Everybody Looks Great in Plum-Colored Lipstick

Photo: Courtesy Photo

I’ve never been a big believer in one-size-fits-all or one-color-fits-all. Maybe one-color-suits-most. But if there was such a thing as a universally flattering shade, plum would be a contender. Looking for their favorite tonal blends of pink, purple, and brown (depending on how nineties they wanted to go), the Cut staff perused the beauty closet to find their favorite shades from fall’s cornucopia of plummy hues. Click through the slideshow for their magenta, wine-stained, fuchsia, and berry-lipped favorites. There’s something for everyone.

Photo: Courtesy photo

Charlotte Cowles: L’Absolu Rouge, Lancome

I usually avoid darker lipsticks because they make me look hypothermic. So when I saw this plum shade of Lancôme’s L’Absolu Rouge in the tube, I was doubtful, particularly after I saw that it’s named “Prune Desir” (prunes are not sexy). But when I tried it on, it came out more like a sheer, berry-colored wash. A few additional coats brought out its purple tones. Throughout the day, it faded to a more pinkish tone, probably best described as “raspberry.”  Bonus: It felt more moisturizing than most lipsticks, which often irritate my lips. — CC

Photo: Courtesy photo

Diana Tsui: Mercer, Aerin

I’m a big fan of red lipstick (Tom Ford’s Cherry Lush), but for fall I wanted something more dramatic. The Mercer shade by Aerin had just enough purple to add a bit of vamp but didn’t skew too goth. The texture was smooth and creamy, leaving a matte but still moisturized finish on my lips. It applied nicely straight from the tube, even without pre-applying lip balm, which I usually do before lipstick. I love how it perks up my features, and surprisingly, it lasts with minimal reapplication. — DT

Kathleen Hou: Urban Decay 24/7 Lipliner

In the nineties, I was supremely jealous because every magazine I read recommended Wet ‘n Wild’s Brandywine 666 as the must-have color. It sold out promptly everywhere — I couldn’t find the color anywhere in the tri-state area. Then, one winter vacation, my family took a trip to Canada where I unearthed the mother lode of Brandywine lipliners. I guess Canadian magazines were not recommending the same thing. Despite months-long anticipation, when I finally tried it on, it looked terrible on me. Well, not exactly terrible, just not great. There was too much brown in it and it accented my dark-eye circles. But this shade of Urban Decay 24/7 Lipliner is my “new” Brandywine 666. More red and purple than brown, it makes my lips look naturally wine-flushed, when I can’t get to the real thing. — KH

Stella Bugbee: Bruised Plum, Tom Ford

I’ve yet to try a Tom Ford lipstick that I didn’t love. This formula isn’t quite glossy or matte. It reminds me of the thick, dark shades I wore in the early nineties, but much more flattering because of the pinker undertones and the finest touch of sparkle. It works as well for a black-tie event as a meeting, and is sexy in a man-eater sort of way. Also, it’s hard to ignore that I’ve gotten a compliment each time I’ve worn it, even from my husband who hates lipstick. — SB

Veronica Gledhill: Atomic, Illamasqua + Provocante, Chanel + Feel My Pulse, MAC’s Creme Sheen

[Editor’s Note: It is not an understatement to say that Veronica goes murple for purple. See below.] I’m always in pursuit of the perfect wild, electric violet, because it’s weirder than plain red, and a bright plum offsets the flecks of green in my eyes. I’m going for a matte plum that has a perfect balance of depth and brightness, and enough of a bright-fuchsia undertone to not look goth. Absolutely no brown-red, as these look horrible on my pale but yellow skin tone. My perfect plum starts with a few quick swipes of Illamasqua’s matte lipstick in Atomic, a punchy, bright-fuchsia shade. Then a quick swipe and blot of Chanel’s Provocante, a diabolical, almost matte black-purple lipstick. Once these are blended together, it has the depth that I’m going for, but I top it off by blotting in MAC’s Creme Sheen Feel My Pulse lipstick, an almost neon-violet that gives it extra punch. — VG

Photo: Courtesy photo

Allison Davis: Bloodroses, Kevyn Aucoin

The name makes me think of The Hunger Games (so I love it, naturally). The texture is smooth and moisturizing, but the actual color settles in like a stain and lasts all night. Plus the color is the perfect vampy tint. It’s like I just drank a lot of red wine, but it isn’t going to undo all the hours of using Crest Strips. — AD

Kathleen Hou: Lust For Lacquer Lip Vinyl in Truth or Dare, Marc Jacobs Beauty

This non-sticky, lip-gripping lip gloss seems like a high-shine lip gloss. But blot it a few times with a tissue and the color transforms to become a lip stain. Rather than looking diminished, the muted fuschia shade still looks lively — but with a blurred color effect that makes it look lived-in and organic. — KH 

Everybody Looks Great in Plum-Colored Lipstick