During a recent meeting with Make Up For Ever, I was given a set of the brand's new Artist Rouge lipstick collection, which consists of 45 highly pigmented shades for every occasion. But among this beautiful sea of lippies are two that you'd think would sit in the bottom of the box forever—white and black. Ooh, these would be good for Halloween, I thought to myself, never imagining white or black lipstick touching my lips unless I was dressing as a '70s go-go dancer or punk rocker, respectively. But a rep for the brand explained that the shades are actually transformative lipsticks—they can be placed on top to lighten or darken a shade. Interesting.
Then Lipstick Queen echoed this layered black lipstick ideation with its Smokey Lip Kit ($35). Included is Black Lace Rabbit, a sheer black lipstick with gold shimmering flecks that inflict an overcast over any lip color so that it's deeper, darker, and a bit more mysterious.
We asked celebrity makeup artists Daniel Martin and Katherine Dorn to weigh in on this trend and tell us how best to rock it. See their answers below.
"I actually really love the versatility of using [black lipstick] to transform shades," Martin says. "Dior just came out with a new lipstick, Rouge Dior, that's black [Ed note: black-purple]. I use it to do the same thing. It's a bit more opaque than the Lipstick Queen black lipstick, but it can do the same trick. I like to use it with plum or pink shades to add dimension and depth to something that can be bright. It's great for black and white images too for depth in the lips."
Adds Dorn of Pierre Michel Salon, "A black overlay is beautiful over a rich red or even a bright purple color, but try different looks when you have free time to see which colors look best on your skin tone. If done properly and blended well, anyone can rock a smoky lip! Have the confidence to go beyond the traditional colors and trends of beauty! I love a dark lip for nighttime or even for a day out to a fun event or gathering with friends. I like a more simple eye or a smoky eye to offset the contrast of the intense bold statement lip."
For a more wallet-friendly drugstore option, this matte color from Maybelline will instantly transform your lip color, perfect for going from the office to happy hour. Try using it to line the outside of your lips, and then blend it inward for an ombré effect.
For more lipstick tips, check out the nine most universally flattering shades according to makeup artists.