When it comes to having a fair complexion, you often hear about all the things you can't wear. You can't wear bright blushes, you can't wear black eyeliner, and you can't wear too much white. When it comes to how to wear dark lipstick when you're pale, though, I'll be damned if someone tells me what I can and cannot wear. Makeup is supposed to be a creative outlet, so even though my olive skin is on the paler side, and even if society says I shouldn't wear dark lip shades, I'm going to do it anyway.
That being said, there are of course some specific things I do to achieve that vampy, sexy look. Although I believe that everyone should be able to rock a dark lip if they want to, there are techniques and products you can use to make the look less harsh. If, you know, you don't want to look like the vampire-who-just-sucked-all-the-blood-from-someone's-jugular. Unless, of course, you're into that kind of stuff.
Here are some tips and tricks for how to rock a dark lip if your skin is on the paler side of the spectrum. No matter what your skin tone is, just remember that you can wear whatever lip color your soul desires.
1. Look For Inspiration
Sometimes when I'm in a beauty rut, I crave some inspiration (plus an excuse to spend hours on Tumblr/Pinterest/YouTube). The Internet is a great place to get ideas for beauty looks too, especially when they're daring or different. So click on that tutorial with the scary headline, try a celeb look you really like (like Emma Stone in a deep burgundy), and sharpen up your search skill.
2. Match Your Lipstick To Your Skin
Have you ever heard MUAs talk about red lipsticks that have blue or orange undertones, when all you see is red? Yeah, I've been there and done that. However, those "undertones" can actually have a major effect on the way the lipstick looks on you and your skin. Determine your skin tone, and whether it's warm (yellow) or cool-toned (pink). You can do this by taking an online quiz (such as PopSugar's "Are Your Undertones Warm Or Cool" one) or visiting a beauty expert at your local Sephora. My skin is definitely warm toned, so I choose to wear dark lipsticks that have red or orange undertones as opposed to blue or purple ones.
Take your time while shopping, and don't be afraid to swatch colors to try them on. Remember, the bullet might look gorgeous, but you always want to know what the shade will look like when you're wearing it.
3. Achieve A Flawless Foundation
Getting a flawless foundation for your skin is a natural first step. Based on whatever balms, primers, creams, foundations, concealers, or powders you use, try to apply your makeup as neatly as possible. By not piling on too much foundation, you'll be able to avoid overwhelming the dark lip with too much heaviness elsewhere.
4. Apply The Lipstick Carefully
Topshop Lipstick in Depth, $12, topshop.com
Next, choose which lip color you're going for. I know this might go against your usual makeup-application process, but I recommend applying your lipstick before the remaining products to help accommodate the rest of your look. This is especially important if you don't typically wear a dark lip and don't yet know how it will look on you.
If you're new to this, you might want to check out the video below. While it may look easy, there are a lot of details that go into a proper lipstick application. And yes, that "pop" is crucially important.
5. Reach For Bronzer And Blush
After you have your lipstick on, you probably look like one of those aforementioned vampires. But fear not: Bronzer and blush will come to the rescue. I hardly ever reach for bronzer or blush on a daily basis, but when I'm wearing a dark lip, they're what I depend on to make my look more natural.
Invest in a matte bronzer that's a light, dusty brown. Sometimes the ugliest colors in the pan of the product look best when applied. When it comes to pale skin and bronzers, the gray-ish brown tones often suit pale complexions the best. With blush, you can either go for a shimmery or matte finish, but apply it lightly to blend into the bronzer so you have a natural flush.
6. Keep Everything Else Toned Down (Or Not)
With your main bases covered, inspect your look and see if further steps need to be taken. You may want to step away from your products or you might think a little eye makeup will help. I went ahead and applied a little smudgy eyeliner with thick mascara since I knew the black makeup would help even out the heavy lip. Just be sure to apply every product slowly and carefully.
7. Do What Feels Right
Ultimately, it all goes back to what I mentioned before. No matter your skin color or type, you should be able to rock whatever look you want to, and that includes a dark lip. Choose your lipstick based on what you like. After all, you know your skin and what style you're craving best.
Images: Melodi Erdogan