Tips to Prep Your Pout for Dark Lipstick

The first signs of fall usually have most people eager for a sip of their first PSL of the season. For me, the first signs send me straight to my beauty bin to break out all of my dark colored lipsticks. I love the dramatic look that a deep burgundy, wine, and almost black colored lip evokes. It's bit a rebellious, mysterious, and glamorous all wrapped into one.

The change in the leaves is the perfect time to ditch the brighter shades of lipstick for more deeper tones that match the season. While going for a bolder lip can be a little intimidating you don't need to jump right into the deepest most gothic shade you can find. Start out gradually with deeper hues in the red family like wine or mauve shades. While I prefer a nice matte lip when it comes to these darker colors, choose the formula that you prefer such as sheer, glossy, matte, or shimmer.

One of the key elements to pulling off a dark shade of lipstick is to ensure your lips are prepped and ready for the color. So no matter what your formula preference is, be sure to follow these tips to ensure that the bold lip color applies smoothly and looks flawless.


A lot women don't realize that just like how the skin on our face requires some sloughing so do our lips. Exfoliating your lips will help set the stage for a flawless application and if your formula preference is matte, then you definitely don't want to miss this step. Matte lipsticks aren't as forgiving as glossy formulas as they tend to bring out all of the imperfections with our lips. So make sure you give your lips a good scrub to get rid of the dead skin before putting on your favorite lipstick. You can easily make a homemade lip scrub by mixing some sugar, honey, and jojoba oil together. You can also easily incorporate this step into your teeth brushing routine by giving your lips a quick scrub with your toothbrush. Alternatively, there are many lip scrubs on the market you can purchase. I have a few in rotation but my two favorites are the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Scrub and Ilia Balmy Nights. Both of these are all natural and work great for revealing a soft canvas for the lipstick of your choice.


As part of your nightly beauty routine, you should always be applying a good lip moisturizer. Personally, I don't like to apply a moisturizer to my lips prior to lipstick application because it creates slick canvas and I've noticed that the lipstick doesn't adhere for very long. However, the dry lip struggle is real so if you need to apply moisturizer before lipstick, dab on a thin coat of a non-glossy moisturizer. If you are going with a matte lipstick use your moisturizer sparingly to prevent the cakey and overly dried look that can sometimes happen with matte lipsticks. Since I use a lip balm at night, I don't moisturize at all prior to applying lipstick as I use a lip primer (see below).


While this might be new concept to some, applying a primer to your face, eyes, or lips before make-up application creates a smooth base to build upon. A primer is applied after your skincare routine but before your make-up application. It preps the skin so make-up goes on smoother and lasts longer; some primers even help to minimize skin imperfections. I never wear lipstick without using my Bite Beauty lip primer. I don't know how I lived for so long without this gem. It helps keep your lipstick lasting longer, prevents feathering (the bleeding of the color into the fine lines of your lips), and also moisturizes. It's translucent in color so you don't need to worry about it changing the color of your lipstick. I apply the primer all over my lips and then I make sure to "seal" my lips by lining a little bit around the natural line of my lips.


Once your lips are prepped and primed, apply your lipstick as normal then use a lip brush to fill in and refine the application. Additionally, you can go over the outline of your lips in a matching lip pencil shade to further add definition. Depending on your lipstick vessel, meaning if it is a standard bullet tube or a liquid formula that is applied with a wand, you want to make sure that you refine the shape of your lips and get those edges clean and sharp. 

The great thing about these tips is that don't just apply to wearing dark lipsticks - these tips apply for any season and for any shade you like.  


I've tried to limit myself from buying new lip color shades in this dark wine hued family because as you can see below they all are basically very similar. However, each season brands come out with new and improved formulas and shades so I sometimes get sucked into a new color only to realize I basically have it. While some of these colors may look too dark or dramatic for you the great thing is that they can be applied lightly to get a sheer wash of the color or you can apply more than one coat for a deeper hue. The best way to get a more sheer version of a darker color is to apply it using a lip brush as it's easier to control the amount of product you put on your lips. 

On the opposite end though, if you do want to make any of these colors richer,  you can add a lipliner in a corresponding shade. My favorite is MAC Lip Pencil in Nightmoth. Unfortunately, I didn't swatch it but I love pairing it with my lipsticks to make them shade more dramatic.

If you have shy'd away from a dark lip in the past, then give it a try this season. Hit up your local beauty store and start swatching colors on your hand and once you find one you like, take it for a test drive on your lips. Lipstick is something to have fun with and don't be intimidated by trying out different colors outside of your comfort zone. Sure you might get a few inquisitive looks but wear it with confidence and I'm sure you'll give your onlookers a reason to try something new. And in the end, remember it's just lipstick - you can wipe it right off if you don't like it.

How To Wear Dark Lipstick

{Shop This Post & My Favorite Lip Care Items}

A lot of my favorite lip care products are from Bite Beauty. They really make such great lipsticks and care items.