My experience with lipstick has been pretty polarized in that I started off wearing sparkly frosted lipgloss in the 90s and didn't go back to lip products until the end of high school, where it was red lipstick or bust. Right off the bat I had an incredibly hard time finding drugstore shades that complimented my skin tone and didn't look cheap, tacky, or wash me out. Nude shades and pinks were a big NO, so I sort of naturally gravitated towards deeper reds and dark earth tones. In fact, the first 'nice' lipstick that I bought was 'Media' by MAC, a lush burgundy matte shade.
Fast forward to present day where I exclusively wear lipsticks of the vampy matte variety and pull them off pretty damn well, if I do say so myself. Without exaggerating, I get asked at least once everyday what shade of lipstick I'm wearing, so I figured it was about time I did a roundup of my dark lipstick collection.
It's not a massive archive of shades, but these are colours and formulas that I've tried and tested and found to stand the test of time. Prices range from $8 to $33, with emphasis on the $8's because I am not one to pass up on a bargain.
Limbo is my holy grail, everyday, wear for anything and everything lipstick. It's a deep chocolate brown that dries quite a bit darker than what it appears on the website or the bottle. For $8, I don't think I'm ever going to find a shade or formula I like more. I get about 6-8 hours of wear with this baby on, with only minor touchups required if I've been eating oily foods.
Fun fact: Damned was the the first liquid lipstick I ever bought. It's leaning on the pricey side at $24, but is a pretty great non-drying liquid formula. This black cherry shade is the first thing that comes to mind when I think 'vamp' and is kind of my go to for an alternative to the red lip. I do have to say that because it's not as drying the staying power is a little weak but it's nothing a little reapplication can't fix.
I've always been a little weary of straight up purple shades because of their lack of versatility, but when I saw Guess, a blackened purple/grape, I had a good feeling. I guess the closer a colour is mixed in with black, the better I feel about it suiting me. This is from the same line as Limbo, so it's still an unbeatable $8. I do have to say, though, that Colourpop's Ultra Matte Lip shades in pinks, purples, and reds tend to streak and crumble more and stay on for less time than their browns. I don't know what it is but I've tried a handful of browns and handful of the other shades and this has always been the case. Guess has been pretty drying on my lips, so I always have to prep extra when I know I'm going to be wearing it.
While the NARS Velvet Matte Lip is a newer addition to my collection, I'm quickly growing very fond of it. Since it is a velvet lip and not a true matte, I find myself reaching for it on lighter makeup days. Whether I'm wearing a full face of makeup or a more sheer look, I feel incomplete without a dark lip so something like Train Bleu that has a little shine and moisture to it but is still highly pigmented makes perfect sense. The NARS Velvette Matte Lip isn't cheap, coming in at C$33, so if you're looking for a true matte that's going dry pefectly and stay on all day, look elsewhere. I also sometimes like to layer Train Bleu below my Kat Von D 'Damned' for more moisture and a more solid pigment, since the Everlasting Liquid Lip can be streaky at times.
Thanks for reading! I hope you've enjoyed this post and that it helps you find your staple dark lip. I've linked to each of the individual lipsticks below their respective image, incase you were inclined to an impromptu shopping spree. You can also shop the products I use on my entire face below: