NEW YORK CITY — What Amanda Thesen wears on her face is her best advertisement for her job as a makeup artist, but up until a few years ago, she dreaded wearing dramatic lipstick.
For a lot of women, the dark plum and red colors of this fall and winter's lipstick palette can seem too bold to wear in public.
To overcome her trepidations, Thesen gradually worked fall colors into her look.
"Everyday I would try a new one," said Thesen, 29, who is represented by Top 5 Management. "Even if I didn't like it, I would walk out of the house anyway and ask my friends what they thought or what my husband thought just to try something different."
But with the right shade to match skin tone — and perhaps a little prodding — everyone can delve into their own new lip look, according to stylists and makeup artists.
"It is like a quick change," said Shannon Park, a makeup artist with 20 years in the business. "You can be somebody else in two seconds or you can put a golden gloss on and [it'll] give you a totally different vibe."
While Thesen said she didn't want to give any rules for those wanting to wear a bold lip, generally it shouldn't be paired with a heavy eye makeup. Instead, she said to draw the focus to strong eyebrows.
"Generally speaking, if I were doing a dark, bold lip I would go easy on the eyes, but do a nice strong brow so you have those two focal points with something neutral in the middle," she said.
A red lip with darker eye makeup can work in the appropriate place like a holiday party, added Thesen.
Park leads clients to invest in several shades in different textures such as shimmer, gloss and matte texture. After that it's all just play and practice.
"You are going to become a lot more comfortable," she said.
Park still remembers the first lipstick she wore as a teenager in the 1980s — a Max Factor color inspired by Madonna's near-gothic looks.
"It can be pretty shocking when you first put it on," Park said.
Since the dark lip colors of the 1980s, strides in lipstick technology have almost eliminated issues, such as having to avoid matte textures that suck lips of moisture or colors that bleed outside the lip line, according to Erin Sykes, a beauty and style expert based in New York City.
"Before, they seemed arduous. You had to reapply and watch your teeth and pay so much attention to your lips," she said. "Now you can put it on in the morning and wear it easily through to lunch."
Snapping a photo with a camera can help when trying on a string of new colors, Sykes said.
"Then you have an accurate record of what each lipstick looks like," she said, adding that this season she loves the shade "Insolent Plum" by Estee Lauder.
Lipstick also needs to be seen as an accessory to your whole outfit, according to Sykes. A dark plum with all black clothing can be "a little monochromatic, but if I was wearing all black I would wear a red for a little bit of color," she said.
"If it's a plum lipstick, I sometimes do a winter white outfit," said Sykes. "I like to play around with the two mediums."