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Black lipstick: Here’s how to pull it off


By Jennifer McShane
23rd Oct 2021
Black lipstick: Here’s how to pull it off

Halloween is the season for trying out some dramatic makeup looks unabashed. And because we're coming into winter, it means we're experimenting with autumnal tones anyway; slowly going to the dark side.

It seems silly to talk of something like black lipstick without associating it with this ghoulish time of year, but we’re slowly seeing it creep (no pun intended) into mainstream make-up collections, as well as on the runway.

Rihanna’s much-lauded Fenty lipstick shade ‘uninvited’ was one of the first of these ominous shades to catch my eye. She can wear anything but because it was worn in a more casual context, it stood out all the more. Yes, even in something as tricky a beauty trend as black lipstick, she manages to make it look very sleek and modern.

She also isn’t the only celebrity to wear the experimental shade, others like Slick Woods, Kylie Jenner, Beyoncé and Hailey Baldwin, have also worn an ultra-dark lip casually and it’s looked surprisingly wearable, regardless of skin tone.

Rihanna’s Stunna Lip Paints are also very long-lasting which means the dark hue will last all into All Hallow’s Eve and any other night you’re daring enough to wear the shade. MAC’s senior artist Dominic Skinner told Harper’s that, surprisingly, anyone can wear black as a lip colour, as long it’s the main feature of your look.

How to pull it off

Exfoliate the lips first. Very important as any cracks or flakes will be amplified while wearing such an intense colour.

Keep the rest of your beauty look simple. “It’s important to realise that any other makeup on the face is going to look too much,” Skinner explains. “Keep the rest of your look simple with just full lashes and maybe strong brows to balance out the features.”

Note that it works with all skin tones so don’t worry about those Celtic hues. “Because black is not a colour – technically it’s a shade – there is no undertone, which means it works with all skin tones,” she continues.

Fenty Stunna Lip Paint in Uninvited, approx. €24

Wear it with another colour. If you fear going too dark or are hesitant to go all-black in terms of a lip stain, you can try deeper shades of your favourite colour, such as a dark purple or berry and simply add the black on over.

“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.”

Line your lips first. Because it’s such an intense shade, you need it applied as carefully as possible to your lips, so as to avoid that ‘smudged ink’ look (so blurred lips aren’t a good option here). Your lips should look defined and striking; a good lip pencil will do all the hard work for you. A matte choice will stop any feathering and it doesn’t look too harsh.