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A bold lip can take your makeup look from zero to 100 in a minute. Personally, I'm not afraid of a dramatic lip color, especially when I'm too lazy to put on a ton of makeup. Give me a meaningful lipstick, some mascara, and concealer and I'll be good to go. I look instantly polished and ready for the day with minimal effort.
One lip look that will never go out of style is a dark red lipstick. It's equally dramatic, vampy, powerful, and feminine. Also, dark red is a generally flattering color.
"Dark red lipstick is a classic look because red is a color that looks good for everyone," explains famous makeup artist Bob Scott, whose clients include Karlie Kloss and Padma Lakshmi. "It brightens the entire face and wearing a dark red hue is just as easy. A dark red lip gives a person's face the same warmth or pop, just in a slightly muted way. It can complete a look and support their visual weight but don't be the star – or be the star. "
Quinn Murphy, whose clients include Kate Hudson and Dakota Fanning, says there are three key points to consider when choosing a red lipstick: value (such as light to dark), hue (the color and undertone), and color intensity (the saturation).
"It's not all that difficult to choose a dark red shade that matches your skin tone. Just like a classic light red lip, one dark red lipstick may be bluer or more orange than another, but the darkness and depth of the purple pigment can make that difference more subtle and less likely to clash with skin tone, "says Scott. "It could be the difference between wanting your lips to look darker red / brown than red / berry without going as dark as wine or burgundy. It could also be as easy as mixing your favorite red with a brown or berry-colored pencil, to test for depth and tone before you buy. A blue-tinted dark red lip feels a bit bolder, and a warmer dark red feels a bit more subdued. "
If you already have a favorite red and want to go darker, Scott recommends taking this lipstick with you and comparing it to some options of darker shades of red to find a shade that matches a natural progression of what you already have.
Once you find your perfect shade, you can play around with the application. “Apply the color and see how you like it,” Murphy says. "If you want a kicked-back, less intense look, dab it down and turn it into a stain. Or you can manipulate the color by adding another shade over the dabbed color."
For a sharp lip, Scott recommends using a matching pencil and sharpening the edge. And if you want to get softer, put balm on a couple of layers.
Ready to try the look? Shop some of our favorite red colors below.