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What color lipstick does harley quinn wear?

Harley Quinn is one of the most iconic comic book and movie characters of all time. Known for her colorful costume and signature makeup, Harley Quinn’s look is instantly recognizable. One of the key elements of Harley’s style is her bold lipstick. But what exact color does she wear? Let’s take a closer look at Harley Quinn’s go-to lip color.

Harley Quinn’s Origin and Inspiration

Harley Quinn first appeared in the 1990s Batman animated series as the sidekick and love interest of the Joker. She was originally conceived as a female sidekick for the Joker by writer Paul Dini and artist Bruce Timm. Harley’s original costume was a black and red full bodysuit inspired by a harlequin jester costume, complete with a ruffled collar and diamond-patterned sleeves.

In terms of makeup, Harley originally wore white facial makeup, a black mask over her eyes, and a black domino mask. Her lipstick was a bright red that matched her costume. This bold red lip became an iconic part of Harley’s look from her very first appearance.

Harley’s name is itself a play on the word “harlequin,” linking her to the costume inspiration. So Harley Quinn’s makeup is a key part of reflecting her origins as a harlequin jester character.

The Many Shades of Harley Quinn’s Lipstick

While Harley Quinn is most closely associated with a bright cherry red lipstick, the exact shade she wears has varied over her different comic and film incarnations. Here are some of the most notable variations:

  • Classic red – In her early comic book appearances, Harley wore a true red lipstick that matched her costume.
  • Blue-red – In Batman: The Animated Series, Harley’s lipstick had a bold blue-leaning red hue.
  • Deep wine – In the comics in the early 2000s, Harley’s lipstick shifted to deeper wine reds and burgundies.
  • Bright cherry red – In the 2016 Suicide Squad film, Margot Robbie wore a vivid cherry red as Harley.
  • Orange-red – In 2020’s Birds of Prey, Robbie sometimes wore a more orangey-red tone as Harley.

So while different illustrators and makeup artists have customized the exact shade, Harley Quinn is almost always portrayed with a bright, bold red lipstick in a cool blue-based or warm orange-based red.

The Meaning of Harley Quinn’s Signature Lip Color

So why specifically a bright, attention-grabbing red for Harley Quinn’s lipstick? There are a few symbolic reasons behind this colorful makeup choice:

  • Reflects her circus costume origins – The bold red lip echoes the red and black harlequin jester costume that inspired her character.
  • Suggests chaos and danger – A bright red lip connotes intensity, wildness, and lack of inhibition – perfect for the unpredictably dangerous Harley.
  • Hints at femininity – Despite her very un-feminine acts of violence, the red lip nods to Harley tapping into traditional feminine beauty standards.
  • Symbol of confidence – A bold red lip projects power and self-assurance, matching Harley’s fierce attitude.
  • Parallels the Joker – Her red smile mirrors the Joker’s crimson grin, linking her visual identity to her partner in crime.

So in many ways, Harley Quinn’s go-to red lipstick projects personality traits – chaotic, dangerous, feminine, confident – that make her the “crazy” character fans love.

How Margot Robbie’s Makeup Artists Chose Harley’s Lipstick

When it came time for Margot Robbie’s makeup team to create her look for 2016’s Suicide Squad, choosing the perfect red lipstick for Harley was top of mind. Makeup department head Alessandro Bertolazzi explained his process to Vogue:

We tested many different reds from orange to blue to find the perfect [one] that was at the same time clown-ish but also sexy and appealing…We found the right balance with a very pure strong blue-ish red.

The blue-tinged red was the perfect callback to Harley’s original animated look. But Bertolazzi balanced that with some retro appeal. And beauty brand M.A.C Cosmetics even came out with a line of Suicide Squad-inspired makeup, including two matte lipsticks to mimic Harley’s look.

For 2020’s Birds of Prey film, Robbie’s makeup artist changed up the shades a bit more. While still in the red family, makeup pro Kate Biscoe used orange-leaning reds like MAC Lady Danger and NARS Mysterious Red to complement the film’s color palette. The orange-toned shades provided a softer look compared to the high-voltage blue-red Suicide Squad lip.

No matter what specific red was used, the creative teams stayed true to Harley’s signature bold red lip across her movie appearances. As Biscoe described it, the red lips are “part of who she is.”

How to Get Harley Quinn’s Iconic Lip Look

Want to emulate Harley Quinn’s scene-stealing lip color for your own costume or cosplay? Here are some pro tips for pulling off her iconic red lips:

  • Prep lips by gently exfoliating to remove any dryness or flakiness. Use a damp washcloth, a soft toothbrush, or a lip scrub.
  • Apply lip balm, like Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, and allow it to soak in to prime and hydrate lips.
  • Outline and fill in lips with a red lip liner in a shade that matches your chosen lipstick. A liner helps the color last and prevents feathering.
  • Swipe on your bold red liquid lipstick, either matte or creamy finish. Some good color options are Ruby Woo or Russian Red by MAC, Outlaw by Kat Von D, or Always Red by NARS.
  • Blot lips with a tissue to remove any excess product and set the color. Reapply as needed to maintain intensity.
  • Finish with translucent setting powder to lock in the look and prevent transfer.

With the right tools and steps, you can get that flawless, smear-proof Harley Quinn pout that stays vibrant for hours. Just don’t forget to complete the look with white face makeup and your best Harley costume!

Harley Quinn’s Most Iconic Lip Moments

Let’s look back at some of Harley Quinn’s most memorable red lip looks from comics, TV shows, and movies over the years:

Year Media Description of Harley’s Lip Look
1999 Batman: The Animated Series Harley wears a vivid cool-toned blue-red lipstick that pops against her white face makeup.
2001 Batman: Harley Quinn comic book issue Artist Alex Ross paints Harley with a deeper, wine-colored lipstick in a classic comic book illustration style.
2016 Suicide Squad film Margot Robbie sports a neon blue-tinged cherry red lipstick as Harley on the big screen.
2020 Birds of Prey film Robbie wears orange-red lipsticks from MAC and NARS for a softer version of Harley’s signature color.
2022 Harley Quinn animated series In the popular adult cartoon, Harley often wears a deep oxblood or burgundy tone on her lips.

As you can see, while the exact shade varies, Harley Quinn is rarely seen without a bold red lipstick in some form. It’s an integral part of her iconic look.

Harley’s Influence on Makeup Trends

Beyond just cosplay, Harley Quinn’s signature makeup style has had a wider influence on beauty trends. Here are some ways the character has left her mark on the cosmetics world:

  • In 2016, the release of Suicide Squad sparked a wave of Harley Quinn Halloween costume makeup tutorials and looks focusing on recreating her bold lips and pigtails.
  • MAC Cosmetics launched a line of Suicide Squad-inspired lipsticks and eye shadows to tap into the film’s hype. The “Madly Margot” blue-red lipstick paid direct homage to Harley’s lip color.
  • Harley’s bold red lip kicked off a resurgence of highly pigmented liquid lipsticks in the mid 2010s from brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, Kat Von D, and NARS.
  • Alternative beauty brands like Sugarpill and Lunatick Cosmetic Labs have created pressed eyeshadow palettes inspired by Harley Quinn’s blue, red, and white color scheme.
  • In 2020, ahead of Birds of Prey’s release, Urban Decay launched a Harley Quinn-themed makeup collection with everything from lip gloss to face jewels.

Harley Quinn has left a clear imprint on the cosmetics industry. Major brands routinely collaborate on limited edition products inspired by her audacious style. For many fans, channeling their inner Harley through makeup is the ultimate way to pay homage to the character.


Harley Quinn’s signature bold red lipstick is an integral part of her iconic look and brand. While the exact shade may vary across her different incarnations, a bright, vivid red lip is a constant for Harley. The color suits her chaotic, dangerous, and confident personality. It also symbolically links Harley back to her harlequin jester costume origins. And Harley’s love of a statement-making pout has had a ripple effect on the cosmetics industry. From high-pigment liquid lipsticks to colorful collab collections, Harley Quinn’s influence is clear. So the next time you see Harley sporting that smear-proof, creepy-cute smile, take note of her standout lip color!