The Best Purple Lipstick Shades

The best purple shade for you depends on your skin tone and the look you want to achieve.

Photo: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Called "bold" and "rebellious" by "Vogue", purple lipstick is a popular and versatile product that you can purchase in a variety of shades, from light lavender to deep eggplant. There is no one best shade of purple lipstick: the best shade for you depends on your skin tone and your style. With a few basic rules in mind and a lot of creativity and experimentation, you can find a shade of purple lipstick that brings out your most vibrant, vivacious side.

Rule of Thumb

To rock purple lipstick, you need to pick a shade that complements your skin tone. If you tend to look best in warm colors like yellow and red, look for deep shades of wine, burgundy, plum and eggplant. But if you look better in cool colors like blue and green, look for a breezy lavender or orchid lipstick -- one so light that it borders on pink. Lipsticks in shades of magenta, mauve, raspberry, grape and violet could be either warm or cool depending on their brightness, so have fun experimenting!

Try it On

If you've never worn purple lipstick before, make your first purchase at a department store where you can try samples before buying. You can put a bit on the inside of your wrist first, to see how it goes with your skin tone (and avoid piling lipstick onto lipstick!). Then, if you think you might like it, try it on your lips and check yourself out in the mirror. Remember to smile, since different amounts of blue or red in the lipstick can make your teeth look whiter or more yellow. Bring a friend on the shopping trip with you, to help you choose a color that makes you look terrific.

Consider the Occasion

Before donning purple lipstick, consider where you'll be wearing it and what sort of "look" you are after. For example, if you are dressing for an elegant affair, you may want to veer toward warmer tones such as a deep plum or mauve. But if you are going out for brunch with your girlfriends and want to look more youthful and whimsical, try a lighter mauve, lavender or bright violet.

Applying Purple Lipstick

Unless you are specifically going for a campy or goth look, you are probably best off keeping the rest of your makeup minimal when you are sporting purple lipstick. Keep the rest of your face natural, to bring attention to your lips. Use a light foundation, simple bronzer, neutral eyeliner and dark brown mascara. When applying the lipstick, use a small lip brush for precision; for something as bold as purple, you want full, well-defined lips.

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