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Which maroon lipsticks are best?

Maroon is that intriguing blend between brown and red that calls to mind late nights in a faraway piano bar or walks along the Seine. Classic yet enjoying a well-deserved renaissance, maroon is dramatic and flattering. If you’re looking for an on-trend look that calls all attention to your lips, consider introducing maroon lipstick to your collection. If you want a long-lasting, moisturizing maroon lipstick that works with many skin tones, Lancome Color Design Lipstick in Fashion Icon is a perfect choice.

What to know before you buy a maroon lipstick

Whether you want matte or glossy

Maroon’s comeback has been built during the surge of matte lipsticks over the last few years. It’s easy to see why: This dark, sultry shade calls attention to itself without shine. However, matte lipstick isn’t for everyone, as it can be drying and unforgiving in its lines. You can enjoy the drama of a maroon lipstick in a glossy or even a sheer application, adding all the striking beauty of the color without the challenges of applying a matte finish.

Whether it’s right for the occasion

Maroon is a statement shade, so bring it out for that night out on the town or a special occasion. But it doesn’t need to be relegated to evening. The more sheer and shimmery shades can be a fun addition for a stint of shopping or an outdoor brunch. Choose sheer shades for day, and lean into the drama of a matte for night. The word “maroon” comes from the romance language word for “brown” — “marron” in both French and Spanish — so you may want to use the more brown-dominant shades for evening and the warmer, crimson shades for daytime.

Whether you want long-wear or regular

Dark lipsticks last longer than light ones, but they also show their wear more quickly. Feathering of a lighter shade may blend in, but a smudged maroon lipstick is like a flashing light. If you need your dark lipstick to last, you may want to consider an extended-wear formula that will stay put even as you dance the night away. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll have to use a bit more elbow grease — and makeup remover — to get a dark long-wear lipstick off your lips at the end of the night. Don’t skip this step, or you’ll wake up with maroon lipstick smeared on your pillowcase or your face. 

What to look for in a quality maroon lipstick

Moisturizing formula

Because so many maroon lipsticks come in matte formulas, it’s particularly important to look at the ingredient lists for moisturizing ingredients, such as coconut oil or hyaluronic acid. If you do opt for matte, apply a lip balm an hour before, if possible, to give your lips some much-needed moisture. Glossy lipsticks tend to keep lips more hydrated, so as long as you’ve got one with good, natural moisturizers, it should be all you need to keep your lips healthy. 

Sheer or highly pigmented

If you find a deep maroon to be a bit too much, think about giving it a try with a sheer wash of color. That way, you can enjoy all the attention-grabbing qualities of maroon without the need for the precision application of a deeply color-saturated shade. If you’re ready to lean into a full, deep matte maroon, one trick for a flawless look is to start at your Cupid’s bow and make the two sides match. Then, stop an eighth to a quarter of an inch from the corners of your mouth for a more natural look.  

Matte or shimmer 

While maroon shades are often associated with matte or plain gloss lipsticks, there are several fun options with a bit of shimmer to give this classic a new twist. 

How much you can expect to spend on maroon lipstick

A great drugstore maroon lipstick can be had for around $8, while the on-trend designer brands cost between $25-$40.

Maroon lipstick FAQ

How can I help my maroon lipstick last longer?

A. Highly pigmented shades like maroon will show any dry patches or flakes on your lips more readily than lighter, more forgiving colors, so lip prep is key. Exfoliate your lips with a gentle, specially-made lip exfoliant, or make your own with brown sugar and coconut oil. Alternatively, treat yourself to a hydrating lip mask. Next, apply a good balm and give it time to soak in — a minimum of 30 minutes. A good lip liner can be a lifesaver when it comes to a dark shade like maroon, as it will keep the color in the lines and prevent feathering and smudging.

What eyeshadows looks best with maroon lipstick?

A. Some beauty experts suggest that if you’re going to go for a dramatic shade like maroon, you’ll want to keep your eyes more neutral and sheer to keep from looking overly made up. Consider a subtle smoky eye or a range of warm shimmers, such as gold and light brown. If you want to play with the color wheel, adding a subtle bit of forest green at the lash line counterbalances the red in maroon.

What’s the best maroon lipstick to buy?

Top maroon lipstick

Lancôme Color Design Lipstick in Fashion Icon

Lancôme Color Design Lipstick in Fashion Icon 

What you need to know: This full-coverage, smooth lipstick from a premium department store brand offers moisture and deep color.

What you’ll love: The show-stopping color is gorgeous and just the right balance between the brown and red that comprise maroon. 

What you should consider: You may need to reapply more frequently than you’d expect for a lipstick this pigmented.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top maroon lipstick for the money

NYX Professional Makeup Shout Loud Satin Lipstick in So Dramatic

NYX Professional Makeup Shout Loud Satin Lipstick in So Dramatic

What you need to know: This budget option doesn’t skimp on color or quality.

What you’ll love: It is a satin finish, not quite a matte, which gives the color a different twist than some of the other options. It’s formulated with shea and mango butters, making this a creamy, easy-glide option that stays put.

What you should consider: If you’re looking to lean into the trendy matte look of maroon, this lipstick may have a bit too much shine for your taste.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

MAC Lipstick Matte in Antique Velvet

MAC Lipstick Matte in Antique Velvet

What you need to know: A true, intense matte, this formula gives a lot of color payoff in just one application.

What you’ll love: This classic shade from a lipstick powerhouse goes on thick and wears well. 

What you should consider: Due to its intense pigmentation, some customers note that a bit of color remains even after the lipstick has worn off. Remove this one at the end of the night for clean lips before sleeping.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty


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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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