dark lipstick. Courtesy iStock

We’ve all got a tube of Marilyn Monroe-esque red lipstick in our makeup kits. But, recently, stars including Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Rachel McAdams have been trading their signature scarlet shades for something darker and moodier. Follow these steps from Debbie LaBrant-Hartung, local beauty expert and president and founder of LipBar Custom Cosmetics, for a celebrity-inspired lip look that makes a truly shady statement.

Start with a quality lip balm. Without lip balm, LaBrant-Hartung says, lipstick will draw attention to the dry spots on your lips. Apply it every day and look for petroleum-free, non-waxy varieties, as, she adds, petroleum doesn’t offer hydration.

Pat on a primer. If colors tend to fade or change after application, start with a lip primer. Prepare a small amount of primer on your finger and then press just enough into the lip to neutralize your own lip color. LaBrant-Hartung warns not to use too much: It can alter the original lipstick color.

Add a liner. “You must use a lip liner,” she says. Choose a liner in the same (or really close) color to your lipstick shade. Prefer not to use a dark liner? Try a “reverse lip liner” using a fleshcolored pencil to line right outside the lip, then lightly smudge it with your finger. The result is a very clean line that gives the illusion of a fuller lip. LipBar uses its own matte eye brightening pencil for this technique.

Brush on your shade. It’s important to pick the right dark shade. In general, avoid a yellow-green or gray-based color—LaBrant-Hartung finds they aren’t flattering on anyone—and opt for warm or cool undertones that match your skin tone. “Go with a nice cream that has rich pigment and some moisture to it,” she recommends. “I know the trend right now is for a matte lipstick, but I just don’t recommend doing it in a dark color. It’s just not very forgiving.” Her best tip: Try your chosen shade on without any other makeup and if your eyes pop (green or blue specifically), you’ve picked a good color. To apply, brush the lipstick on—making sure to really get the color on all areas of your lips. Blot with a tissue, and repeat with a second application.

One more thing… Not sure about the dark lip trend? Try a pigmented sheer lipstick or gloss to test it out. “You get to date the color, and not marry it,” LipBar’s Debbie LaBrant-Hartung says.

Debbie LaBrant-Hartung is the founder and president of LipBar Custom Cosmetics, 800.285.5941.



LipBar custom Denver Nights lipstick, $35.


LipBar matte eye brightener, $28.


Jane Iredale lip balm, $15, at area Nordstrom locations.


Bobbi Brown retractable lip brush, $28, at area Bobbi Brown locations.


MAC The Scene deep berry ultimate lipstick, $23, at area MAC locations.

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