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If you’re reading this article, we’re probably in agreement that black lipstick can look decidedly chic (just ask Rooney Mara, Rihanna, and Shay Mitchell). Just like their red and pink cousins, the best black lipsticks come in cream, liquid, and bullet forms, with finishes ranging from shiny to matte. The undertones vary, too: some black lipsticks have a true-black color, while others have gray, blue, or even red undertones. Below, you’ll find options that fall into each category; base your choice on the color, finish, and brand you like best.
Perhaps even more important than the black lipstick you choose is the prep and maintenance you put in. Black lipstick is notoriously unforgiving once it begins to fade — you’ll have to be prepared for lots of touchups, especially if you’re wearing a classic cream formula (liquid lipsticks, on the other hand, are less prone to fading). Prep your lips with an exfoliating lip scrub, followed by a lightweight lip cream. Wait for that to dry down fully, then layer your black lipstick on top. For extra staying power, apply a layer of setting powder over your lipstick, then go in with another coat. And when it comes to any shade of dark lipstick, lining your lips first is always a good idea.
As for how to rock a black lip, that’s totally up to you, but in my opinion, black lipstick works best when you keep the rest of your makeup super minimal (think: matte skin, defined cheekbones, and maybe a swipe of black eyeliner).
With those tips in mind, scroll on to shop five black lipsticks worth adding to your cart, as well as a few Burgundy and plum options.
1. Best Black Cream Lipstick
One of the best black lipsticks you can buy for under $10, NYX’s liquid cream lipstick in ‘Alien’ is a true-black shade with a matte finish. As its name (suede cream) implies, the formula is plush and nourishing — you can thank ingredients like avocado oil and dimethicone for that. One coat will deposit a dark-black color with a slight gray tone; two coats will give you the pitch-black shade of your gothic dreams.
2. Best Blue-Black Lipstick
For a classic cream lipstick in a bullet-shaped tube, REVLON’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in ‘Midnight Mystery’ is one of the most popular black offerings on the drugstore market. That said, it definitely has a noticeable blue undertone, so if you’re after a pitch-black shade, this isn’t the lipstick for you.
All lipsticks from the brand’s Super Lustrous line are made with vitamin E and avocado oil to give them a creamy, comforting feel. While that makes them a great option for dry lips, be prepared for touchups whenever you drink or eat anything. (Or follow this makeup artist hack and fill in your lips with black lip liner before putting a coat of this lipstick on top.)
3. Best Hydrating Black Liquid Lipstick
Made by makeup artist and You Tube vlogger Nikita Dragun, this liquid lipstick is unique in that, despite drying down matte, it doesn’t leave your lips feeling at all dry. That’s because it’s packed with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, vitamin E, jojoba oil, and honeysuckle extract, making it one of the rare liquid lipsticks that people with dry lips can wear comfortably. The shade ‘Pitch Black’ is exactly what it sounds like — and as a fun bonus, it smells like vanilla.
4. Best Matte Black Liquid Lipstick
Rimmel’s Stay Matte Liquid Lip Color is a classic matte liquid lipstick with a smooth, velvety finish. Ringing up at just $5, the brand says that it lasts up to 12 hours without smudging or fading. For best (aka the blackest) results, apply a few shades of the brand’s ‘Pitch Black’ lipstick; it’s lightweight enough that you should be able to do this without it feeling uncomfortably thick.
5. Best Black Lip Liner
If you love the look of clean, precise lines, you’re going to want to line your lips before going in with your lipstick. NYX makes the rare lip liner that comes in black, and it can also be used to completely fill in your lips to give your lipstick more staying power. You can also pair this liner with a Burgundy or dark brown lipstick for a very ‘90s-inspired look.
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Lime Crime Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick in Bloodmoon
Though this isn’t a true black lipstick, Lime Crime ‘Bloodmoon’ is an equally dramatic, goth-chic choice. It’s a bit more wearable for day-to-day tasks — work, running errands, coffee dates, what have you — but it still makes a statement; you could put your hair in a slicked back bun and swipe on this lippie, and be ready in no time. The lipstick itself is a stunning, dark-Burgundy shade, while the liquid formula dries down matte for smudge-proof all-day wear. Wear this with clean skin and no eye makeup at all, or amp up the drama by pairing it with a smudged-out smoky eye.
Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Composer
Maybelline’s SuperStay liquid lipsticks are probably the most popular drugstore lipsticks out there. The shade ‘Composer’ is, like the LimeCrime lipstick above, another ravishing alternative to black. It’s a deep-plum lipstick with a matte finish, and while I haven’t tested it out for a full 16 hours — that’s how long it lasts without fading, according to the brand — I can report that it’s lasted me an entire work day, several cups of tea, and lunch without budging. This lipstick is also offered in several other bold shades, including gray, blue, and purple.
Haus Laboratories Le Monster Matte Lip Crayon in Mannequin
For a vampire-chic take on red, try this lipstick crayon from Lady Gaga’s makeup brand in the shade ‘Mannequin.’ It’s a blood-red shade that — while as dramatic as black — is a lot more versatile. It can work with so many different looks and is gorgeous on every skin tone; plus, its unique shape allows you to use it as both liner and lipstick.