In lipstick, purple is the new orange-red

The new fall lip color is dark purple. Lipsticks that fit the bill include Nars' Liv, as seen on model Ashleigh Rae.
The new fall lip color is dark purple. Lipsticks that fit the bill include Nars’ Liv, as seen on model Ashleigh Rae.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The bright and punchy orange-red lipstick that’s been a popular way to punctuate an ensemble for the last several years has gotten decidedly deeper and darker for fall.

Seen on the runways at Rodarte, Rebecca Minkoff and Tibi, a deep purple hue is the season’s key lip shade. It’s not surprising considering the return of a ‘90s grunge influence on fashion.

“This season [the dark lip] is much more fresh and modern,” says Nars International’s lead makeup stylist, Uzo, who created makeup looks for several runway shows during New York Fashion Week. “Formulas are not as matte. They are creamier and glossier, which changes the look and dimension.”


Lipstick: In the Oct. 5 Image section, an article about lipstick trends said the Nars Audacious Lipstick collection has 12 colors. It has 40. —
The purple spectrum ranges from a warm, berry hue with red undertones to a cool, deep purple with blue undertones, and Uzo assures that there is a shade out there for every skin tone.


For a fair complexion, Uzo recommends a color with cool undertones.

“Rooney Mara is a good example,” says the makeup artist of the actress who often wears a cool, dark hue with her edgy Givenchy gowns. “She is so pale but still rocks a dark lip because of the blue undertones.”

A medium complexion is a bit more versatile when it comes to this beauty trend. Uzo says that cool, deep colors or shades with red undertones both work.

For dark skin, warmer undertones work best, she says. Think warm berries that are not quite as deep as a dark purple, but have some red tones.

To illustrate how to apply the darker colors, Uzo used lipstick from Nars’ new Audacious Lipstick collection — a set of 12 cream formula lipsticks released to mark the 20th anniversary of the brand.

Before applying color, Uzo recommends thoroughly exfoliating the lips with a lip scrub, since dry skin is more apparent with a dark shade.

Then she prepped the lips, not with lip balm but with an eye cream. “A lip balm can be too waxy or thick,” Uzo says. “An eye cream adds moisture and sinks right into the lips.”

After the lips were prepped, Uzo applied Liv, a deep eggplant shade with blue undertones, using a lip brush to control opacity and to build the color to a shade that looked best with the client’s skin tone. She touched up the edges of the mouth with concealer and a pointed concealer brush for a clean finish.


Uzo then added depth and dimension by using Nars Train Bleu velvet matte pencil, which can also double as a lip liner to create even more definition to the mouth.

To create a warmer, berry-toned lip, Uzo used a true, deep berry with red undertones called Charlotte. It’s a shade that complements a medium to dark skin tone, and she applied it using the same techniques she had used with the darker Liv.

With so much drama happening on the lips, Uzo advises that the rest of the face should be kept relatively minimal yet defined.

“Definition on the rest of the face is key so that the other features don’t get drowned out,” she says. “Think fresh, minimal color on the eyes, like a chocolate brown eyeliner or even a deep eggplant to keep a monochromatic look.”