Black lipstick has historically been filed alongside devil horns and a witch’s broom as firmly in the Halloween dress-up category of lipstick colours. But, then Chanel’s global creative make-up and colour designer Lucia Pica made dark lipstick chic again, by giving the models in the brand’s Cruise Show for 2019 to 2020, bold, high-shine black-cherry lipstick.
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Black has long been the colour of fashion, so perhaps it is no surprise that the industry’s favourite shade is finally spilling into the beauty world too. In fact, Pica was inspired by the dark tones of Virginie Viard‘s collection to create the dramatic make-up look: “I noticed that in Virgine’s collection there was an element of black going through: whether it be a ribbon, or pants, even the coloured looks, that is why I added a black mouth”, explains Pica. “You will see that about twenty girls have this black shiny cherry lip … I think this is what make-up is about, it’s an accessory to help express and enhance yourself.”
In the world of celebrity, Rihanna has been sporting super-dark lipstick for years and her Fenty Beauty range has a black shade, ‘Uninvited’, as part of its Stunna Lip Paints line. The original red shade has been tried and tested by the Bazaar beauty team and it does not shift, so the black shade will be a good asset for a long night out.
But don’t think that you require an A-list pout to pull it off. MAC’s senior artist Dominic Skinner says it is all in the way you wear it. “There is nothing more striking, in my mind, than bold black lips, so it’s important to realise that any other make-up on the face is going to look too much,” says Skinner. “Keep the rest of your look simple with just full lashes and maybe strong brows to balance out the features.”
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MAC is another brand that caters for all lipstick colour preferences from the perfect nude all the way to jet black in the form of the Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Caviar, by way of reds, greys, purples and navy.
Or, for a super-long lasting finish, try the Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment in Paint It Black, the embodiment of the rebellious rock ‘n’ roll sentiment of the liquid lip colour collection, according to the brand.
If a severe midnight pout seems a little too much for you, Skinner says that it is, surprisingly, one of the few shades that actually suits most people.
“Because black is not a colour – technically it’s a shade – there is no undertone, which means it works with all skin tones,” says Skinner. “If you fear going too dark, you can try deeper shades of your favourite colour. A simple way of doing this is to apply your favourite shade, then press a black lipstick over the top or apply your favourite lipstick to your bottom lip, a black to your top and rub your lips together.”
Another tip we’d suggest is to line the lips fully before applying your lipstick. There is a fine line between striking dark lips and looking as though you’ve had a mishap with a pen, and it comes in the form of a good lip pencil. Try Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lip Pencil, for colour that does not budge.
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So, be brave and embrace your dark side. When you do, you’ll realise that inky-coloured lips no longer need to be paired with chalky make-up or saved for the spookiest day of the year.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar UK.