10 years ago by

When I told Garance I wanted to talk about the deep, berry lips we had seen on the fall runway, I was bombarded with questions from her and the Studio:

What shade should I wear? How do I not look like a vampire? Can I wear a dark lip without feeling too 90s? Do you have one I can try? Are my lips a weird shape?

I’m here to address all of those pressing questions (minus the one about lip shape, sorry Christiana)…

1. Pick a shade. I’m a big advocate of testing them out. I know it seems like a daunting task, but it’s really the best way. Emily has olive undertones in her skin and she first tried a deep aubergine shade, and it wasn’t right for her. A similar shade looked great on Christiana who also has olive skin. You’ve gotta try them on. I often leave Sephora with a half sleeve of color swatches and it really is the best way to find the right color for you.

If you’re looking for something subtle and want to ease into the look, try a tinted balm to start, like a Chubby Stick (Fuller Fig or Richer Raisin) or try Butter London’s new Tinted Balm in Black Cherry.

2. Avoid looking like an extra in Twilight. Keep the rest of your makeup minimal. Avoid a smoky eye or heavy liner with the deeper shades (Fendi did this well for fall, even though the hair was a little intense). For blush, try a light, warm shade to give you a healthy glow. I was really into a deep plum shade one summer (I know, summer!) and happened to also be really into this long black maxi dress…it was a little too Morticia Addams at times.

3. Embrace the 90s. I know you’re groaning over there but come on, were the 90s really so bad? Drew Barrymore rocked a bordeaux lip like no other. The strongest image that comes to my mind is that one of her with the daisies in her hair. You know, that one. If you’re really fearful, try a warmer shade and leave the deep bordeaux to Drew (or Winona, Liv, Gwen or Courtney).

4. Try these! From top to bottom: L’Oréal Infallible in Bold Bordeaux, Dior Addict Extreme in Black Tie, NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Volga, Marc Jacobs Lovemarc in Saboteur, Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani in #609, and By Terry Hyaluronic Sheer Rouge in Sangria Appeal.

Are you wearing a bordeaux lip this fall? Tell me your shade! Tell me your favorite 90s bordeaux lip icon!

– Alex


Add yours
  • Andréa B November, 14 2013, 9:13 / Reply

    M.A.C en “Diva”, infaillible! avec le crayon à lèvres “Burgundy”.

  • WELL LIVING BLOG November, 14 2013, 10:10

    What a great post ! Thanks for sharing this treasure – tips Alex !!
    XX Luba

    Over the knee boots in my look, today on

  • chanel excentric. probably discontinued :)

    kristen mcmenamy :D

  • j’ai craqué pour une palette 4 teintes (pour yeux et visages) de chez & other stories, superbe, avec un rouge à lèvre bordeaux d’une très jolie teinte.

  • I don’t know. Looks great on models, and lord knows I have nothing against the 90s, but I’m kind of with Christiana on this one. Doesn’t it make my lips look weirdly shaped? Too small and crooked? Bright red doesn’t produce the same insecurities in me, so I’m not sure why the deeper color would, but there you have it, it just does.

  • Rimmel a sorti une super collection en collaboration avec Kate Moss, les Lasting finish. Ce sont des rouge à lèvres mat, et la couleur 107 est un très beau prune ! J’ai une peau claire et rose, et la nuance me convient bien.

  • Enfin, pas prune, bordeaux !!!

  • Je trouve que cela va à très peu de personnes, et quand c’est le cas, c’est magnifique, mais pour moi, je préfère passer!

  • I’ve tried several shades of red lipstick, and they all made my teeth look awfully yellowish! Any advice? I’d really, really like to embrace the trend, with the chance of smiling as much as I want. Boooo!

  • Jane with the noisy terrier November, 14 2013, 8:19

    You may be trying colors with too much blue in them. Try a shade that’s more raisin, a more brownish burgundy. I also like to apply the color with my finger, to pat the color onto my lips. That way it’s sheerer, more of a stain. Or try a burgundy lip gloss – they can look quite dark in the tube but a little goes a long way and the glossiness makes them a bit brighter and easier to wear. Good luck!

  • Lisa Eldridge has a great video with advice about this, called “How to Wear Dark Lipstick”, which I highly recommend! Here I followed her advice and used the beautiful burgundy colored MAC Dubonnet lipstick:

  • Black Honey de Clarins, Je le porte aujourd’hui! un peu transparent c’est plus facile à porter!

  • I love it but definitely better on Brunette than blond!

  • Moi j’adore “bordeaux lips”! Il faut juste essayer, et trouver ce qui est parfait pour toi!

  • Val de Bruxelles November, 14 2013, 9:51 / Reply

    Black Honey de CLINIQUE ! Sorry

    Un basic pour toute l’année, avec lequel on joue la nuance en fonction de l’application.

  • A 18 ans, dans les années 90 donc, je me suis offert le rouge noir de Chanel. Je l’ai porté quelque fois assorti au vernis…L’année dernière, j’ai choisi la teinte luxe burgundy de Shu Uemura, j’avoue qu’au départ je voulais ce rouge à lèvres pour le packaging… et tendance oblige plutôt qu’un rouge rouge j’ai opté pour la teinte bordeaux ; je suis agréablement surprise par la beauté de la couleur et le confort du produit.

  • Le gloss Controversy de Chanel est magnifique!!! J’adore le porter avec juste un trait d’eyeliner sur les yeux. Mais c’est vrai que sur ma soeur qui est blonde et qui a la peau plus pâle… le résultat n’est pas top du tout.

  • Givenchy in Violine Précieux! It’s just a little lighter than the super intense bordeaux Miss Barrymore is rocking so a bit less scary for dark-lip virgins like me. And it lasts foreverrrrr.

  • M.A.C Diva for “feeling bold” days

  • le black cherry de revlon est un must. Il est de toutes les reviews ou top, mais attention, on doit mettre une base.

  • Le rouge foncé ne va pas à toutes. Cela durcit les traits et ça fait ressortir les rides. D’ailleurs si je devais donner un conseil, ce serait à Garance : elle est (était) beaucoup mieux quand elle portait des nuances plus douces. La preuve : photo ancienne ( et une plus récente (

  • Emmanuellelila November, 14 2013, 11:52

    Eh bien non, je dirais comme la maman de Garance, tout lui va : rouge discret ou très présent.

    Quant à moi, no lipstick, je suis trop pale et rousse pour avoir un truc qui claque et que j assume.


  • La photo est super jolie!!!

  • Tom Ford Black Orchid, fully applied with a brush or as a stain. Also beautiful as a cream blush!

  • Tom Ford Black Orchid – totally agree, a beautiful color especially for light olive skin

  • Michelle Lee November, 14 2013, 10:43 / Reply
  • Growl by Illamasqua. It’s the best! I love to wear this with a quite bare face, just a little powder. I miss the 90’s. Seems like the fashion and red carpet worlds were so much more relaxed than they are nowadays.

  • How handy to find this article on the day I’m off on a quest to find my own!

    Shani x

  • I tried this trend in middle school in the 90s. Needless to say it was a little much for a 13 year old. I also made the mistake of getting a color that was too brown – it was pretty bad! (Does anyone else remember a lot of brown in the 90s in general?) But I am tempted to try again… maybe with a cooler, more raspberryish tone!

  • In love with these colors!

    Elisa – My Fantabulous World

  • I was a fan of nudes and nudes only, until I tried this lipstick a month ago – Burberry Blueberry! It happened quite surprisingly actually, while fooling around with my friend at the store. The lipstick seems really dark, but once applied, it gives this beautiful, glossy bordeux shade and refreshens every possible look in this fall!

  • Salut,

    J’aime beaucoup.
    À bientôt !


  • Bernadette November, 14 2013, 11:10 / Reply

    MAC satin lipstick in colour “Rebel”

  • I love my plum lipstick by Tom Ford. Here is about

  • We are lucky in Paris to get Other Stories for beautiful accessible make-up and more than that KIKO italian cosmetic with very good quality and so cheap price.
    Since i discover them in Paris, i buy most of my make up incluse the nail lacquer.
    For me bordeaux is more like the wine, a deep red than something with prune or violet in it.
    Nars Rouge Basque is very chic.
    Don’t forget that the darker lips are ,the older you may look as my friend make-up artiste says.

  • This pic is so amazing that makes me wanna try the burgundy lipstick even though I’m sure it doesn’t suit me! ;)

    A Fashion & DIY Blog

  • I like so much those shades for lips Garance! They are really sexy and chic!!

  • I just purchased a bordeaux lipstick, for the first time since 1990s. MAC ‘Media’ very deep if applied full on (think 1930s movie lips) and it can be dabbed on for beautifully ‘bitten’ look. The bordeaux shade is really beautiful.
    In the ’90s people used to tell me I looked like two people – Wynona Ryder in ‘Beetlejuice’ and Drew Barrymore. I used to wear dark lipstick a lot :D

  • Dolce & Gabbana’s “Dramatic” is a rich, creamy Bordeaux that suits most skin tones. Love it!

    A Girl Who Would be KING – Style/Recipes/Product Reviews/Beauty/Art/Health

    Today: Tarte Lipsurgence Review

  • Beautiful pic!! My fav is Rouge Volupte 12 from YSL


  • J’adore le bordeaux. Un peu dur en vieillissant,faut avouer…

  • Great post about lipstick colour… but I’m sorry, I just want to know, what happened to the lipsticks that you guys chopped up for the beautiful pic?
    Do you reuse them? Throw them away?

  • This was my first thought! “I can’t believe they ruined all those beautiful expensive lipsticks!” I am such a practical Midwestern girl at heart.

  • Les lèvres bordeaux, quand c’est bien fait et bien assorti, je trouve ça vraiment super sexy !
    J’ai un rouge foncé Chanel vraiment top que j’adore porter

    xx Caroline J.

  • I love this color for my lips!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • Tes articles sont toujours parfaits et me donnent toujours envie d’acheter…
    Je tenterais bien le baume teinté Butter London!

  • I like this wine lip trend a lot! But I was scared a bit to try it on myself so I purchased budget friendly lip balm in berry color. It’s actually Carmex Moisture Plus Sheer Plum Tint. Really gothic and dark in the tube, but sheer on the lips. When I’m feeling risky – I layer it ;).

  • Great post! I love burgundy lips but I always feel afraid of looking like a vampire. I’ll try these shades!

  • Cette vidéo de Lisa Eldridge, reine du maquillage de stars,donne de supers conseils pour porter un rouge à lèvre sombre tout en évitant de ressembler à Morticia Adams.

  • A mi me encantan los colores oscuros para los labios ,creo que no le queda bien a todas las mujeres pero son tonos ideales.
    Un beso .

  • Garance, comment as-tu osé découper des rouges ? Et Alex n’a pas pleuré en voyant ça ? (ça me fait penser à Idefix qui pleure à chaque fois qu’Obelix tombe un arbre)

  • Alex & Garance & Co: you HAVE to try Kevyn Aucoin Bloodroses. Imagine how obsessed most people are with the Yves Saint Laurent Touché Éclat: the adoration and hype surrounding this lipstick, for those who have experienced it, exceeds that of even the much loved Touché Éclat. You must try it.

  • Je suis toujours à la recherche du rouge “velours de rideau d’opéra” impossible à trouver.. toujours trop brun, trop prune, trop clair… help!!

  • ah yes, bought M.A.C. Diva a couple of weeks ago, i love it, perfect for fall!

  • This was the most unflattering trend of the 90’s. I was so glad to see it replaced with the pretty nudes, pinks and neutrals of the early 00’s. Can’t believe it’s back…doesn’t make it better. Check out early 90’s Jennifer Lopez. That’s all.

  • Très bonne suggestion de post… Un coloris difficile a adopter mais avec ma coupe courte, je ne quitte plus le rouge Dior numéro 862. Un bordeaux lie-de-vin somptueux!

  • J’adore me mettre du bordeaux sur les lèvres, c’est magnifique et super élégant!

    Sandrine x

  • I’ve loved Bobbi Brown’s “Party Rose” for awhile now.

  • very timely, just tried this one last night Berry Twist – so perfect !

    I have been into deep dark berry forever. No other makeup is necessary.

  • I can not live without my Kate Moss x Rimmel matte lipstick. My color is “deep berry”. I use it a lot in autumn and winter. Kisses!

  • Les lèvres foncées je trouve que ça peut être magnifiques si on sait s’y prendre…. c’est ainsi qu’un jour j’ai entrepris, pour une occasion spéciale (mais pas costumée), de mettre du bleu sur mes lèvres. Maintenant que j’y pense, figurante de Twilight, c’est un bon résumé de l’impression que j’ai donné ce soir là ;-). Flop flop

  • Le bordeaux de Tom Ford ! Le “violet fatale” est parfait ! Une très belle texture et une tenue à toute épreuve !

  • NARS Fire Down Below. All day, err day.

  • MAC lipstick in Rebel. I just got it and t’s gorgeous and very comfortable to wear! Prior to trying this I was a little apprehensive about wearing lipstick because of the heavy feeling so I used the Stila Lip Stain in Pomegranate Crush. I would recommend the Stila Lip Stain it to anyone who loathes the feeling of lipstick but wants to try lip colour out without the possibility of smearing.

    A neat trick:
    Use a flat short makeup brush to apply the lipstick and start the brush in short strokes at the inside of the lip to avoid a very defined lip line. Work your way out to the edges of your lip. This allows you to control how dark the lipstick will be.

  • I’m loving MAC Cremesheen in Hang-Up. My friend just got MAC Matte in Sin and it’s great too.

  • My 90’s look peg would be Gwen Stefani, in all of her No Doubt videos, particularly Don’t Speak.

  • rose_buvard November, 15 2013, 2:53 / Reply

    Super post !!! Je porte depuis quelques semaines le Rouge Pur Couture The Mats d’Yves Saint Laurent dans la très jolie teinte Prune Virgin, les yeux sans make-up avec juste une touche de blush pêche.
    Et celle qui me vient à l’esprit quand je pense aux 90’s, c’est Gwyneth (période cheveux courts)…

  • Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick in colour Plum.
    Both a balm, and a very nice colour for the day.

  • MissPimpin November, 15 2013, 4:16 / Reply

    Conseil d’une vieille de la vielle (qui avait toutes les teintes possibles de Bordeaux dans les 90’s). C’est une couleur hyper flatteuse, mais attention, ça jaunit les dents !!!! Alors si on n’a pas le sourire ultra bright, vaut mieux opter pour des rouge rouge, rouge orangé ou rose…

  • “rebel” de chez mac ! à utiliser avec le crayon associé pour plus de pronfondeur ! J’en suis fan :)

  • I’ve always had a bordeaux in stock – the same one since the 90s! I’ve tried others but love Chanel’s Lune Russe the best still.

  • MAC – Russian Red is the one I love… I will wear it and show my pictures on my blog soon..

  • Dear Alex, great post! But if you haven’t been ‘raised’ in the 90s (I was a teenager crazy about grunge look including this shade of lipstick) you do not know that key to an excellent ‘bordeaux’ look is the lip pencil of the right colour/shade…

  • Favorite lipstick icon?

    Hands down the actress JUDY DAVIS — she totally rocked deep red lipstick and it was almost always Matte.
    She was the Cate Blanchett/Kate Winslet of the ’90’s.

    Soooooo Australian…so cool…..great lips…..

  • Frédérique November, 15 2013, 10:31 / Reply

    Perso, j’aime beaucoup les couleurs des rouges à lèvres Shiseido. Elles sont profondes, minimalistes et bien mattes. Je les portais déjà dans les années 90′ d’ailleurs :ˆ)!

    Bon we!


  • Méchante fille November, 15 2013, 2:47 / Reply

    Moi qui suis aussi une vieille de la vieille j’aimais beaucoup shu uemura en mélangeant
    Les tons et surtout j’aimais bien faire le contour au crayon (pour une meilleure tenue sans que le
    Lipstick ne déborde )
    Voilà a bientôt

  • I have a friend who was my bordeaux lip envy in the 90s. She was going through a goth phase with long dark brown hair, MaxFactor 2000 calorie mascara (with the slightest greenish tint to it that perfectly brought out the green in her eyes, now discontinued) and an Estee Lauder bordeaux lipstick. I was pale, that was goth enough, but my hair was mousey and a bordeaux lip made me look like a child had played with her mother’s make-up. We were only in our teens back then. :) Somehow she looked sophisticated and beautiful, though. So, for 2 decades I steered clear from the dark berry lips.

    But a few years ago I started experimenting with colourful lips again. At first with tinted balms and glosses and moving on to real lipsticks. I have had several shades of red, coral and fuchsia – all very cool and built my confidence. It was only logical that I get back into the bordeaux this autumn. I tried several and finally settled on a Wild Rose Moist Lipstick by Lumene in the shade Berries. Lumene is this Finnish make-up company that really caters for the nordic skin and climate. And I LOVE the lipstick! I do not wear it every day and sometimes just rub a little colour into my lips as the late autumn in Scandinavia can get pretty depressing without any colour.

    Well, that was lengthy. :) Anyway, wear the lipstick, do not let it wear you! THEN you can pull off pretty much any shade. Whether 16 or 36 years old. :)

  • Make Up Forever in Black Currant #48. Best texture and colour that can go from berry to bordeaux!

  • Oh, and Shiseido’s Lip Lacquer in Nocturne. Beautiful, rich garnet-y colour!

  • Personnellement, j’ai découvert le bordeaux/violet de YSL l’an dernier sur de supers conseils d’une vendeuse Sephora. Je suis métisse et ce rouge à lèvres est devenu ma signature. Depuis, je ne sors plus sans rouge à lèvres foncé. Ma mère m’a offert la dernière collection de Chanel , et mon dieu j’adore. Et au contraire j’aime le côté un peu dark, unique et le style piquant, sophistiqué qu’il me donne. Il donne un fort caractère à mon allure, mais le bordeaux d’une façon générale en vêtements ou en make up me va plutôt bien, et d’une façon générale je pense que c’est à privilégier pour les peaux métissées, les peaux mates. J’ai une amie très claire de peau aux yeux bleus à qui ça va remarquablement bien aussi mais c’est vrai que ça fait un peu plus goth et couture mais c’est ça la beauté de cette couleur.

    BREF, Burgundy forever and ever. Ma couleur préférée et qui me flatte le plus.

  • I’m a brown skinned girl and my lips are naturally very pigmented so I use MAC’s diva pretty much all year round! When I want to go bordeaux/vampy I go for MAC’s good to be bad (sheen supreme) and Media which is also really dark and rich. love them both!

  • Teaelleyou November, 18 2013, 1:06 / Reply

    Urban Decay Shame!

  • You should try Raise The Bar, BAREMINERALS, A-M-AAZZIIINNG!! Best texture and colour ever!!

  • Korres’ Wine Red looks good on everyone.

  • Lovely post. Great tips

    For darker skintones like olive, tan and darker skin definitely try the intensely pigmented Kevyn Aucoin lipsticks. Bloodroses is amazing and versatile. It is rich and covers any pigmentation on the lips but isn’t drying. Nothing looks worse than chapped lips….

  • Bold bordeaux by Loreal is one of my favorites. It looks sexy and vampy but without being over done. I think it is important to also try and make your lips look as full as possible. If you have reasonably full lips just using a lip liner will make a huge difference. If like me you have terribly thin lips then you might need a bit of extra help. I use lip plumpers, specifically this one which I always get great results with, not just on me but also on my clients.

  • MAC Diva is my fave plum lip colour.Instantly glam without being too vampy.Also I love the way it makes me look fresh no matter how tired I am

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