I get it. Trying a dark shade on your lips might seem a little daunting at first. Some of you may find the saturation of the color a little too strong. Others might just be overwhelmed by the idea of the “work” that goes into maintaining and prepping for the big reveal. But I find that once you get the hang of it—and opt for lippies that aren’t too high maintenance—you’ll pull off the vampy look with no hitches at all. Besides, a dramatic lip is not only chic and sophisticated, it’s pretty much the easiest way to change up your look!

But first, two tips:

ABOUT THE COLOR: Just like finding the perfect red, darker shades like bordeauxs, burgundies, and wines have varying undertones to complement your skin tone. Those with paler skin can go for lipsticks with a pinkish-plum tint to them, while the morenas and olive-skinned ladies can try tubes with a reddish undertone (this will make the color pop against duskier skin).
ABOUT THE PREP: Before applying your dark lip of choice, take the time out to exfoliate your lips. This is very important, because it will keep that dramatic lip looking creamy and expensive, rather than tacky and Halloween-inspired. Whether you use an exfoliating lip scrub or just a regular toothbrush (like me!), sloughing away any dried, peeling skin on your lips allows for a smoother application of any lip product!

For today’s column, I’ve tried three colors and textures for my wine-colored lip! And don’t worry, we won’t be going from zero to sixty. I’ll start with the least dark of the three and move in ascending order of potency, just to ease you in.
The first look involves a light, sheer, glossy balm: Wet n’ Wild’s Megaslicks Balm Stain in Lady and the Vamp. This comes in crayon form, which I love, because it allows for a casual yet precise application. The color glides on lightly and smoothly, with an ultra conditioning touch (hello, it’s got acai palm oil in it!), so it’s a good fuss-free look for day.
Like I said, I’m easing you into the trend, so you can wear this as a light stain or coated on for a deeper tint.
The second product I tried is also by Wet n’ Wild: the cult fave Mega Last Lip Color in Cherry Bomb. Cherry Bomb is violet lipstick that’s got a creamy and highly-pigmented formula, which I opted to reinforce with a lip pencil. I chose a pencil in a nudish pink tone to give my lips a primer. Then, I slicked on the lipstick directly.
See how much stronger the color is compared to the balm? You could use your finger or a lip brush for a less intense color payoff, but I like the insta-drama of this look.

The third and final vampy product is my favorite and the easiest of all to put on! When wearing a a truly deep, dark lip, I like to use a lip pencil. Here I’ve applied City Color’s City Chic Lip Liner in Orchid. A lip liner like this allows you to be ultra precise with application, and can be layered on to look even darker. Best of all, it comes in a matte finish that feels neither dry nor messy. Am I overwhelmed? No way!
Whatever lippie you decide to go for, complete your look by letting your lips do the talking. Something this dramatic entails keeping the focus on your pucker, Just groom your brows, curl your lashes, apply a good helping of mascara, then leave the rest of your face bare. Clean, strong, chic.

Photos courtesy of Lyca Puno-Roa