We Didn't Realise Dark Lipstick Could Be So Low Maintenance

Dark lipstick has gotten something of a bad rap over the years. Yes, we'd all like to unleash our inner film noir actress or try a makeup look a little more vampy than usual every now and then, but so many lipstick formulas seem to lack the oomph to make any of that possible. Pigments you thought would be as rich as the colours on your HD TV look more like a wishy-washy watercolour painting IRL. And even if you find a bullet that delivers on pigment, you've then got the rest of the day—plus the multiple flat whites, bowls of pasta and general lip smacking that it brings with it—to contend with. And nobody wants to sit through an afternoon of meetings with the whole office staring at those cracked, blurred and smudged lips.

best dark lipstick: Model with glowy skin and dark lipstick
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So yes, dark lipstick: We'd like to wear you. But it's going to take finding the most long-lasting, hard-wearing and highly-pigmented formulas to make it worth it. And that's what we've done. We've filtered through the Byrdie beauty cupboard (we were so rigorous that you would have thought we were panning for gold) to find the best dark lipsticks going. From rich berry tones to dark brooding violets, keep scrolling to discover the nine dark lipsticks that won't let you down.

Best dark lipstick: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Transylvania
Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream in Transylvania $6

A blogger favourite, Nyx's lip cream has the texture of a moisturiser but has unbelievable colour payoff. Apply to dry lips to increase the longevity of wear.

Best dark lipstick: MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Blue Beat
MAC Lipstensity Lipstick in Blue Beat $17

Okay, you probably didn't think you'd be adding a blue lipstick to your collection anytime soon, but it does hold the power to make teeth look whiter and eyes look brighter. MAC's Liptensity formula contains a super-strength formula that won't travel beyond the lip line. Not convinced? Use it to transform your classic red into a deep berry shade. 

Best dark lipstick: 3 Concept Eyes Mood Recipe Matte Lip Colour in 117 Chicful
3 Concept Eyes Mood Recipe Matte Lip Colour in 117 Chicful $13

3 Concept Eyes is one of our favourite Korean imports, and this creamy lipstick seems to glide on to lips like butter onto bread. This warm shade has just enough of a red hue to make it flattering on every skin tone.

Best dark lipstick: Lancôme Matte Shaker Liquid Lipstick in 374
Lancôme Matte Shaker Liquid Lipstick in 374 $20

Rather than a heavy layer of thick lipstick, this clever "shaker" pot applies colour the fluidity of water that stains the lips. The effect isn't as full-on, but it stays put.

Best dark lipstick: L'Oreal Paris X Balmain Color Riche Lipstick In Liberation
L'Oréal Paris x Balmain Color Riche Lipstick in Liberation $13

We're still not over the L'Oréal x Balmain collab, and this moody violet lipstick has none of that uncomfortable cloying sensation of so many matte finish lipsticks. Plus, the pointed nib helps you to precisely trace the natural lip line for a slick, crisp edge.

Best dark lipstick: Smashbox Always On Lipstick in MS Conduct
Smashbox Always on Lipstick in MS Conduct $19

This creamy liquid formula contains polymers that grip on to lips, keeping the colour in place, as well as lip-priming oils that will condition the skin and ward off any annoying cracks.

Best dark lipstick: Victoria Beckham X Estee Lauder Matte Lipstick in Black Cassis
Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder Matte Lipstick in Black Cassis $38

The texture of this lipstick is quite thick, so the colour goes on just as punchy as it looks in the bullet. And the Rioja wine shade is pretty versatile too: It will act as a great everyday shade on dark skin, its reddy-brown base will complement the golden hues in medium skin tones and unlike more blue-based dark lipsticks, it has enough warm so as not to completely drain a pale complexion.

Best dark lipstick: Burt's Bees Lipstick in Lily Lake
Burt's Bees Lipstick in Lily Lake $10

Dry lips are the arch nemesis of a dark lipstick, such is their power to make the colour pigments flake and crack. Just like Burt's Bees much-loved skincare, this lipstick comes packed with nourishing ingredients like moring and raspberry seed oils.

Best dark lipstick: Lipstick Queen Black Lace Rabbit
Lipstick Queen Black Lace Rabbit $18

Still not sure dark lipstick is for you? This lipstick will help you dip your toes into the trend. Okay, yes, this bullet looks scary, but don't be put off by its black appearance. It's so sheer that it actually acts more like a veil of shadow, and it will take whatever lip colour you're wearing (or even your natural lip colour) down a notch. 

Up next: Here's how to find a nude lipstick that is actually suited to your skin tone.

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