The Perfect Dark Lipstick For Your Skin Tone

Photographed by Justin Borbely.
With the holidays officially over, we're just about ready to toss all of our festive hues out the window and settle into something a little more moody. Winter means it's prime time for dark lipsticks — not nude and not necessarily brown. Dark and sultry. Meow.

Whether you're already well-acquainted with these deeper hues or are looking to dip your toes into this trend pool, we've got you covered. We tapped celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic — who happens to be Kim Kardashian's right-hand makeup man — and asked him to whip up a handful of looks based on skin tone. The first thing he did? Completely shake up the idea of matching our makeup to our "tones."

"It's what everyone thinks they should look for, but it's only part of the equation," he says. "When I pick a lipstick color, I take the entire look into account — the hair color, the brows, the skin tone, and even eye color. All these things will affect what color I pick." So instead of just labeling yourself as some hard-to-read tone, Dedivanovic reminds us to take our entire face and hair into consideration. "It's also so much about personal preference," he adds.

To get you started, we've rounded up six types and the lipstick looks that go with them. Consider these jumping off points for your own dark lipstick experimentation. What else are you supposed to do when it's so cold outside?
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Photographed by Justin Borbely.
Brown Hair + Medium Tone + Warm Undertones
According to Dedivanovic, medium-toned skins run the risk of looking a bit washed out with too-dark lipstick. So he opted for a plum hue that was neither too dark or too light.

To get the right shade, he mixed two hues. He started with a base of Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Volga. But Dedivanovic wanted something high-gloss, so he swept on Surratt Beauty's Lip Lustre in Trés Chic.

"The gloss adds some drama," Dedivanovic says. "It helps add light to her face and keeps the skin looking healthy." He applied the colors all over the lips, directly from the tubes.

Plus, this combo is totally transitional. Dedivanovic suggests wearing just the matte for the day. "When you're ready to transition to evening, just swipe on the gloss," he says. There's nothing we love more than a double-duty shade.

Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Volga, $27, available at Nars; Surratt Beauty Lip Lustre in Trés Chic, $32, available at Barneys New York.
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Photographed by Justin Borbely.
Dark Hair + Dark Eyes + Cool Undertones
Black lipstick has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Long heralded as only for goth kids or Rihanna, Dedivanovic assures us that black is totally wearable. You just have to know what you're doing.

Firstly, Dedivanovic opted for black on our model because of the rest of her features. "She's got very dark eyes, dark hair, and good brows," he explains. Add those things together, and you've got a fabulous foundation for the darkest lips out there.

Dedivanovic actually started by lining the lips in black eye pencil. He then swept on Di La La by MDM Flow. "It's got a creamy sheen, which softens it," he explains. "Matte would be too harsh for her lighter skin tone." He applied the pigment straight from the tube and warned us not to play up the cupid's bow. "It will make your lips appear smaller if you do that," he says.

Keep the rest of your makeup minimal. Fill in your brows and add a slight swipe of mascara — you've made black lipstick insanely wearable.

MDM Flow Lipstick in Di La La, $26.70, available at MDM Flow.
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Photographed by Justin Borbely.
Dark Hair + Light Eyes + Warm Undertones
Dedivanovic says you have Kylie Jenner to thank for the sudden uptick in reddish-brown hues. "Since she's been wearing them, everyone seems to want to wear them," he explains. "But it looks particularly good with these tones. It warms up the skin and looks monochromatic."

He pulled Urban Decay's in-demand (read: sold out everywhere) new lip shade, 1993, for this look. "It's a universally flattering warm, dark lip," he says. "If you're looking for a brown to dip your toes into the dark lipstick family, this is it."

Plus, according to Dedivanovic, matte textures are easier to maintain with this shade. "They don't move a whole lot and they can look dramatic or natural," he says. So even though the shade is dark, it's not necessarily as shocking and in-your-face.

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in 1993, $22, Urban Decay. This shade is currently out of stock. For a similar look, try Maybelline's Color Sensational Lip Color in Touchable Taupe.
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Photographed by Justin Borbely.
Dark Hair + Deep Skin + Warm Undertones
The beauty of deeper skin tones is that they can handle the truly dark, chocolate browns that are so major lately. "It's also really flattering with dark hair," Dedivanovic says,

He opted for a semi-gloss texture on the lips, but assures us you can wear this color in just about any texture. For this shade, he painted on a matte brown lipstick as a base. To add the texture, he then added Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Black Cherry. "You could also use a clear gloss, but this deepens the color," Dedivanovic says.

For a dark shade like this, he stresses the importance of balancing the skin texture with the lipstick texture. "I used a glossy sheen for the chocolate, so the skin shouldn't be dewy," he said. Same goes for matte. If you use a matte shade, make sure to add some luminosity to your skin.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Birkin Brown, $32, available at Charlotte Tilbury; Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Black Cherry, $16, available at Anastasia Beverly Hills.
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Photographed by Justin Borbely.
Light Hair + Light Eyes + Cool Undertones
Dedivanovic opted for a brick shade for our fairest model for a few reasons.

"This shade looks great with blonde hair," he explains. Our model also has green eyes, and the deep brick stood in gorgeous contrast to that hue. "The red gives a pop of color without much makeup on the face," he says.

To get the perfect brick, Dedivanovic used a mix of two shades. He started by lining and filling in the lips with Nars' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned. Then, he popped on a layer of Revlon's Balm Stick in Crush for added depth.

The beauty of this brick is that it's appropriate for day or night. Dedivanovic kept the rest of the makeup minimal, but a slight cat-eye could turn this look into a total nighttime winner. Plus, it's the perfect red alternative for ladies on the pale side, since brighter shades can be overwhelming.

Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick in Damned, $26, available at Nars; Revlon Color Stay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush, $9.49, available at Ulta.
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Photographed by Justin Borbely.
Dark Hair + Olive Skin + Warm Undertones
When Dedivanovic first pulled out this red shade, we hesitated. Red isn't typically considered a dark, right? But Dedivanovic told us to think outside the box.

"It is a dark," he urged. Since it's not an orange-red, it does tend to swing into darker territory. And it's particularly great for this particular skin tone. "These tones tend to have darkness around the eyes and mouth," he says. "This color helps to brighten it."

He used Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella to achieve the shade. "It's polished and easy," he says. "It's more wearable than an orange-red and it's more flattering."

What he stresses most of all, though, is that dark is about what's dark for you. Not everyone wants to or can pull off a deep purple. So if a deep crimson is more your speed, go for it.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, $26, available at Sephora.
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Photographed by Justin Borbely.
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