Are We Into Black Lipstick Yet?

by Tori Telfer

I hesitate to call black lipstick a "trend." It's the sort of thing that's always popping up during goth-inspired runway shows, braved by a few beauty insiders, and then wiped off and forgotten about as the lips of the world flock back to all things red. And by the way, we're talking about pure black lipstick here, not dark purple or brownish red or any of the million and one sad excuses for black that less experimental lipstick wearers use to convince that they're wearing something edgy.

Yes, I'm trying to pump myself up.

Black lipstick is one of those things that I've always wanted to try (in real life — not just while moonlighting as a witch). I secretly suspected it might be one of those underdog colors that makes everyone's skin look amazing or something. Like coral. Oh, the delusions of youth!

I went to CVS, hoping to find some cheap brand of black lipstick to play around with, but — well, perhaps you've heard of a little thing called Chiberia? That's where I live. My friendly local CVS had nary a dark-hued lipstick shade in site, because apparently Chicagoans have been stocking up not just on clean water and canned food but weird semi-trendy makeup pieces. So I did what I've had to do time and again: I faked it with paint from an old Halloween makeup kit. #makeupprofessional

The tools:

Black "lipliner" (PSST: IT'S EYELINER) for a sturdy base color. Chapstick for de-parching my lips once the "lipliner" was applied. And black face paint to serve as pretend lipstick. Hey, humans didn't always have access to all ten million MAC lipstick shades, okay?!

Step one:

Fill in entire lip with "lipliner," making sure to get really crisp, clean edges. The better for eating you, my dear.

Step two:


Step three:

Make creepy DIY lipstick on hand by combining black paint (nontoxic, for the love of couture) and chapstick or lipgloss.

Step four:

Apply with finger, then clean up any sloppy edges (there will be sloppy edges) with a Q-tip.

Step five:

Finish the rest of your makeup — but wait until you've already applied the lipstick to avoid accidentally transforming yourself into a poster girl for the goth/emo/zombie/unsavory back alley creeper crowd. If you'd like to follow my expert lead, I filled in my brows lightly, applied lots of mascara, and blended pink blush plus highlighter on my cheeks. I was trying to mimic the flush of life due to the fact that my face had been sucked dry of all inner light by the lipstick.

Concluding thoughts: Would I wear this during the daytime? I don't know. I'll be honest, it's not a very practical look, and I'm not sure it's the most flattering color for teeth. Would I wear it out at night? Absolutely. It's such a refreshing change from over-the-top black makeup on the eyes; it's dramatic and sexy; and for the faint of heart, I'm pretty convinced it'll just look like dark purple or red when the lights are down real low.

Images courtesy of Tori Telfer