“Goth-girl makeup” has been a persistent look since at least the ‘90s, and for good reason. Black lipstick—like clothing of the same color—is actually universally flattering, if only people gave it a chance.
Well, we’re happy to announce that black lipstick isn't going anywhere in 2021, and you certainly don’t have to be goth to pull off the trend. From a simple matte formula to chic ombré, there are ample ways to rock a black lipstick look without looking like you’re about to yell out, “It’s not just a phase, Mom!” Below, find all the (totally wearable) inspiration you need for a gorgeous, raven pout you finally won't be too intimidated to wear.
A matte liquid formula is usually best for beginners due to its precision. You can line your lips first (either with separate liner, or the thin brush tip), and then fill in the rest—no bleeding, no streaks—for an instantly cool, pigmented look. Pro tip: The best matte formulas are the ones that keep your lips hydrated, rather than Sahara-level dry.
Add a splash of fun to an otherwise matte, charcoal formula by topping it off with an iridescent gloss. All you need is a holographic formula (find our favorite wearable ones here)—many of which have hydrating components, so your lip color can stay flake-free and flawless. But that’s just a fringe benefit.
Opaque & Architectural
Bring on the drama. A luxe, matte formula lends itself perfectly to bold, show-stopping lips—and going for an opaque lip only looks like it too hours. You can even try overlining to give the illusion of a bigger pout too. (Optional: pairing your black lipstick with bold pink brows, courtesy of a different liquid lipstick formula. Brilliant.)
Pick Up the Pencil
Speaking of ‘90s: It’s totally socially acceptable again for your lip liner to be darker than your lipstick, but this time, it’s called ombré. To get the look, pick a black lip pencil, two similar moody lipstick shades, and a lip brush. Apply the lightest lipstick in the center of your lips (avoiding the liner) before applying the darker shade near the lip pencil. Then blend where the shades meet. It’s simple, wearable, and makes your pout look instantly bigger.
A matte lipstick is always a choice. You’re committing to the look—and a dry finish will always look a little more saturated (and, in turn, severe) than a glossy one. If you’re trying to ease into the trend, try a black gloss you can simply glide on (or wipe off!) with ease. No commitment required.
A soft black matte formula—one that’s not entirely opaque, but still has a flat finish—is another great way to ease into the trend. (Try a lightweight, creamy formula like this one from Fenty Beauty.) Here’s all the proof you need that a black lip can be just as striking, subtle, and gorgeous as a classic red one—especially when paired with simple, toned-down eye makeup.
Just because you like black lipstick doesn’t mean you don’t like fun. While you can’t go wrong with a matte-black formula, you might be remiss to skip a good gloss with a sparkly finish to make it more dimensional. And of course, while we’re on our ‘90s kick, we’re all for the shiny (not-so-sticky) ones that last all day.
Full Matte Finish
An easy way to look like you’re using an Instagram filter on your face IRL? Matte black lips and a perfectly powdered face. And contrary to popular belief, you can simultaneously rock a bold lip and a bold eye, like this cat-eye situation. Black eye makeup complements black lipstick perfectly—without looking too matchy-matchy or jarring—and we’ll never complain about an under-eye accessory.
If you’re into lip-art, try turning your pout into a masterpiece. Pair black lipstick with a silvery metallic hue—a dual-color lip kit actually works perfectly for this, and you can use a lip brush to paint contrasting-yet-subtle stripes on. Then, prepare to “wow.”
With both black lip liner and a black lipstick, you can go extra vampy. For an ombré look like this, pick a lighter color to go in the center and create contrast (just don’t choose a shade that’s so light you won’t be able to blend it with black). Lighten the mood (or not!) by finishing it off with a subtly sparkly finishing gloss, or a glittery black one.