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The Best Burgundy Makeup Looks for Your Lips, Cheeks and Eyes

Take it as a sign: '90s beauty is back.
Burgundy makeup looks

It's officially official! The Colour of the Year for 2015, according to the experts at Pantone, is marsala. 

Like the wine. And apparently like chocolate, too (but I'm not seeing that). To me, it's as if someone stirred up a mixture of red, brown, purple and grey, and came up with this:

Pantone's 2015 Colour of the Year, marsala.

Some people are not pleased. This writer described it as a "rather gross swatch that falls somewhere on the spectrum between blood and poop." (He's not wrong.) Even the fashion authorities at The Cut think it's "icky."

And that may be when it comes to décor and clothing. After 2014's orchid, 2013's emerald and 2012's tangerine, marsala feels more than a little blah.

But around here, we're concerned about beauty—and I say, this marsala development isn't such a bad thing. In fact, if you look back at recent red carpet photos, it was basically inevitable. Makeup has been getting browner and plummier for sure.

And if you think you've seen this all before, well, you're right. You have. Stars like Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Shannon Doherty were rocking the marsala lips way back in the '90s.

But how the heck do you wear marsala in 2014? Without, y'know, looking like too literal of a '90s throwback? 

Let's take our cues from some of the best looks on the red carpet, featuring marsala lips, eyes and cheeks:

How to Wear Burgundy Lips

Kylie Jenner American Music Awards 2014

Kylie Jenner at the 2014 American Music Awards.

It has to be said. The poster child for burgundy lips is none other than Kylie Jenner. Over the last year or so, she's had a penchant for this exact shade—and I think it actually looks fantastic on her. We can skip the over-drawing of our lips and just copy the shade, which here was MAC Lip Pencil in Burgundy. Looks great with the matching dress.

Kate Hudson Wish I Was Here New York City premiere 2014

Kate Hudson at the 2014 New York City premiere of 'Wish I Was Here.’

I knew I'd also seen this colour recently on Kate Hudson, because I had difficulty describing this shade—it's got that same reddish-brownish-purplish quality that is encapsulated by Pantone's marsala. As you can see, it gives quite a vampy quality against Kate's fair colouring. (Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to find out the exact shade, as Kate's makeup artist Leslie Lopez has been arrested—OMG!)

Kat Dennings Grammys 2013

Kat Dennings at the 2013 Grammys.

I feel like Kat Dennings is always wearing these marsala-esque lipstick shades. (And arguably, she was one of the first to even start this whole brownish lip trend, if you remember this look from summer 2013.) 

Kerry Washington Producers Guild Awards 2018

Kerry Washington at the 2018 Producers Guild Awards.

On darker skin tones like Kerry Washington's, a marsala comes across less dramatic and vampy, and more like a pretty berry colour. I don't know this exact shade, but it could be Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Rich Raisin, which she wears often. The glossy finish makes the look a little more flirty.

Margot Robbie Oscars 2014

Margot Robbie at the 2014 Oscars.

Last up, who could forget Margot Robbie's lip look from the Oscars? It's a little more on the purple side, and was achieved with Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in #1 Violet Edition, and Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils Long-Wear Cream Eyeliner in #5 Cherry Black on top (try #5 Black Burgundy instead). This eyeliner would also be great for getting a touch of the marsala look on the eyes.

Some other marsala lip shades to try include:

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

How to Wear Burgundy Eyes

Kristen Stewart Personal Shopper Cannes premiere 2016

Kristen Stewart at the 2016 Cannes premiere of ‘Personal Shopper.’

When I think of these winey, burgundy tones on the eyes, I immediately think of Kristen Stewart. More than once, she's done this kind of dramatic colour, wrapping all the way from the inner corners to the outer edges of the eyes and up to the brows, plus below the lower lash line. 

Rooney Mara New York Film Festival 2013

Rooney Mara at the 2013 New York Film Festival.

Here's a similarly dramatic marsala-ish shadow example on Rooney Mara. Her application is shaped a little differently—more almond than oblong—and there's a little golden sparkle for a brighter effect. Like Kristen, hair is back and the rest of the face is nice and clean, which I think are essentials for pulling off this bold evening look.

Emma Stone Marie Claire Image Makers Awards 2018

Emma Stone at the 2018 Marie Claire Image Makers Awards.

If you don't think you can wear an opaque marsala all over (and under) your eyelids, I hear you. This is a pretty idea on Emma Stone, who, for a while there, was frequently matching her eyeshadow to her hair colour. What keeps this pretty wearable is the sparkly texture and sheer colour all the way up to the eyelids. 

Jessica Biel Hitchcock New York City premiere 2012

Jessica Biel at the 2012 New York City premiere of 'Hitchcock.’

Finally, the easiest way to do a marsala eye is Jessica Biel's hint of colour softly smudged around the lash line. She is wearing Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Grenat, which was limited-edition, but try Yves Saint Laurent's Long-Lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil in Shimmering Burgundy instead.

Some other marsala eye shades to try include:

How to Wear Burgundy Cheeks

Olivia Munn MTV Video Music Awards 2017

Olivia Munn at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.

I love a nice plummy marsala cheek for winter, as Olivia Munn is modelling here. Notice how her application is sheer and glowy—I think this helps keep the look wearable and not too heavy.

Lupita Nyong'o Producers Guild Awards 2014

Lupita Nyong’o at the 2014 Producers Guild Awards.

Of course, darker skin tones such as Lupita Nyong'o's can really handle stronger colours like burgundy—so it's a total no-brainer for the cheeks. Not sure what she is wearing here, but a shade we've spotted on Lupita in the past is Lancôme Blush Subtil in Aplum.

Leighton Meester The Judge Los Angeles premiere 2014

Leighton Meester at the 2014 Los Angeles premiere of ‘The Judge.’

If you have quite fair skin like Leighton Meester, then I would say to use marsala on the cheeks with caution. It's such a strong colour that too-heavy an application will make you look clownish. Here, she is wearing the barest flush of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure, a modern, soft plum.

Some other marsala cheek shades to try include:

Burgundy Nails

By far the simplest way to get in on any colour trend is to paint your nails with it. And you don't need me to tell you how to wear marsala nail polish—I'm pretty sure we've all been wearing it in one form or another, for years already! 

Here are a few marsala nail shades to try:


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