How To Wear Black Lipstick All Year Round

Photo: Via Make Up For Ever.
With grungy, gloomy makeup having (finally!) gained a foothold in the mainstream beauty industry, there’s no better time than now to embrace your inner badass. And, we’re pretty sure there’s nothing more fierce than opaque, black lipstick. In the season of the bold lip, a jet-black pout is the one to rule them all.
Luckily, you don’t have to be Lorde to pull it off. It just takes the right prep work and products — and some guts. (An affinity for all things sinister couldn’t hurt, either.) We turned to Atlanta-based makeup artist Kiev Osborne, who's worked with Ivanka Trump and Demi Moore, for some pro tips on how to wear this rad look outside of Halloween.
1 of 6
Photo: Via Bite Beauty.
Prep Your Pout
Thanks to dark lipstick’s tendency to amplify every nook and cranny of your mouth, you need a smooth canvas. Keep chapped lips at bay by staying hydrated — and if your pucker’s past that point, then menthol-free balms, ointments like Eucerin Aquaphor, or pure lanolin (yup, that’s nipple cream) will do the trick. You can also use a gentle scrub to remove dead skin. For lips flakier than a pastry, a lip mask can work wonders overnight.
2 of 6
Photo: Via Make Up For Ever.
Find The Right Black
One would think that a black lipstick is, well, a black lipstick — but not all are created equal. A high-quality, matte version is a far cry from the waxy crayons in your local drugstore’s Halloween aisle. On the indie circuit, Portland Black Lipstick Company and Lime Crime are cult favorites, while Make Up For Ever is one of a few mainstream brands that offer a true black. In terms of finish, Osborne recommends staying away from gloss and sticking to mattes and satins, as their durability will prevent your lip color from feathering.
3 of 6
Photo: Via Dior.
Plan B: Pick A Color That's Almost Black
The vampy lip is huge right now: You basically can’t walk into a Sephora without a bevy of wine-hued mattes and dark-plum glosses assaulting your senses. Happily, this makes it easy to find your ideal near-black shade — it’s just a matter of preference, budget, and figuring out what works with your skin tone. “If you’re leaning toward a warm tone, [try] a true brown or a brown that has some orange tones,” says Osborne. “If you’re more cool, you’ll want to go more toward the burgundy shades.” She recommends NARS' Liv, Dior's Black Tie, MAC's Living Legend, and Urban Decay's Shame as good “gateway” colors if you aren’t quite ready to make the leap.
4 of 6
Photo: Via NYX Cosmetics.
Lock It Down
Dark lip hues require a little more TLC to stay put than others. So, go for a deep-burgundy or mahogany shade as a base before applying your black. If you're comfortable using lipliner, it'll help you establish your canvas. Osborne recommends applying a light coat of black with a lip brush (since precision is key here), and then blotting it with a tissue until it resembles a stain. Next, give it a fine dusting of translucent setting powder; then reapply.
5 of 6
Photo: Via NudeStix.
Lighten Up
While it may be tempting to play up this look with smoky eyes or graphic liner, you don't want to upstage your black lips. Osborne recommends going simple and neutral elsewhere: a medium-to-full-coverage foundation, a soft flush of cheek color (read: no contouring), a wash of shimmer on the eyelids, and a sweep of mascara. “The trick here is that everything else should be classic and soft in contrast to the harshness of the black lip,” she says. “I love this look with a faux-hawk ponytail, or hair that has a soft and sexy wave.” This balance makes ultra dark lipstick much more wearable in real life, not just on the runway — although if you do want to go all out with your newfound witchy vibe, we’re all in favor.
6 of 6
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Makeup


R29 Original Series